I am sure lots of you went camping this past long weekend and were extremely thankful for a soft comfy bed at home, but what if your mattress and pillow are just as harmful for spinal health?
Choosing a good mattress and pillow can dramatically change the quality of your sleep. First of all, everyone is different so some of the below suggestions may not work for you! However, the rule of thumb is that your mattress should be flexible enough to adapt to your body’s shape but firm enough to support your spine (usually a medium-firm mattress). If you share your bed, look for a mattress that provides support to each of you individually. Your pillow choice is equally important because it helps keep your head and neck in line with your spine. Check out a variety of pillows in the store to find one that works best for you. Your chiropractor is also a good resource to determine what characteristics your ideal pillow should have.
What about camping? You can’t exactly lug your mattress and special pillow with you into the wilderness. A sleeping “foamy” is going to be your best bet because they are typically light, portable, and will be the most durable. Air mattresses are okay but they may pop in the middle of the night and you end up sleeping on the ground anyway. If you don’t have your favorite pillow with you try keeping your neck in a neutral position. If you sleep on your back, your neck shouldn’t be bent backwards or upwards. If you sleep on your side your neck should not be bent sideways towards the ground or up in the air. And whatever you do, don’t sleep on your stomach! In order to breathe you have to turn your head to the side out of neutral position resulting in stiffness in the morning.
Even if it’s just a regular night in your own bed or a weekend in the wilderness you know your chiropractor is available to help with your stiff neck or sore back and advise on proper sleeping habits.