A link between spinal health and sleep quality

Have you considered the impact of poor sleep on your spinal health, or vice versa? Sleep is considered to be one of the three pillars of health and is essential for allowing our body to heal, recover from the previous day, fight off disease and maintain our physical and mental wellbeing.

When highlighting the importance of sleep, it is important to discuss sleeping positions. The Australian Chiropractors’ Association (ACA) discusses how sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees is the best position to keep the weight off the lower back and to support the natural curvatures of the spine. Side sleeping is also recommended. Stomach sleeping is not recommended due to the unnecessary strain placed on the spine and chest.

Sleeping on a bad mattress or pillow can also impact your sleep quality and spinal health. Companies such as Sleepy’s and Tranquillow Pillow provide Chiropractic approved mattresses and contoured pillows to support the head and spine. The contoured shape of the pillow is designed to encourage a better sleep posture and to minimise the strain on the neck and shoulders.

Getting a good or even full night’s sleep is something that is difficult for many. A range of factors can influence sleep from stress and nervous tension, tight muscles, leg cramps, an overactive mind, poor diet choices including stimulant intake. Stress and nervous tension is well known to influence sleep quality.

Magnesium may improve your quality of sleep. Magnesium is found in a variety of foods including legumes, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts. However, one in four Australians fail to meet the recommended daily intake for magnesium. This may be due to modern food processing that reduces the magnesium content in foods or due to our poor food choices. Certain medications and gastrointestinal disorders may contribute to magnesium deficiency. As well as that, increased activity levels means we have a greater demand for magnesium.

Magnesium is an important mineral for our muscles easing muscle cramps and spasms but is also essential for healthy heart function, energy production, nervous system health, bone strength and blood sugar regulation.

Yeronga Chiropractic stocks BioCeuticals Ultra Muscleze, which provides a highly absorbable form of magnesium. It also contains several amino acids and B vitamins to support our nervous system in times of stress. It can be useful for the relief of muscular aches, pains, spasms and cramps including night time leg cramps. Our Naturopath Melissa is happy to assist further if you need advice on sleep or when to take a magnesium supplement.

The ACA has created a very effective Chiropractic app called Straighten Up. This is an app designed to guide you with exercises, reminders about posture, water intake and stretching. Within the app are sets of simple 3 minute exercises to improve posture, stabilise core muscles and enhance overall health, these exercises can be completed by Australians of all ages with the program specifically tailored for children. Implementing this into your daily routine can be an incredibly beneficial way to improve your spinal health. For more information on the Straighten Up app: Straighten Up – ACA (chiro.org.au).

When you suffer pain and/or stiffness, your brain and nervous system may find it hard to relax and be “at ease” – something that is necessary for a good night’s sleep. I often describe the effect as similar to an annoying white noise on your radio at its mildest, to an air-raid siren at its worst. If you can relate to this (before replacing your mattress, your pillow, taking supplements or medications), let your chiropractor or other practitioner help you find out where the discomfort is coming from and correct its cause. One of the first outcomes reported by many of our patients is that they start to regain a good quality of sleep following chiropractic care and an easing of their symptoms.

We are here to help and happy to provide care and advice. Let’s get you back to a good night’s sleep!

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