A Good Night’s Sleep with Pillows and Wedges
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most neglected elements of health care. Health care professionals rate sleep along with exercise and nutrition as being extremely important factors for healthy living. Our current culture and lifestyles often put sleep on the back burner; it is estimated that in the last century, Americans have reduced daily hours of sleep by 20%, and that at any given time, more than half of us are experiencing some form of sleep disturbance.
Let’s start by talking a little about a very common ailment that can interrupt one’s sleep. That ailment is a pinched nerve in the neck which can cause a myriad of symptoms that prevents a good night sleep. A pinched nerve in the neck can be responsible for symptoms, such as; stiff neck, neck pain, neck soreness or just a feeling of general discomfort in the neck and spine region, all of which can often result in sleeplessness. Careway Wellness Center carries cervical pillows that are used to position the neck during sleep so that pressure is relieved from the nerve endings. Therefore, as you can see, a ready solution to discomfort during sleep may be as simple as purchasing a cervical pillow. We strongly suggest viewing the slide show at the bottom of the page to see Careway’s vast selection of pillows that have the potential of supplying you with a good night’s sleep.
Understanding the sleep process:
We at Careway would like to briefly explain the mechanism of sleep, which may help you better understand more about the sleep process: Sleep consists of several stages. There are four stages of quiet sleep, and a more active stage called REM, or rapid eye movement sleep. REM sleep is the time of dreaming. Quiet sleep is the deepest time of sleep, and brain waves are larger and slower during this time, while during REM sleep brain waves are close to that of waking. Normally we spend about 75% of our time in quiet sleep, and 25% in REM sleep per night, usually cycling 4 or 5 times between REM and quiet sleep. If we are awakened during REM sleep (i.e. while dreaming) we may wake up faster, while it may take longer and be more difficult to wake up if we awaken during quiet, deep sleep.
If we are getting enough sleep, we should feel alert and wide-awake all day long. If you feel drowsy after lunch, or tend to fall asleep watching TV or reading, you are probably not getting enough sleep. Loss of sleep affects your mood, mental functions such as memory and comprehension, and reaction time. More serious effects may include micro-sleeps, where you fall asleep momentarily, which can obviously be very dangerous while driving or operating machinery. Most people need an average of six to nine hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep results in a “sleep debt”, which accumulates over time, so that each progressive day we are deprived of sleep, the affects become more aggravated.
Besides allowing proper time for sleep every day, measures that improve our ability to sleep normally include keeping a regular bedtime, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, and having a proper, comfortable sleep surface. Having back or neck discomfort due to improper support can affect our ability to fall into deep and REM sleep.
Solutions to sleeplessness:
There are special pillows and wedges that provide the appropriate support to the head, neck, and body so as to avoid sleep interruption and allow us to get a good night’s sleep. One of the most effective of these are those containing “memory” foam, which conforms to your individual body’s contours to provide complete support. These are sometimes known as “Swedish” mattresses or pillows.
A “bed wedge” could also be a solution to a good night’s sleep. Bed wedges provide the support and comfort one might need to adjust the body when lying down. Bed wedges come in different shapes and sizes, which can offer you extra support where you need it most. With bed wedges or a back wedge pillow, you can lie back in a position that reduces excessive pressure on your spine, which in turn will improve circulation and relieve muscle tension. Heartburn and acid reflux sufferers have also reported increased comfort while using bed wedges. If you have pain or discomfort in your knees, a bed wedge at the foot of the bed allows you to raise your legs, which in turn may allow you to get a good night’s sleep.
Careway Wellness Center carries an extensive line of Swedish foam support products. As always, our knowledgeable, caring staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have about pillows and wedges.