March saw the beginning of national bed month…

and helped remind us all why a good night’s sleep is beneficial for our overall  health.

SleepCouncil-440x440Of course, the right bed should be our number one priority, although the position and conditions in which we sleep can also affect our muscles and physical health.

Is it Time for a New Bed?   If you are not sleeping as well as you did a year ago, your mattress sags in the middle, you wake up with aches and pains that gradually wear off as the day progresses and/or you sleep better when staying away in other beds, this maybe a sign that it is time to change your bed.

Advice on choosing a new mattress may be found from the McTimoney Chiropractic Association and the Sleep Council.

Sleeping Position

Sleeping gives the muscles a chance to rest from daily tension and a good sleep position encourages this.

Sleeping on your back: Your spine is lengthened, the shoulders are relaxed, the rib cage is free to expand and muscles are lengthened and relaxed. A pillow under the knees also relaxes the back muscles.

Sleeping on your front: Stresses the neck and may cause stiffness on waking and misalignments in the vertebrae. If you are going to sleep this way, ensure that your pillow allows you to keep your spine neutral and correctly supported.

sleeping back

sleeping side



Side Sleeping (Foetal Position): This mirrors the recovery position to take undue stresses off the body. A pillow between the knees will prevent the spine and pelvis from twisting.


pillow1                 pillow2

Choose a pillow that allows the neck to be in the neutral position.  Pillows that are too deep or too slim can stress the neck muscles. This can narrow your airway and may lead to snoring and disturbed sleep. If you sleep on your back or front, you will need slimmer pillows than if you sleep on your side.


Your bedroom should be a relaxed, calm environment, well ventilated and without draughts. If you watch television in bed, try to avoid slouching against the pillows creating a banana shape in your spine which stresses your spine and the muscles of your back, neck and shoulders. A specialist pillow or back rest can ensure comfort when sitting in bed.

When Getting Up in the Morning

Spending a couple of minutes to stretch before getting out of bed,  just like cats do can help reduce the risk of back strain.

Cat Stretch – This can be done in bed by kneeling on all fours. Suck your tummy button in and arch your back with your head down – you should feel a stretch in your back.

cat pose

Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.




Child’s pose – Lean back onto your heels and walk your hands out in front of you  with your head down until you feel a stretch in your back.

child poseHold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times



By following these simple tips, you can help avoid back, shoulder and neck pain and get the best from a good night’s rest.