February 5, 2017 Dr. Lamb's Advice

Mattresses and sleeping - dr Adam Lamb

Sleep is one of the key components of health and adequate sleep is necessary for our bodies to repair themselves, so I just wanted to spend a few minutes talking about some recommendations to help everyone get better rest.  As one of the most commonly discussed topics in my office, having some resources here may be able to many of you. Some of the most common questions I get each day are:

-What is the best mattress to sleep on?

-What is the best position to sleep in?

-What is the best pillow to use?

Let’s try to address these questions.  First, a common line of thought is that peoples bodies sometimes hurt when they lie down, or when they wake up, so therefore, it must be their beds or mattresses.  For many, the damage was done long before they reach the bed.  Bodies are subjected to many different stresses during the day, whether you are engaging in heavy lifting on the job or at the gym, or sitting for long hours at a desk.  Muscles get strained, ligaments get stretched and massive forces are imposed upon the body in less than optimal positions.

There are many choices these days when it comes to selecting a mattress and it can be a bit confusing.  Firm, soft, plush, pillow top, foam, etc.  My recommendation for mattresses has traditionally been a firm mattress with a pillow top.  You can start the selection process online or in a store where you can actually test them out live(my preferred method). For many years, I slept on a foam mattress and loved it.  Last year, after years of recommending them to others, I decided to try a sleep number bed , a mattress which can be adjusted from firm to soft.  This bed is known as the “relationship saver”, as you can have each side a different firmness.  My only suggestion on this mattress is spring for a middle tier model as the lower end ones do not provide enough foam between the top of the bed and the air compartments.  Their sleep monitoring program is very glitchy and their customer service is poor.  Some of the mattress companies have cool questionnaires to help you determine your ideal match. As many people are concerned about what their bedding is made of, there are companies like that are providing eco-friendly and organic materials.  Lastly here, I will mention that getting something with a good return policy is useful.  One of the best I’ve seen is from Bloomingdales.  I will provide a few links/resources here.

As far as sleeping position goes, this is a very difficult question, as people have developed their sometimes bad sleeping habits over their lifetimes and resistant to change.  The key is trying to get your body in as neutral position as possible.  If you’re a back sleeper, a small pillow or a neck roll under the curve of you neck is best while trying to keep a pillow behind your knees.  If you’re a side sleeper (most people), having enough pillow under your head and neck to support it and keep it in line with the rest of your spine while keeping a small pillow between the knees is our goal.  If you’re a stomach sleeper, I’ve got some bad news – it’s not good for you no matter how you spin it.  Some of the worst spines I’ve seen, riddled with arthritis and incredibly tight upper back and neck muscles stem from sleeping on your stomach with your head twisted in one direction or another.  Most sources will recommend that you sleep on your left side to relieve or minimize acid reflux as well as improve heart circulation for pregnant women.  Either side is fine in my book as long as you are well supported and comfortable.

The pillow question may be the most common one I get in the office.  I mentioned some suggestions along with sleeping positions, but as far as specific pillows go, there is a vast number of choices out there. For many years, I carried Tempurpedic pillows in the office.  They are somewhat expensive and there are many cheaper alternatives.  I do like the support of foam pillows, but there are others that do the job as well.  The most popular pillow recommended by chiropractors for years is the Tricore pillow, available on Amazon for about $40  Buckwheat, microbeads, beans, rice, water, air, down, etc.  Whatever feel you prefer is fine as long as it’s the right size.  Some pillow companies like tempurpedic make pillows of different sizes.  The pillows I’ve recently been recommending for the majority of my patients are the Proper Pillow and the Ortho Bone pillow.

Please contact the office for any further questions.

Tri-Core Cervical Pillow

Original Bones™ OrthoBone® Pillow in Velour

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