It’s Not What You Expect
Simo Partanen - HBSc Kin, MPT
Sleep – ahhhhh, who does not love a good night’s sleep? The importance of a good night’s sleep can’t be understated. The right amount of quality sleep can mean:
- Improved happiness and attitude
- You wake alert and rested
- Boosted physical performance due to more recovery time
- Sick less often because of an elevated immune system
- Lower weight
And you’re probably a lot nicer to be around.
7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep is what we should be getting
Let’s face it. 5 hours out of a 24 hour day is simply not enough. For most of us – a small adjustment may be enough to kick start a new beneficial habit.
For me, that meant going to bed at the same time each night. After a couple of weeks, my body was trained and expected to sleep at 11. Also, I drank no caffeine after 2pm.
Sleep wards off cancers and infections
Great sleep allows all kinds of recuperative magic to happen. Wonderful proteins such as cytokine (pronounced: sai – tuh – kinze) play important roles in battling cancers and infections.
Deep rest makes you stronger
This is because when you fall into deep sleep, muscles benefit from increased blood flow that carry along with it oxygen and nutrients to speed recovery.
But how many of us sleep properly? What does that even mean though? I’m talking about your body’s sleep position.
There are many different sleeping positions, some with funky names (these aren’t the only ones):
Back, Side and Stomach is an easier way to group sleep styles
The way you position your body during sleep can help you:
- Breath better (deeper slumbers)
- Have less Back Pain (because of ‘neutral spine’ position)
- Flush Brain toxins*
Here are some easy tips for the 3 most common sleeping positions helping you sleep better and wake more rested.
Some tweaks take time to feel natural.
Don’t be surprised if it takes a week or so - the investment is worth it.
- Reduce low back strain risk – by placing a decent size pillow underneath your knees.
- Reduce neck strain risk – by supporting your neck in a neutral position. Use a smaller or contoured pillow for your neck.
You can also try removing the pillow and use a roll or rolled-up towel underneath the curve in your neck.
Too much pillow risks further strain on your neck.
⦁ Arms over your head - Can have mixed impacts on your health. If you experience tingling, numbness into your arms/hands or tension in your shoulders, avoid.
- Place a decent size pillow between your knees to reduce strain onto your low back.
- Support your neck in a neutral position so you can reduce neck strain. Too much or too little pillow will move your neck and head out of spine alignment.
- Arms over your head - There is no ‘one-size-for-all’ so what works for one person may be problematic for you. Tingling, numbness in your arms/hands or tension in your shoulders is your body telling you to avoid.
Stomach sleeping should be avoided if possible. Among sleep styles, it has the highest risks including neck and low back strains and, more worryingly, it is potentially hazardous to breathing.
- Use a small pillow under your stomach/hips to reduce stresses to your lower back.
- Experiment with no pillow. If you do use a pillow, choose a very thin one (if head is rotated to the side). If your head is down, use a towel/pillow underneath your forehead.
- Arms over your head. What’s fine you one person may be a problem for you. Any tingling, numbness into your arms/hands or tension in your shoulders is your body’s way of telling you to stop.
Sleep seems, well, mysterious. Not only is it essential, what makes sleep knowable is beyond us when we are unconscious.
If you don’t have success immediately, be patient. There is a solution. Experiment your way to success and you will get the rest you need.
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