Sleep Positions for Better Health
Sleep makes you feel better, it’s science. Unfortunately, according to the National Sleep Foundation’s Sleep Health Index, 45 percent of Americans suffer from lack of sleep.
Poor sleep habits and patterns are detrimental to your health. Being overtired goes far beyond being a grouch. It can actually take years off of your life! Is that extra episode on Netflix really worth it?
On the contrary, getting a good night’s sleep has incredible health benefits!
Health Benefits of a Good Night’s Sleep
During sleep, memories and skills you learned during waking hours are strengthened. This process is called consolidation.
Anytime you’re trying to learn a new skill, there’s only so much practice you can do. You need sleep to help embed it in your brain.
Inflammation is linked to heart disease, stroke, arthritis, diabetes, and premature aging. Studies show that those who get less than six hours of sleep each night have higher inflammatory protein levels in their blood than those who get more than 6 hours of sleep each night.
When you sleep, your brain reorganizes and restructures memories, making your brain stronger. This allows your brain to be more creative!
Researchers at Harvard University and Boston College found that people strengthen emotional parts of memories during sleep. This emotion may also help spur creativity.
Enhanced Athletic Performance
A study done by Stanford University found that football players who slept at least 10 hours a night for seven to eight weeks performed better. They had less daytime fatigue, more stamina, and improved their sprint time.
A 2010 study in the journal, Sleep, found that kids between the ages of 10 and 16 who have sleep disordered breathing (snoring, sleep apnea, interrupted breathing during sleep) suffer from attention and learning problems.
These issues led to lower grades than students who were well-rested. Consistent sleep deprivation leads to impaired learning.
Increased Weight Loss
Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who got more sleep lost more weight than those who were sleep deprived.
The well rested participants lost more fat — 56% of their weight loss — while those who were sleep deprived lost more muscle mass.
Dieters also felt hungrier when they were sleep deprived.
Lower Stress Levels
Stress and sleep are closely related. Adequate sleep can reduce stress levels. Being sleep deprived leads to higher stress levels and higher cholesterol levels.
In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that being tired was the number one cause of fatal single-car run-off-the-road crashes — even more than alcohol!
Being tired affects reaction time and decision making. Insufficient sleep for even one night can be as harmful to driving ability as having an alcoholic drink.
Lack of sleep can contribute to depression. A good night’s sleep can help decrease anxiety and provide emotional stability.
It’s important to note that you need to get sufficient sleep each night, not just plan to make up for sleep on the weekend.
Sleep Positions Matter
There are three main sleep positions: back, side, and stomach. Each one has health benefits and issues. Most sleep experts recommend sleeping on your back or side.
Read on for more information about the best sleep positions for your health!
Sleeping on your back helps to evenly distribute weight and pressure on the spine, neck, and joints. It also provides better circulation and rest.
Back sleeping reduces pressure on the discs in the spine so it is a preferred sleep position by many doctors of chiropractic.
It’s important to make sure your neck is properly supported when sleeping on your back. You don’t want your head to be pressed up too high or fall back too low. The neck should be aligned with your spine.
Did you know that approximately 69% of people sleep on their sides? Many chiropractors support this sleep position.
By sleeping in the fetal position, with legs curled and a pillow between the knees, you keep the pelvis level. It also helps reduce the risk of lower back pain and stiffness.
Unfortunately, side sleepers are more likely to have nerve compression that may lead to neck, back, or sciatic nerve pain. To combat this, choosing the right pillow is important!
According to Dr. Cogan, team chiropractor for the Detroit Lions from 2002-2015, “For the side sleeper, the pillow should be firm enough to support the head and high enough so that the head is in a neutral or even position. This reduces stress and pressure placed on the neck, which will cut down on neck pain, muscle aches, and stiffness. The proper pillow supports the head and neck and never the shoulders.”
If you’re a stomach sleeper, we’ve got some bad news for you. Sleeping on the stomach is the position with the most potential disadvantages. It can harm digestion and circulation, while creating pressure on the back and neck.
In order to breathe, stomach sleeping causes the neck to bend in one direction or the other. This twisting of the neck causes strain and pressure and can lead to neck pain during waking hours.
Stomach sleeping also places a huge amount of pressure on the lumbar spine, heart, and lungs.
Sleep Positions: Talk To Your Chiropractor
Each sleep position comes with its risks and benefits. In order to determine the best sleep position for you, talk to Dr. Hohn. Dr. Chris or Dr. Krystal can analyze your spine and identify any subluxations that are present.
Through chiropractic adjustments, they can remove these subluxations so that your nervous system can function as it should. They can also analyze your spine to help decide which sleep position is best for you.
This process can lead to better and deeper sleep, leading to a happier and healthier life.
Call Pure Chiropractic today to schedule your appointment! (810) 588-4036
We look forward to hearing from you! Sweet dreams.