How to improve your sleeping pattern – the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ sleeping positions named

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Getting a good night’s sleep might not be the number one New Year’s resolution for everyone but it is one that can make a crucial difference to all aspects of your health. Express.co.uk spoke with Dr Verena Senn, a sleep expert from Emma – The Sleep Company, to find out how you can boost your sleeping patterns this year and why doing so is so crucial.

What are the best and worst sleeping positions for the body?

According to Dr Senn, there are three slumber positions you should watch out for.

One of these is great for a decent night’s sleep and will leave you feeling well-rested come morning.

The other two, contrastingly, should be avoided if possible.

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What are the best and worst sleeping positions for the body?

According to Dr Senn, there are three slumber positions you should watch out for.

One of these is great for a decent night’s sleep and will leave you feeling well rested come morning.

The other two, contrastingly, should be avoided if possible.

“The Good”: Sleeping on your side

Dr Senn told Express.co.uk: “With less back pain and the added benefit of facilitating the removal of ‘waste products’ in the brain that accumulate throughout the day, side sleeping has been found to be particularly good for the body.

“However, the right pillow is a must, as the wrong one can leave pressure on the shoulder and neck area.”

“The bad”: Sleeping on your stomach

Dr Senn said: “For the most part, sleeping in the prone position – on your front – is not recommended because of the strain and pressure it can put on the spine, leading to neck and back pain.”

“The ugly”: Sleeping on your back

Dr Senn said: “Many people choose to sleep on their backs, and some do it due to the belief that it will prevent wrinkles; evidence for this is rather thin and, moreover, as this position promotes the collapse of the upper airways, people who snore or suffer from sleep apnea should definitely avoid this position.”

“The Good”: Sleeping on your side

Dr Senn told Express.co.uk: “With less back pain and the added benefit of facilitating the removal of ‘waste products’ in the brain that accumulate throughout the day, side sleeping has been found to be particularly good for the body.

“However, the right pillow is a must, as the wrong one can leave pressure on the shoulder and neck area.”

“The bad”: Sleeping on your stomach

Dr Senn said: “For the most part, sleeping in the prone position – on your front – is not recommended because of the strain and pressure it can put on the spine, leading to neck and back pain.”

“The ugly”: Sleeping on your back

Dr Senn said: “Many people choose to sleep on their backs, and some do it due to the belief that it will prevent wrinkles; evidence for this is rather thin and, moreover, as this position promotes the collapse of the upper airways, people who snore or suffer from sleep apnea should definitely avoid this position.”

How can you improve your sleeping pattern?

According to Dr Senn, looking at your behavioural patterns before bed may shed light on why your sleeping pattern is not at its best.

She said: “When it comes to improving your bedtime routine, I would recommend zoning in on each specific behaviour: are you giving yourself enough time to wind down?

“Do you spend hours on your phone before bed?

“Is your bedroom dark enough and the right temperature? All these behavioural and environmental recommendations are what we call ‘sleep hygiene’ and it’s important to maintain good sleep hygiene in order to promote healthy sleep.”

The sleep expert recommends spending some time “relaxing” before you are due to sleep.

She advised “avoiding large meals and exercise”.

Dr Senn added: “You can also read a book in the evening instead of scrolling on your mobile.

“Cooling down at the end of the day is also a key part in getting our bodies ready for sleep, with the optimal bedroom temperature being around 15.5-19C.”

Finally, ensure that any routine which works for you is one you stick to.

Dr Senn said: “Good sleep hygiene coupled with consistency is the best place to start with your sleep journey for 2022 and will help you get the best rest you can.”

“Do you spend hours on your phone before bed?

“Is your bedroom dark enough and the right temperature? All these behavioural and environmental recommendations are what we call ‘sleep hygiene’ and it’s important to maintain good sleep hygiene in order to promote healthy sleep.”

The sleep expert recommends spending some time “relaxing” before you are due to sleep.

She advised “avoiding large meals and exercise”.

Dr Senn added: “You can also read a book in the evening instead of scrolling on your mobile.

“Cooling down at the end of the day is also a key part in getting our bodies ready for sleep, with the optimal bedroom temperature being around 15.5-19C.”

Finally, ensure that any routine which works for you is one you stick to.

Dr Senn said: “Good sleep hygiene coupled with consistency is the best place to start with your sleep journey for 2022 and will help you get the best rest you can.”

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