How Do You Sleep at Night?
Backaches and Sciatica.
You spend a third of your life in bed, so your sleep position can dramatically affect your health.
How do you sleep at night? No, not how well do you sleep, rather, in what is your usual sleep position? Do you sleep all curled up in a ball? Do you sleep on your stomach with hands and legs outstretched? Do you sleep on your side? On your back?
Maybe you've never considered this before, but sleep position does matter. The worst position to sleep in is on your stomach. This position places the most stress on your neck and back. If you must sleep in this position, be sure to put a pillow under your hips and don't sleep with one under your head.
Are you a side sleeper? The fetal position is far better than sleeping on your stomach, and sleeping on a cervical pillow makes it better still because the pillow keeps your neck in a neutral position, relieving any stress. It also helps to place a regular pillow between your knees, especially if you frequently experience hip pain or suffer from degenerative disc disease or osteoarthritis.
Back sleeper? Although sleeping flat on your back may cause you to snore a bit, if you frequently experience low back pain, this is an ideal sleep position. A cervical pillow or roll under your neck and a pillow under your knees decreases stress on your lower back.
Of course, your mattress plays a big part in all of this as well. Although a soft mattress may feel good, it doesn't support your spine in the same way as a firm (not hard) mattress and you may wake up feeling sore. For people who already have back pain, sleeping on the wrong type of mattress will only make matters worse. If you have any type of back pain, we suggest you schedule an appointment with your health practitioner for an examination. Back pain may have many causes and sleep position and mattress firmness may only be part of the problem.
Where's Your "Happy Place"?
Have you identified a place you can go to in your mind to reduce stress and relax your body?
Let's face it, given the state of the global economy, joblessness rates, declining home values, troubled teens, deadlines and debt, why wouldn't you feel stressed out? And that's only a partial list of what many of us experience on a daily basis.
Stress is all around us and it is one of the leading causes of illness and even death. It wears us down and takes its toll, often leaving us tired, irritable, depressed and ill.
So…do you have a happy place? You know, a "happy place," a place in your mind where you can just get away from it all and relax, meditate, or leave on a short trip to de-stress when life sometimes just gets too overwhelming.
Here are a few suggestions for to help you find your own special "happy place":
• Where's a place where you would feel really comfortable? The beach? Out on a sailboat? Imagining yourself with a mentor or loved one? Walking through a field of beautiful wild flowers, with the sun shining brightly?
• Find a place where you can relax your mind and your body. A place where you are alone and away from the hustle and bustle of work or chores. A peaceful place – maybe a lounge chair, a park bench, your bathtub, or your bed.
• Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. Breathe deeply in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds and then exhale through your mouth. Push all thoughts out of your head and just concentrate on your breathing.
• Now, think about your happy place. Where is it? Who is with you? Listen to the sounds and sense the smells and feelings of all that is going on around you. Can you feel your body starting to relax?
• Stay there for a while and soak in the calm and the relaxation that will allow you to return to the world, refreshed and renewed.
You don't need a map to get to your happy place; you only need the willingness and the desire to take some time for yourself to unwind and leave your stress behind, if only for a few minutes.
Natural therapy helps relieve the effects of stress on your body. Sometimes it takes years of stress build up to manifest itself in disease; we can help keep your "engine" up and running through "routine maintenance" in our "body shop"!
Make it a point to see your health practitioner soon for your regular check up. Don't allow stress to take years off your life!