You spend a third of your life in bed. Yet many people do not realize the impact that this seemingly passive activity has on their backs and overall well being. According to Dr. C. Gus Tsiapalis, one of the many back and spine experts that we talk to on a regular basis, “you can achieve Optimal Health by paying close attention to your spine and doing everything possible to keep it healthy and in proper alignment”.
Orthopedic surgeons have taught us that the only time during which the muscles, ligaments and other structures in the spine can completely relax is while sleeping. When a person suffers from a back injury or other disorders, it is especially important to sleep well in order to: help the healing process, repair strained muscles and soothe inflamed joints.
Physiotherapists, that also refer patients to us, say that the facet joints and discs are “loaded” during daily activities. The soft tissue contracts to help movement and to keep us in an upright position against gravity. During sleep, the discs are able to reabsorb water content and the soft tissue can relax.
The way you sleep can add to your back pain
People should pay more attention to how they sleep. Incorrect posture can strain your back and contribute to existing back pain or the development of it. Most experts agree that the best sleeping position is on the back with a small pillow tucked underneath the knees. This position allows for the natural curve of the lower back.
However, the most common sleeping position is on one’s side with legs and hips aligned and flexed. This position often leaves the upper leg unsupported and the knee sliding forward to rest on the mattress. This then rotates the lower spine and could cause back or hip pain. To prevent this, you should place a pillow between the knees and thighs.
Whether sleeping on your back or side, back experts believe that either position maintains the spine in a neutral position and gives the spine a chance to unload some of the stress that it has been burdened with throughout the day.
As far as the mattress is concerned, sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause sleeplessness, back pain, and overall aches and pains throughout your whole body. For people with a back problem, a mattress that is not a good fit can make the pain even worse.
According to a sleep survey, “68% of people sleep on a mattress that is the wrong firmness”. This percentage gets even higher when you consider the number of people that are sleeping on a mattress that is no longer comfortable because it is lumpy and has lost its comfort zone.
Mattresses are not really at the top of everyone’s shopping list until you can’t sleep and even then people blame it on something else. People like Homer usually put off buying a mattress longer than they should and instead prefer to roam around the house, at night, from their bed to the couch to the recliner and then back again.
For some people the thought of going out mattress shopping keeps them up at night. Selecting a new mattress can be a very daunting and trying experience but it doesn’t have to be that way. “My 20-year pillow top mattress has only lasted 3 or 4 years”, is one of the most common complaints that we hear in our showroom on an ongoing basis.
Another problem with couples that differ in size and weight is trying to decide what (ONE) mattress is just right for both of them. I mean everybody wants a comfortable and supportive mattress but trying to figure that out without a real sleep expert’s help is a crap shoot at best – see Ergocheck Testing.
According to Dr. Tsiapalis, “Foamite is the best kept secret in the GTA for Real Comfort and Better Sleep. They can make you a mattress that is right for your weight, back condition and preference. They use the latest sleep technology to determine what firmness is right for you and then do the same for your partner on their side of the bed. They do custom mattresses at a great factory direct price. Not only do we refer patients to Foamite, we also sleep on their mattresses too”.
Sleep Better to Look and Feel Better…
R.C. (Bob) Dimas
Be the best that you can be by doing whatever is necessary to improve the quality of your sleep!