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  • Dr. Liz Homan

High Quality Sleep

Last week I shared with you all about sleep and mainly focused on how much sleep we should get! Check that post out here! SLEEP (

This week I want to talk to you about different ways to ensure that you are getting high quality sleep so that the time that you have to sleep is most productive!

First, I want to talk about your bedtime routine! You most likely have a system in place with your kids to help them calm down, but do you have a similar process for yourself? If not, I would encourage you to try creating a routine and seeing how it works for you! This might include some light reading, glancing through a fun magazine, talking about the day with your spouse, doing some journaling, or something else! One big thing that I noticed is to try to limit screen time right before bed to allow your brain to calm down and for your eyes to get ready for sleep. I would love to hear what you add into your night routine and if you notice any changes once implementing it!

So now you are in bed and trying to fall asleep! Well, there are two very important things that you use while sleeping and I want to talk about both of them right now! This is your mattress and your pillow! Don’t get me wrong, I love blankets as well, but those are not as impactful in your rest 😉

So, let’s talk about your mattress first! Mattresses are meant to support your body in a uniform way from head to toe! If there are gaps between a part of your body and the mattress you are not getting the full support that you need! Some common areas for gaps include between your waist and the mattress. Some mattress can also be too firm leading to uncomfortable pressure on the shoulder, hips and back. These are key things to pay attention to when assessing the comfort of your mattress!

You also need to be aware that as your body and lifestyle change, you may need to change your mattress to match these changes! Awhile back I talked about sleep positions during pregnancy and here is that post for you to review [How Should You Sleep While Pregnant? (]. But beyond that, it has been found that your mattress should be replaced every five to eight years and the clearest sign that it is time for a new mattress is when you wake up with stiffness or pain in your low back, hips, arms or legs!

When it is time to get a new mattress, here are a few key things to look at:

  • Is it designed to conform to the natural curves of the spine and to keep the spine in alignment when lying down?

  • Does it distribute pressure evenly across the body to help circulation, decrease body movements and enhance sleep quality?

  • How does it minimizes the transfer of movement form one sleeping partner to the other?

In addition to your mattress, your pillow plays a key role in your sleeping comfort and maintaining healthy spinal positioning during sleep! Here are a few things to consider when looking into pillows:

  • The thickness of your pillow should be determined by how you sleep! If you sleep on your side, it should be as thick as required to cover the distance between your head and when your shoulder touches the mattress. If you sleep on your back, it should be as thin as the space between your head and where your back touches the mattress.

  • Choose materials that are most comfortable for you! This could be memory foam or feather for example!

  • Avoid pillows that are so thick or thin that they angle your head and neck away from your body! This is not the point of a pillow!

  • You have only one head so you need to have only one pillow!

  • If you find your sleeping with one hand or your arm under your pillow, you are not getting the support you need to keep your spine in line and your body is working to self-correct while you are sleeping!

So, by making sure that you prepare yourself for bed and then having a supportive mattress and pillow, you can optimize the time that you have for sleep so that you can feel as well rested as possible to handle the next fun, adventurous, wild day with your family!

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