Two of the most common questions people ask a chiropractor are “What pillow do I buy?” and “What mattress would you recommend?”. The training and knowledge of human anatomy allow us to conclude what is best, but we must first ask “Do you think that if you sleep ‘wrong’ you may cause some issues in your back and neck?” The answer is yes, Yes, and YES!
Early in my career, I had the same question. There are so many different companies making mattresses and pillows that is it seems impossible to choose the right ones. No matter where one goes, they will state that their pillows and mattresses are the best. It is frustrating!
Let us talk about mattresses first. Hard mattresses are healthier, while soft mattresses are more comfortable but can cause back problems to develop. During our regular daily routine, our muscles get tired. When muscles get tired, they become tight, and if they become too tight they hurt and ache. Alternatively, if one lays down to sleep on a hard mattress, it will be harder to fall asleep because tension will increase in the back, causing gravity to stretch the muscles out.
Finding a comfortable position for sleep is harder as muscles start to pull and ache. During the night, one may wake up a few times because of this feeling, but there will be less tightness and stiffness in the morning.
After a hard day at work, sleeping on a soft mattress will absorb and mold to you and your tight muscles. A soft mattress will make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep, but unfortunately, the tight muscles will generally stay tight.
Essentially, on a soft mattress, the body will go through a cycle of getting tired during the day, making the muscles tight. Then when one tries to go to sleep and rest, tight muscles will only partially relax. Over months and years, the muscles will get tighter and tighter, leading to chronic problems.
In conclusion, one needs to figure out what works best for them to balance sleeping on soft and hard surfaces.
Let us talk about pillows now. The pillow needs to match the mattress and the positions one sleeps. The best position to sleep in is on the back. The head is not tilted or rotated to the right or left.
This position resembles the same position when one is standing. Where
the body is upright and aligned. This position is called neutral. Avoid sleeping on the stomach with the head turned to the left or right. Sleeping on your stomach can cause chronic back and neck issues.
Our bodies must be in balance to have optimum health. Balance gets broken if one is sleeping with the head turned to one side repeatedly, or only one leg bent, or in various nonneutral positions. These positions cause one side of the muscles to tighten and other muscles to stretch out, leading to an imbalance. If one is a side sleeper, then make sure to sleep on both sides equally. Favoring one side over the other over the years will show in the posture and cause problems with the neck, back, and spine.
If you have any further questions, do not wait, or hesitate to call 360-737-9665.
Consultations are free. Get educated because your health is essential, and it begins today with getting good, quality sleep.