How You Sleep Can Affect the Way You Feel

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sleepIf you’re finding it hard to get out of bed in the morning, try taking a look at the way you sleep.  That’s because how you fall asleep can dramatically affect how you wake up.

Whether you’re finding it hard to get enough sleep because you’re going to bed too late, or because your bad back is keeping you up, a lack of sleep can take a toll on your health.

To Snooze, or Not to Snooze?

Most sleep experts say that adults should be getting between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, the Better Sleep Council says only about half of us actually do.

Do you find yourself constantly hitting the snooze button in the morning?  While you may think snoozing will help you get a little more sleep, it actually doesn’t. Instead, you’re simply prolonging how long it takes for you to fully wake up.

Here’s what happens: you hit snooze and immediately proceed to get back under the covers. Your body, unbeknownst to you, is already awake at this point and thinks it’s ok to fall back asleep. Unfortunately, when you wake up a second (or a third) time, your body has a harder time adjusting — resulting in a groggier, more sluggish you.

Long story short: hitting the snooze button in the morning can actually make you more tired throughout the day.

Back Pain and Lack of Sleep: A Common Cycle

While getting up earlier may help you stay awake throughout the day, falling asleep at night may be a whole different matter, especially if you’re dealing with back pain.

Low back pain is one of the leading causes of sleepless nights. In fact, it’s estimated that 80% of us will experience back pain at some point in our lives. But while most cases of back pain go away within a few days, chronic back pain can do a number on your sleep cycle.

Tossing and turning all night because your back hurts can make anyone feel drained the next day. Luckily, there are a few ways to help cushion the way your back feels at night.

First, start by examining how you sleep. Keeping your back in a neutral position will help take some of the pressure off your spine. Using pillows can help. Here’s how:

  • If you’re a side sleeper, try placing a pillow between your knees.
  • If you like to sleep on your back, try placing a pillow either directly under your knees or under your lower back. This will help support your spine and hopefully alleviate some of the pressure.
  • Stomach sleepers may want to start sleeping in a different position, as this can actually aggravate your spine. If you can’t fall asleep any other way, try placing a small pillow under your abdomen.

*We recently covered sleep positioning in our new back pain eBook.

Waking Up Naturally

The best way to wake up is to do so naturally. Going to bed earlier will help you wake up at a more appropriate hour, as well as getting enough exercise during the day. In addition, try to limit your time on the computer or tablet before bed, as the artificial light has been known to make it harder to fall asleep. Changing your sleep positioning and listening to your body’s circadian sleep cycle will also go a long way in helping you have a better night’s sleep.

Author Bio

Doug Johnson, PA | North American Spine

Doug Johnson helped create North American Spine and manages all medical staff, in addition to training physicians in proper AccuraScope procedure techniques.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/01/why-hitting-snooze-is-bad-for-health_n_5630707.html
http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304185104579439092091372948
http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/sleeping-positions-for-people-with-low-back-pain
http://www.acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=68