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Image Source: Google
Image Source: Google

Did you know you that poor posture is one of the primary causes of spine issues like back pain? When you sleep oddly, there is an added and unwelcome pressure on your back, neck and hips which can lead to prolonged pain and uneasiness.

While people take care in choosing ergonomic chairs for sitting today, most of us fail to take care to choose the right mattress for sleeping.

An average person spends approximately six to eight hours of sleep each day; which is basically one-third of their lives. Thus, the right mattress and posture while sleeping is critical to one’s overall wellbeing.

The ideal sleeping posture is one that gives the best support to the body and has minimal muscular energy expenditure so that the posture can be sustained. The body is best relaxed in such a posture which is good for inducing sound sleep.

We all know that during the day, the spine takes the load of the body when upright. The spinal extensors or antigravity muscles relentlessly work throughout the day, working against gravity to move us around.

So it is important that we minimize muscular activity in sleep, which we can achieve by giving proper support to the spine.

Understanding the right posture to give you the sleep you need:

  • Our body weight is concentrated in the vicinity of the sacral area, or the upper pelvic area.
  • The next major weight transferring area is the chest or the torso.
  • In between the two comes the highly mobile lumbar area, where low back pain is mostly seen. This area is prone to sagging if the above two areas are not supported well. It is important that we choose an orthopaedic certified mattress which provides graded support to the above areas so that good spinal alignment is achieved.
  • The other areas viz. head and neck area, and thigh to leg area, transfers less weight compared to the chest to the pelvic area.
  • The density and flexibility of the torso and pelvic area that a certified orthopaedic mattress provides plays a crucial role while resting.
  • It is a similar case while lying on the back or on the sides as the weight is transferred per surface area is more in these common sleep postures.
  • So a high resilient mattress for these two areas minimizes sagging and ensures proper spine support.

Understanding the right mattress to use to give you the sleep you need:

  • A simple way to observe is that the spine comes in a horizontal line from shoulder to waist when lying on the back; and neck to lower back when lying on the sides.
  • You can feel that your normal spinal curve in the lower back [lumbar area] is maintained whether you lie on your back or sides if the mattress is having graded support along the length of the spine. This is essential for posture correction in lying position.
  • So the next question would be – will such a sturdy mattress would be hard to feel? This is often resolved with a mattress that has a top thin soft layer with low resilience made up of memory foam. This gives soft cushioning to the bony prominences where the skin comes into contact so that we have a soothing soft feel.
  • The layer on top also should not get heated up and should be breathable so that we feel cosy to lie down.

This might seem like a lot to take in but always remember, before you relax and eventually fall asleep, be rest assured that with a good pillow, a reliable mattress, and a well-aligned spine, you’ll be well on your way to getting a good night’s sleep.

After all, the quality of your sleep directly affects your mental and physical health, and thus affects the quality of your life.

The author is a senior consultant physiotherapist.

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