Three Tips to Sleep Better from a Physical Therapist
We have all had those mornings where you wake up after what feels like 10 minutes of sleep but turns out to be an entire night. As you fight through the day and down a few extra cups of coffee, you count down the minutes until you can lie your head back down and cross your fingers tonight is the best night of sleep you’ve ever had. We hear you, and we are here to help! Here are three tips to keep in your arsenal of sleep tricks to help you get the most restful, rejuvenating night of sleep you can.
Head Rest: If you’re a side sleeper, make sure your pillow is not too tall or too short. To do this, stand in front of a mirror with good posture and hold your pillow pressed up against the side of your head. If the edge of the pillow extends beyond your shoulder, it is too tall. If it stops short of the edge of your shoulder, it is too short! You want to aim for a pillow that allows your neck to stay in neutral alignment by ending right at the end of your shoulder when compressed slightly. If you sleep on your back, you need a pillow with medium height and thickness that again keeps your spine in neutral positioning.
Position: Sleeping on your back or your side are the best positions to avoid excessive strain on your spine and decrease the risk of shoulder or cervical (neck) joint impingement. This will help you to relax and get even deeper sleep.
Stretches to do before bed: Hold each for 30 seconds, repeat three times on the right and left sides.
Cross Legged Hip Stretch: Lay on your back with your knees at a 90-degree angle. Bring one foot up to cross over your opposite knee as if you were crossing your legs while sitting. This stretches the hips and lower back, targeting muscles that commonly become restricted with prolonged periods of sitting or walking, or in this case laying down.
Child’s Pose Stretch: Kneeling on the ground, sit back on your legs and reach your arms as far in front of you on the ground as possible. This stretches muscles through the mid and low back, as well as your shoulders
Trunk Side-bending Stretch: Stand up tall with shoulders square with your hips and feet shoulder length apart. Reach one arm up and over your head while reaching the opposite and toward your toes, bending your torso and leaning into the side stretch. This stretches muscles through the side of your trunk and your shoulders.
Fluff up your pillow, roll over, and stretch it out and you will be set up to sleep soundly through the night. Maybe tomorrow will only be a one cup of coffee kind of day!