|Catch Part One Here
I hope that following the last newsletter most of you have been getting plenty of rest. Not to beat a dead horse, but sleep is so important to so many bodily processes that you're really doing yourself a disservice if you're not getting an adequate amount of rest. This month I'd like to extend the subject by discussing three points on which I get questioned regularly: mattresses, pillows and proper sleeping positions.
The most common question I hear regarding mattresses is how often one should be replaced. Well, if you own a standard spring mattress, then you'll want to start thinking about purchasing a new one after the five-year mark. Whether or not you'll need to get one this soon depends on a few factors. First, what is the quality of your current mattress? Cheapo mattresses have short shelf lives. Same with futons. If you have a cheap mattress, replace it every two years. Second, how much do you weigh? The more force coming down on the mattress, the quicker it will wear down. And third, how much action is that mattress seeing? No, no…I wouldn't dare…I mean have the kids been using it as a trampoline? The more stress the mattress goes through, the sooner it needs to be replaced.
If you've had your mattress for seven years, then you'll want to start doing your research and perhaps buy a new one soon. If you've had your mattress for ten years or more, then…time's up. Don't fret – nothing is better than a brand new mattress.
People also ask – which mattress is best? Since everybody is different, what is best for you really depends on your tastes. Some people prefer firm mattresses, others like soft ones. Some people like spring mattresses; others, memory foam. I personally prefer the Tempur-Pedic TM memory foam mattress. But don't let my preferences sway you; you'll have to check it out for yourself. I once recommended this mattress to a long time client and, well…he hated it. So, you'll have to try it out for yourself to see if you like it. Mattress stores carry them, and they will be more than happy to let you bounce around on one. Also, Tempur-Pedic TM stands by their product, so if you purchase one but find that you don't like it, you've got 90 days to return it – all you will have to do is pay for the shipping. Gotta love that.
A final tip on mattresses – no matter what age your current mattress is, you've got to rotate and flip it every six months or so. What this means is that you must rotate the mattress so that the top left corner becomes the bottom right corner (head becomes feet) and flip it over so that the underside is now the top, which is the surface you sleep on (that original corner now becomes bottom left underside). You've got to do this with spring mattresses so that the wear and tear evens out – that is, so you don't create permanent indentations. You don't need to rotate or flip a Tempur-Pedic TM , though. It doesn't indent. But if it happens to, don't worry: Tempur-Pedics TM come with a 20-year warranty, so they'll replace it if necessary.
What about pillows, then? Basically, with pillows the same principle applies: it's simply a matter of taste. Some people prefer firm pillows, others, soft ones; some like them flat (weird, I know, but that's how I like ‘em), others fluffy. You've got to find what's right for you. Many of my patients love the cervical pillows – you know, the ones with the hump on one end. However, I know plenty of people who hate those humpty humps. So, don't get too adventurous. Stick with the tried and true. Just make sure your pillow isn't as flaccid as a dead fish. Follow the same timeline as you would for replacing your mattress and you should be fine.
Sleeping on Your Back, Side or Stomach – Which is Best?
I know that a lot of experts say you should sleep on your side, and there is some validity to that concept; however, if you do sleep on your stomach or back, then I'm sure you know how difficult it is break that routine. All I can say is that if you can train yourself to change your sleep position – then great! Do it. But, if you've tried and been unsuccessful, please don't worry too much about it. People sleep in the position that's most comfortable for them. If it wasn't comfortable, you wouldn't sleep that way. My 10 month old sleeps primarily on her stomach. She only knows what feels best to her. If you wake up with back pain, it's likely not your sleeping position, but something more might be going on, like a subluxation, or a very tight hip flexor muscle. These dysfunctions will make most positions uncomfortable, although probably a little less so when on your side. A better solution is to get a chiropractic adjustment and to correct any underlying muscle dysfunction. That way you can sleep in whatever position suits you best.
There you have it – you're now equipped with enough information to make sure that every night is a restful one. Have fun and happy zzzzzzzzzzzzsssssssss…………….
*Coming next month: The first of a regular quarterly series of drnickcampos.com interviews with people like you who take care of their health and are living the life of their dreams. First up – Rock and Roll Superstar Mark Latham of Latham Rocks with his views on health, life, rock and roll and chiropractic care – stay tuned.
- April 3, 2007
The Six Keys to Optimal Health by Dr. Nicolas Campos
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