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"I think I am sleeping wrong"

I get asked about sleep positions all of the time. People wake up with some level of discomfort and attribute the discomfort to their sleep position, their mattress, their pillow, etc. The thing about sleep is, we can't really control it because we are, well, asleep! While it could be poor mattress support or an ill-fitting pillow, for the most part a semifirm mattress and basic pillow (not too flat, not too high) are all we need if we are talking about common musculoskeletal aches and pains (pregnancy, circulation or trouble with breathing or reflux are different matters, and not being addressed by this blog). But if a stiff shoulder, low back ache, or muscle cramp is your affliction, it probably has more to do with a particular condition, posture, habit or movement that you have created during the DAY, rather than at night. Our semiconscious self is pretty good at telling our bodies to roll over, move, or wake up when there is some compression or pain happening, or if there is any bodily function that demands attention during the sleep cycle. Our body and our mind make up a wonderful piece of machinery with an intricate internal communication system, so we will inadvertently roll and re-place ourselves without our thinking-mind directing us to do so. So while we may go to bed properly fluffed, propped, and barricaded into what we think is our "ideal" sleeping shape, we will likely end up, in the morning, in a tangled mess of some other design, despite our best efforts to keep ourselves more contained.

What can help, then? A proper sleep schedule, a relaxing pre-bedtime routine, a few specific, restful stretches before retiring as taught to us by our favorite PT (wink wink!), and perhaps a few intentional activating movements while still in bed the next morning before trying to jump out and tackle the oncoming day.

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