Holiday Travel Tips

Proper sleep postures that will help keep you in alignment this holiday season!

With Christmas just a few days away, many of us are packing our bags and heading out of town to spend time with family and friends. Unfortunately, this means sleeping in different beds. I will be the first one to admit that my spare bedroom does not have to most ideal, up to date mattress on the market. For those of us heading to a different bed this holiday season, here are a few tips to help you get the best of your away from home sleep!

On average, adults require about 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. This is the same length of time as an average workday! For this reason, sleeping posture is just as important as your sitting or standing posture. The most important aspects of sleeping posture are your mattress and pillow.

Pillows play a huge part in proper sleep position. If you are a side or back sleeper, using a pillow that is too thin for your neck will cause your neck to be angled to one side for the duration of your sleep. The same goes for a pillow that is too thick for your neck. Ideally, your pillow should support your head, neck and shoulders. When you find the right pillow, your neck will be in alignment with the rest of your spine as you sleep. For those people who are stomach sleepers, when you sleep in this position, your neck is held in a rotated position for hours on end. This can cause tension on your muscles, joints and nerves, leading to things such as neck pain and headaches. If you have no other option when it comes to sleeping position, try to move your pillow to the side so your neck is not completely rotated to 90 degrees.

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If you know your in-laws have not changed the pillows since your significant other moved out of the house, please consider bringing your own pillow to Christmas this year to avoid a ‘kinked’ neck on Boxing Day!

In regards to mattresses, there is not much I can change in terms of the 25-year-old board in your grandmother’s basement. What I can tell you is the proper way to position yourself while sleeping to avoid that ridiculously tight back the next morning. If you are a side sleeper, consider placing a pillow between your knees to decrease the pressure you are putting on your spine. For the back sleepers, placing a pillow under your knees when you go to bed will again decrease the pressure on your low back. Stomach sleepers; placing a small pillow under your pelvis will elevate your pelvis and allow your low back to relax.

I hope these simple tips help you get through the holiday season. If they do not, you know where to come to help alleviate the aches and pains of the holiday season!

Yours in health,

Dr. Rikki MacKenzie