A Healthy Way to Sleep
3 Ways Posture Affects the Quality of Sleep for Adults and Children
You’re tossing and turning endlessly in bed. You keep checking your phone to see how much time you have left until you have to get up. You’re physically exhausted but your mind just won’t shut off. Most people know how it feels to not get enough sleep. It’s frustrating and you always regret it in the morning. If this sounds familiar to you, then you’re in luck.
Today, you’re going to learn how to have a good night's sleep through the power of proper posture.
Over 70 million Americans are suffering from different types of sleep disorders. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control or CDC think that this country is so sleep-deprived that it has declared insufficient sleep as a public health pandemic. Adults and children alike are at risk of accidents and developing serious diseases due to lack of sleep.
Another forgotten medical threat to Americans and even to the rest of the world is bad posture. According to the National Institutes of Health, 80 percent of Americans develop back problems at some point in their lives caused by slouching. Back problem is just the surface, poor posture can lead to both physical and mental health problems that are clearly avoidable.
Let’s dive in and find out how posture affects the quality of sleep.
1. Sleeplessness is commonly caused by body aches due to slouching.
According to a study, 86 percent of American workers have desk jobs, meaning they sit all-day. Most of them do not observe proper ergonomic practices resulting in strained muscles and fatigue.
The head is the most common area that suffers due to poor posture. Tense muscles cause pain. When your upper back, shoulders, and neck are aching, it is almost sure that headache follows.
The pain is more tolerable in the day when you’re busy and you’re hardly noticing it. But when nighttime comes and you can still feel the ache, it is more likely that you won’t be able to sleep - if you manage to sleep it won’t be a sound and restful one. This is why many people wake up feeling exhausted even after 8 hours of slumber. The duration is adequate but the quality is not.
2. Incorrect posture can lead to respiratory problems that can cause sleep disorders.
Do you notice your posture when you use your phone? You lean forward and you’re facing down. This position is not exactly friendly to your respiratory system. It causes you to lose the natural C-Curve of your vertebrae. It squeezes your lungs and in the long run, it can result in tightening of your throat muscles that lead to sleep apnea - the second most common sleeping disorder next to insomnia.
3. Bad posture can cause fatigue which can trigger mental health problems.
A study conducted by Health Psychology concludes that people who sit in an upright position or those who have good posture tend to have a better emotional state compared to those who slouch. Additionally, fatigue caused by bad posture increases the likelihood of a person developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. These conditions are known to be a serious cause of sleeplessness.
1. Bad posture puts children at risk of developing sleeping disorders.
It’s bad enough when adults suffer from lack of sleep. But when children go through the same thing, it is even worse. Usually, babies to toddlers develop the wrong posture when they are put in a non-ideal position during sleep and feeding.
Unfortunately, a lot of sleeping disorders including insomnia do not come at a certain age. Even the newborns can suffer from certain conditions such as infant insomnia and sleep apnea. Once they develop these conditions early on in life, it can be a struggle to get rid of it as they age.
2. Incorrect posture can cause chronic pain that prevents children to sleep soundly.
Sore muscles and strained joints can cause injuries. These injuries, when not properly treated, can graduate to becoming chronic pain. It will be hard for babies to fall into a deep good-quality sleep if they feel pain in their bodies.
Injuries are often caused by accidents and other times they can be caused by poor habits. To avoid this, parents and caregivers should always make sure that the baby observes good posture.
3. Slouching can cause digestive problems that can disrupt good sleep.
After feeding, the body of a child is susceptible to acid reflux. When they slouch, it causes stomach acid to be released in the wrong direction. This results in heartburn and indigestion. This condition can last for hours to even weeks. Consequently, children who are affected by this will find it very hard to have a good long sleep.
How to improve your posture for better sleep?
1. Practice proper ergonomics at home and work.
Ergonomics is beyond buying expensive furniture. It is as important as taking care of your whole well-being. When your posture is correct, you do not get bothered by body pain. You tend to be more focused and productive.
Be mindful of your movements every day. For example, if you are working at a desk, make sure the distance of the mouse, keyboard, and the monitor of your computer do not make your head tilt forward and your shoulders slouch. Adjust the position and the height of the chair, desk, and computer so you feel more comfortable moving around. Apply the same mindfulness to the rest of your daily routine and movements.
2. Know your preferred sleeping position.
America is sleep-deprived but people are still spending a good amount of time laying in bed asleep. It is important to know what position you feel most comfortable in. Among the common sleeping positions are: back, stomach, side.
Knowing your preferred sleeping position will tell you what kind of mattress and pillow is best for you. See below.
3. Get a good quality mattress.
When it comes to choosing a mattress, you have to apply Goldilocks’ principle of everything in moderation. It shouldn’t be too hard that it’s not comfy but it shouldn’t be too soft as well that you hurt your spine. The key is finding the right firmness. Invest in a good mattress made of high-quality materials.
Another tip on finding the right mattress is to determine the perfect size that works best for you. It is highly recommended that you test the mattress out before buying. In this case, online shopping without having an actual feel of the product might not be ideal.
4. Get a pillow that matches your body.
Pillows can be tricky. The secret is to get one that has the right height, shape, size, and material. Also, you have to put it in the right location otherwise it can cause muscle strain and stiff neck.
For back sleepers, low pillow height is recommended. You will feel more relaxed if you add two or more pillows under your knees to decrease backpressure.
For side sleepers, medium pillow height is ideal. A helpful trick is to choose a pillow made out of a firm material such as latex. This is to alleviate pressure from your neck and provide your head with more support.
If you are a stomach sleeper, consider not using a pillow for your head at all as this causes your neck to be tense. What you can do is place a thin pillow under your pelvis to keep your back aligned.
Apply these useful information and posture hacks to your daily life to get better quality sleep. Life is hard enough, people shouldn’t have to suffer needlessly from lack of rest. Now that you know these helpful tips, share them with your family and friends so they too can learn the powerful benefits of maintaining proper posture for a good quality sleep.