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Dr. Arnan Sisson
October 23, 2023
The number one question we've had in the past month or two has been on the topic of sleeping. Folks may ask, "What is the best type of mattress? Is it soft, firm, or does it all have to do with my routine before bed?"
With that said we're going to talk about the top two ways you can adjust your mattress and sleep on the mattress to reduce aches and pain. It also helps you stop tossing and turning 3-4 times a night and have a great restful night’s sleep without relying on sleeping pills.
First off, there have been a good bit of studies to determine the best mattress type to reduce aches/pains and aid in a good night’s rest. What they found was pretty surprising. During the study, it was found that the mattress being soft, firm, or medium was all a matter of preference. It wasn't one of these mattresses that produced more aches/pains than the other. It all had to do with personal liking.
What they did find out though was that having a dip or dent in the mattress was one of the biggest causes of losing a good night’s rest and having back, neck, or hip pain during the night. So, with that said we need to do a test to determine if our mattress is producing this low level of stress that’s bad for us.
Here's how the mattress test goes:
1. crouch to the side of your mattress
2. gaze across the surface of the mattress and see if there are any dips or dents that are visible
If you don't see any, that’s great! Your mattress according to the study is not producing a large negative stress to your body. But if you do have a dent, you need to take care of that ASAP!
Here are some routes you can take to get rid of the dents...
- Turn your mattress around if the dips are just on your side (... your partner may not like this though :) )
- Get a mattress from a guest bedroom and swap it with yours (having the bad stress for one night won't affect the guest in a large way)
- Place some plyboard under the mattress, we've had this work for some mattresses in bringing up the dent
- If none of these work... then buy a new mattress that’s dip free, trust me it'll be one of the BEST investments you can make in your sleep long-term
The second adjustment we can make is in how we sleep on our mattress. Lots of clients I've spoken with have slept on their backs, stomachs, or even the side. The number one position that I can flat-out say DON'T get in is sleeping on your stomach. What that does is it turns the neck and can jam the joint/overstretch the neck musculature for long periods of time. This can lead to some pretty nasty neck pain in a matter of years.
Aside from this, the "best position" I usually recommend is on the side. A side-lying position gets the back in a neutral position and the neck in a pretty safe position as well. To make this even better, place a pillow between the knees and try to straighten out the legs to get out of the fetal position. We don't want our backs to be overly curled and straightening the legs will help with that.
While you may get out of your position a bit after you fall asleep that’s okay. Just try that position to take away the stress from the back before bedtime and make sure that the mattress is in good shape.
If you want some additional help to get back your 8 hours of sleep and lose the back/neck pain more quickly then feel free to give us a ring at (804) 493-3256 (take messages 24/7) to get a free 20-minute phone consultation. During the call, we can figure out the main cause of your ache/pain and lost sleep. Then we can determine the top 2-3 strategies to fix it!