Are you getting enough sleep? If you’re like most Americans, the chances are good that the answer is no. The average adult needs between eight and nine hours of sleep per night. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that as many as one-third of all Americans do not get enough sleep. A top Atlanta chiropractic center, the skilled team at Back to Basics, may be able to help.
Back to Basics is the highest-rated chiropractic center in Atlanta according to Yelp. The chiropractors and massage therapists there understand that good sleep is essential to good health.
The Link Between Chiropractic Care and Sleep
You might think that you only need to visit a chiropractor if you’re hurt. It is true that a chiropractic care is a good first step if you have back or neck pain, a skilled chiropractor can do more than treat injuries.
Some of the things that the Atlanta chiropractic center can help with include:
- Pregnancy-related lower back pain
- Fibromyalgia pain and discomfort
- Weakened immunity
- Asthma and chronic allergies
- Repetitive stress injuries
The fact is that a visit to a skilled Atlanta-area chiropractor can help improve your overall health. Chiropractors take a holistic approach to healing. They understand that the body as a whole must be strong and healthy.
Sleep is an essential human function. Research into the science of sleep and why we need it is ongoing. However, some things are clear. A study looked at the effect of sleep deprivation on mice. What it found is that mice which were immunized against the flu still caught it when they were prevented from sleeping.
Sleep also plays an important role in pain management. A study that looked at women with fibromyalgia is a case in point. Women who reported sleeping well reported significantly less pain than women who slept poorly.
In addition to the effects that sleep deprivation can have on immunity and pain, there is also evidence to suggest that sleep helps improve memory and prevent dementia. Clearly, sleep is essential for good health.
Three Sleep Positions Recommended by the Atlanta Chiropractic Center
You probably have a preferred sleep position. Some people prefer to sleep flat on their backs. Others sleep curled on their side or flat on their stomachs. Whatever position you like, you have to consider the possibility that it might not be good for your spine and neck. But how can you tell?
Before we talk about the five best sleeping positions for pain prevention, let’s talk about habits. A sleeping position is a habit. As such, it can be broken. It might take some effort on your part. However, if you knew that a simple switch in your sleep position could relieve your pain, wouldn’t you be willing to try it.
The Atlanta chiropractic center recommends these three positions to help reduce pain and improve sleep. On the whole, the ideal sleep position is one that keeps your spine in a neutral position. That way, no part of your back is exposed to pressure.
Flat on Your Back
Sleeping flat on your back might not come naturally to you. However, it is one of the best positions for maintaining a neutral spine. There are a few things to keep in mind when sleeping in this position.
- Use a pillow with a divot or dip for your head, but one that offers support for your neck. Your head and neck should be at a neutral angle. Never sleep on your back with your head strained or elevated. According to the Atlanta chiropractic center, such a position strains your upper vertebrae and may result in injury.
- Place a pillow beneath your knees to remove pressure from your lower back. Your spine has a natural curve, and a neutral position should maintain it. Raise your knees slightly and slide a pillow beneath them. The pillow should be about two fist-widths tall.
- Start off sleeping on your back. You are more likely to stay in a comfortable position if you start off that way.
Sleeping flat on your back is especially good for people who have lower back pain.
On Your Side
Many people prefer to sleep on their side. Side sleeping can be very beneficial to the spine and neck as long as you do it right. The Atlanta chiropractic center at Back to Basics offers this advice to side sleepers:
- Sleep with a firm pillow that holds your neck in a neutral position. It’s important to maintain the right alignment between your neck and shoulder. Some manufacturers make pillows that are designed especially for side sleepers.
- Your legs should be evenly spaced. For most side sleepers, that means putting a small pillow between their knees. The pillow should be about one fist-width high and firm enough to hold the knees apart. Side sleeping can cause a gap in the sacroiliac (SI) joint. Over time, that can lead to lower back pain.
- Be careful not to roll over onto your stomach. Stomach sleepers put a lot of pressure on their lower backs. If you normally sleep on your stomach, try putting a tennis ball in the front pocket of your pajamas or tee shirt. The discomfort when you roll over will get you back into the right position.
Side sleeping can be very comfortable, but it’s important to keep an eye out for nerve compression in the neck and shoulders.
In the Fetal Position
The third sleep position the Atlanta chiropractic center recommends is the fetal position. However, this position isn’t right for everybody. Sleeping in the fetal position keeps your spine in a curved position while you sleep. You should approach this position with caution.
The two groups of people who may benefit from sleeping in the fetal position are:
- Women who are pregnant – the curved spinal position may relieve pressure caused by the pregnancy
- People who have herniated disks – curving the spine can take pressure off the nerves and make it easier to sleep
Most people should choose the back or side for comfortable sleep. If you do choose the fetal position, here are some things to consider:
- If you’re pregnant, consider placing a support pillow under your abdomen. The weight of your pregnant belly can pull on the spine, putting unnecessary pressure on it. Putting a firm pillow there can help relieve the pressure.
- You may also want to consider putting a small pillow between your knees as recommended above for side sleepers. Again, the goal is to prevent a gap in the sacroiliac joint.
- Make sure to use a firm pillow that offers support for your neck and upper spine.
Again, the Atlanta chiropractic center suggests approaching this position with care. If you aren’t pregnant or experiencing a back problem that makes this position the best choice, choose one of the other two options.
The Worst Sleep Position
It’s good to know the best sleep positions to relieve pain. But what’s the worst position for your spinal health? The Atlanta chiropractic center has an answer that probably won’t surprise you.
Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended for anybody who wants a healthy spine. The reason is that sleeping on the stomach puts an enormous amount of pressure on the lower back. The body’s weight pulls down on the spine and causes it to curve in an unnatural way.
Stomach sleeping may also put pressure on your neck as you will have to turn it to one side to be able to breathe. The neck strain can lead, in turn, to shoulder problems. Some people who sleep on their stomachs even experience numbness in their hands and feet as a result.
As mentioned above, there are ways to prevent stomach sleeping. Try sleeping in pajamas or a shirt with a front breast pocket. Place a tennis ball in the pocket. If you roll over onto your stomach during the night, the pressure of the ball will wake you. You can return to your optimal sleep position and get back to sleep.
Some other sleep positions to avoid include:
- One leg higher than the other. If you sleep on your side or turned toward your stomach, try to keep your legs even. Some people bend one leg while keeping the other straight. This position throws your spine out of alignment. To cure yourself of this habit, try tying your legs together with a towel until you’re used to sleeping with them together.
- Legs spread. Some people sprawl out on the bed with their legs spread apart. The danger with this position, according to the Atlanta chiropractic center, is that it puts stress on your hip joints. Since the hips and spine are connected, the stress can spread to your back and cause additional pain.
It makes sense to invest in a good mattress and a firm pillow designed to support your neck in the proper position.
How to Choose an Atlanta-Area Chiropractor
If you decide to seek out chiropractic treatment, you want the Atlanta chiropractic center to treat you. Here are the things you should keep in mind:
- Check to make sure your chiropractor is licensed in the state of Georgia by clicking here.
- Read reviews of any chiropractors you are considering. Yelp is a good place to start. Don’t just look at the ratings. Read what patients have to say to determine if a chiropractor is the right fit.
- Check out the chiropractor’s website to find out what services they offer.
- Call the office to ask how your first appointment will be structured. You should ask whether you’ll receive treatment on your first visit or if it’s just a consultation. You want to make sure the chiropractor you see has time to speak with you.
These guidelines will help you choose the Atlanta chiropractic center for your needs.
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for good health. These three positions, recommended by the Atlanta chiropractic center, can help you sleep well – and live well.