It’s something that is not talked about much. How can it be that when we rest, it affects us the next day? Every living thing on the planet requires rest or sleep for the recharge and restoration phase of our life. We do not operate like machines, that’s for sure. We are breathing, growing organisms and sleep is underestimated in how beneficial it is.
According to the National Sleep Foundation of America sleep of approximately 7 – 9 hours a night is recommended for this renewal process. Our body needs sleep in order to restore and rejuvenate, to grow muscle and repair tissue and synthesize hormones.
In last week’s post I wrote about healthy joints and how important it is to keep moving. When we sleep, we are in positions for hours, with few movements depending on how sweet or bad our dreams are. Let’s look at what positions or posture would be most beneficial for us and what positions may not. A neutral spine is best when sleeping as there is no pressure or strain on joints. This is attained when sleeping on your back. A good pillow and the right mattress are a recipe for a good night’s sleep.
Prone Sleeping (Stomach Sleeping)
This position is one that is mostly done to get rid of the snoring and most persons gravitate to this as it can be quite comfortable to fall asleep. Unfortunately, the neutral spine is lost, and the abdominal muscles is no way able to support our torso and we end up with lower back neck or shoulder joint ache in the next day. In this position the neck is turned at an angle, and the arms are usually put into position overhead or under the torso. The muscles in these areas are usually stiff the next day. Try adding a small pillow under the hips to help with stiffness in the lower back if you usually end up in this position.
Side Lying Sleeping (My choice)
For pregnant women in their third trimester, lying on the left side is very important for proper blood circulation. this position helps with circulation of the mother and baby. Added weight and pressure on the Vena Cava (the large blood vessel responsible for returning blood to the heart) happens if the mother lies on her right side or back. Side Lying, the knees are bent, and the head is sometimes on a pillow or flat on the bed. Beware of hips having added pressure in this position. Just add a pillow in between the legs to help with that. Neutral spine is maintained, and breathing is clear with no obstruction, so this is a good position to have a quiet night.
Supine Position or Back Sleeping
The most ideal position for a good night’s rest. Here the neutral spine is maintained while sleeping. The head, neck and spine are the most comfortable. There are no strains or stiffness of joints here. This is also the least position used when sleeping unfortunately. The only thing is you guessed it. The snoring. This position is the prefect for the tongue to come obstructed when relaxed.
These are just a few points to note when we sleep, and it can also help with understanding why you may have some aches or pains when getting off the bed in the morning.