Yikes, is it bed time already? How many of us feel this way at the end of our hard working day? Indeed, a good night sleep, like proper nutrition, healthy water, prayerful living, exercise and regular adjustments are essential to your well-being. Each habit contributes vitally to the resources for your innate function and like all habits, serve us better when we choose quality over quantity. When it comes to sleep, most practice members tell me they struggle. If this is true for you, consider improving where you can with one of these 4 recommendations. *In fact, there are 5, but if you’re reading this, chances are you’re already doing the first and most important – that is getting adjusted in order to minimize spinal subluxation.
The other 4 include: 1) Sleeping at right times; 2) Sleeping with a quieted mind; 3) Healthy sleep position (pillow & posture); 4) A customized sleep surface for you and your partner.
Let’s focus on the last one as it’s the one that I see to be the weakest for most of us. Like all warm blooded animals, we need to lie down when we sleep because of the extremely relaxed state of our muscles during REM sleep. Especially true for those of us who fall asleep in the car, in a chair or on a couch, our muscles shorten & cramp and our joints stiffen when in unhealthy positions for too long. The result is poor optimal rest, regeneration and recharging of your nerve system. So a healthy sleep surface is essential to improve the quality of our sleep by creating pressure relief and supporting proper spinal alignment,
Pressure Relief – The right sleep surface should conform to your posture and weight. A firm mattress isn’t always best. An overly firm mattress will cut off blood flow and put excess pressure on joints, making you uncomfortable.
Proper Alignment – Your head, shoulders, hips and mid-ankles need to be in line for optimal rest, regeneration and recharging. That is because this posture allows for optimal nerve function. If you’re sleeping on the wrong mattress, or on a bed that is the wrong firmness, poor postural support will result in the same stiffness and cramping as sleeping in the car, and possible nerve pressure.
Gone are the days when it was believed that a firm mattress was the healthiest. A mattress that is too hard creates pressure points because it does not conform to the spine and its healthy curves. A mattress that is too soft, on the other hand, creates a hammock effect where the healthy spinal curves are lost in the cushiness. A new emerging technology is a customized sleep surface that is personalized for spinal health, comfort and weight. It is a layered system using better quality material inside and the right materials with different compressions on the outside, to satisfy comfort and spinal alignment support needs.
Most conventional mattresses are made of tempered steel coils in a variety of configurations. Layers of foam are placed on top for insulation and cushioning between your body and the springs. These mattresses lose their support and comfort, because the layers are made with a cheaper grade of foam that flattens with use. New developments in foam have made foam based mattresses (without coils) the fastest growing sleep surface. The most popular type of mattress sold in North America over the past year was a memory foam mattress. Unique to foam mattresses is the fact that they can be customized. A customized foam mattress allows you to choose the weight and type of foam that goes into the mattress. This supports your growing spinal alignment by choosing the recommended firmness and type of foam for you. And it also allows you to sleep comfortably with minimal pressure points whether you are lying on your side or your back.
Before purchasing a mattress it is important to get to know your foam is the key comfort ingredient used in all mattresses. There are over forty grades of foam to choose from including various grades of memory foam, natural latex rubber, and the latest high resiliency soy-based foam (Koosh Natural) which is made with renewable resources. It is good for you and the environment. Ask your Chiropractor to help you address how to improve the quality of your sleep this summer, especially as it applies to your sleep surface. YOU’LL BE GLAD YOU DID!