Good health depends on several factors, one of which is a routinely restful sleep. The amount of sleep that a person needs varies; however, most people require a minimum of eight hours. Sleep deprivation, even partial sleep deprivation in which a person receives four hours of sleep can result in a number of health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It can also cause irregular heartbeat, heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. As a result, it can shorten one’s lifespan.
Sleep is also crucial for brain function and mental health. It can cause feelings of sadness and irritability, and may contribute to mood disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. Injurious or potentially fatal accidents are yet another major threat when a person fails to get the appropriate amount of sleep. Although sleep deprivation can be caused by a number of problems such as sleep apnea or a poor mattress. It can also be a matter of poor posture or positioning in bed. Sleeping in the wrong position can hinder a person’s ability to get restful sleep and cause discomfort and soreness. It’s important for people to understand the impact of one’s sleep position, and how it can ultimately help their health or harm it.
Healthiest Sleeping Postures
While there is no one perfect sleep posture that’s best for everyone, there are some that are considered healthier than others. Sleeping on one’s back is an example of an often recommended position; however, it is also uncomfortable for many. It is a position that’s good for the spine as it distributes one’s body weight and reduces pains. People who suffer from acid reflux can benefit from sleeping on their back as well. Unfortunately, it is not a good position for individuals who snore or people who have breathing problems. The second recommended position is to lay sideways. This position is also good for spinal comfort and reduces snoring by opening the airways for improved airflow and it is ideal for pregnancy as laying on one’s left side during pregnancy can also improve circulation. When sleeping sideways people should avoid placing a hand beneath the pillow or under their head in general as it can cause numbness in the fingers due to compression of nerves in the shoulder and arm. Additionally, neck and arm tightness can also be problematic. The fetal position and stomach sleeping are generally not recommended as they are both bad for the spine and neck. Sleeping on one’s stomach, for example, is widely considered the worst position as it strains the neck and distorts the lower spine.
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Neck and Spine Health
A person’s spine and neck can be deeply affected by how they sleep. The right posture, while crucial, is not the only factor to consider. When buying a mattress, it should be firm enough to provide support for the natural curve of the spine and help keep it in natural alignment. It must also be comfortable to the individual and leave them feeling rested after a full night’s sleep. As a result, there’s also no one ideal mattress for all and people should try them out before making a purchase. When it comes to one’s current mattresses, it should be replaced roughly every eight to 10 years and should never sag.
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The Pillow’s Role
The primary role of the pillow is to provide support for the neck. The right pillow prevents the neck from bending in a way that is abnormal or out of a neutral alignment. A pillow that is too full or too flat can obstruct breathing, cause snoring, strain the neck or joint muscles, and cause headaches upon awakening. Pillows should also be used to relieve pressure from the spine and help maintain its natural posture to prevent strain. People who lie on their side should place a pillow between their knees, or when sleeping on their back using a pillow beneath the knees. A body pillow that runs from the armpits to knees can also support spinal alignment and reduce vertebral strain while sleeping. Additionally, pillows are meant to provide comfort, which aids in a more restful sleep.
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