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Advice on sleeping and beds

| News and Events | 15/02/2013

Your bed could be the cause of back pain and the British Chiropractic Association has some great advice for sleep posture and how to choose your bed and pillow. Choosing the right bed can minimise those factors that may lead to back pain.

We come in different weights, shapes and sizes, but have one thing in common; we spend more than a third of our lives in bed, so should choose our beds carefully. Which is better, a hard or soft mattress?

The best mattress is a ’supportive one‘. A 16 stone person sleeping on a mattress may not get the same support as a 10 stone person sleeping on the same mattress.

How do I know which is the right mattress for me?

If you are lying on your side, your spine should be parallel to the mattress and your spine should not sag (bed too soft) or bow (bed too hard). The longer you can spend lying on a mattress before you buy it, the more accurate this feeling will be. Your pillow should be an extension of this i.e. your neck should be a continuation of the straight spine and not too high or too low. Also it should be noticeably
comfortable.

Memory Foam or Springs?

This can be about personal preference. Memory foam mattresses are becoming more popular. Some research has found that memory foam mattress put less pressure on the body and joints, therefore making it more comfortable. It can however be very expensive. You can also try a combination spring
mattress with a built in memory foam topper which is a good combination. The best way is to try out different mattress with a specific budget in mind, but beware you usually get what you pay for, so it is not worth skimping on a mattress if you can.

What things can I do to help prevent back problems even with my new mattress?

Try and adopt a sleeping position which creates less physical stress on the back. For example, lying on
your side is better than lying on your front with your neck twisted to one side. Keep moving and avoid
being in any one position for too long. No matter how comfy the position may initially feel, the longer you
stay in one position, the more this will ‘load joints’. If your partner moves around a lot at night, try separate beds for a while as your partner’s movement could aggravate YOUR back condition! Drink water. Keep
well hydrated; dehydration can make muscles ache.

Don’t leap out of bed first thing in the morning. After you wake up, try some gentle stretches. Wake up your body. Once up, avoid bending or doing anything sudden or strenuous until you back wakes up! If you do have back pain do not leave it too long to get it looked at by a chiropractor, the longer you leave it the more likely the condition will become chronic and more problematic.

Happy sleeping!

Matthew Eatwell, Doctor of Chiropractic

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