FEELING GREAT: Sleeping positions can have a major impact on your body
Last month, I wrote about the joys of a good night’s sleep and the feedback and response we had at the Paul Gough Physio Rooms showed that so many of you understand the importance of it.
Sometimes your health and fitness isn’t always about rigorous exercise and pushing yourself. The rest and recovery part is just as important.
And, as we get older, the need for good quality sleep is more and more important.
For most of us, the hours we spend sleeping are simply a time for rest and recovery. However, you might be surprised to learn that your sleeping position can have a significant impact on your body, particularly if you already have an injury.
When you consider that we spend approximately 40% of our lives in bed, it becomes less surprising.
Ideally, your body should be held in a position of minimal stress while sleeping. This means that all your joints and muscles are resting in a neutral position.
Good posture is key to restful sleep, and there are four main sleeping postures you can adopt:
1: Lying on your side
2: Lying your front
3: Lying your back
4: Adopting the foetal position
There are also other things you can consider for a better night’s sleep including:
Gentle exercise can improve sleep patterns but avoid late evening exercise. During my time as head physiotherapist at Darlington FC, players always struggled to sleep after night games. They had exerted so much energy during the match, they found it hard to switch off a couple of hours or so after a game and often they were up until 2am or later as their body naturally slowed down.
The type and number of pillows you use will depend on how wide your shoulders are to your neck, your sleeping position and personal preferences.
You need to find the mattress that best suits your needs. Physiotherapists recommend a mixture of support and comfort but you should always try it out for at least 20 minutes before you buy.
Check your duvet’s tog rating. A lightweight duvet is for summer and a heavier one for winter. Consider switching over now as the temperature is rising.
A room that is too warm or too cold can also affect your sleep. If it is a hot night there are steps you can take to cool the room down, and if it is cold you should always avoid sleeping in a draft.
For more tips and advice, get in touch for a FREE copy of my book The Healthy Habit. It is essential reading for people aged 50+, and for anyone that would like to improve their own healthy habits. Please call 01429 866771.