Did you know that March is National Bed month?

Osteopaths are very concerned with sleep and how lack of sleep can affect your health. Osteopaths may ask you about your bed and mattress – for a lot of different reasons. Sleeping habits and position can affect your back pain, neck pain and any other symptoms.

Also, things that interfere with sleep can slow down the beneficial effects of osteopathy by affecting your stress levels and your ability to recover from injuries.

Did you know that 48% of Londoners get inadequate sleep – and that a third of us only get 5 to 6 hours of sleep a night? And that only 22% of Britons get adequate sleep, which experts say is between 7 and 9 hours (for most)?

Did you know that your mattress could contribute to your pain indirectly by making you sleep less than you should if it’s not comfortable – and also directly by affecting your sleeping posture?

Sleeping habits can contribute to some causes of neck pain, back pain or shoulder pain.  This pain can come from an overly supportive/hard mattress in some – but in others, it can be exacerbated by a soft, unsupportive or worn out mattress.  An overly hard mattress can make your neck and shoulder ‘fold up’ together, causing a crick in your neck.  Or an overly soft mattress can cause strain on your low back, especially if you sleep on your front or side.

Sleep problems can stem from a large range of physical and emotional issues, but one is relatively easy to fix and can help prevent pain and improve your health:  having a healthy mattress!  Your osteopath will help you understand how a healthy mattress can lead to a healthier you!

The National Sleep Council suggests that you replace your mattress approximately every seven years.  They offer a free online ‘Mattress MOT‘ to let you self check the health of your own mattress.

If you need to replace your mattress, remember these things:

  • You may find a medium support mattress best.  Don’t choose a bed just because it says it is ‘orthopaedic’ or ‘firm’ or for ‘back pain sufferers’.
  • Take your time choosing a mattress.  Decide on size, type and budget.  Then go to a shop and narrow down the possibilities.
  • Go back and test a couple of the top contenders.  Lay on them as long as you need to decide!
  • If you have a partner, test the mattresses together.  Be sure its big enough that you don’t disturb one another. If your other half doesn’t sleep well, neither will you.
  • You may need a different pillow – choose one that lets you keep your spine relatively level when on your side.  This will help prevent neck and shoulder pain.

The Sleep Council has put together a lot of research on sleep and how sleep affects our well being in a report on The Great British Bedtime

If you want more advice on how sleeping habits are affecting your neck pain or back pain, ask at your next appointment or book in for a consultation at backpainwestlondon.co.uk.