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Catch Part One Here

Following the last blog on sleep, I hope most of you have been getting plenty of rest. Not to beat a dead horse, but sleep is so vital to so many bodily processes that you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not getting adequate rest. This month, I’d like to extend the subject by discussing three points on which I get questioned regularly: mattresses, pillows, and proper sleep positions.


palm desert chiropractorThe most common question regarding mattresses is how often we should replace ours. If you own a standard spring mattress, then you’ll want to start thinking about purchasing a new one after five years. Whether or not you’ll need to get one this soon depends on a few factors. First is the quality of your current mattress. Cheapo mattresses have shorter shelf lives. It’s the same with futons. If you have a cheap mattress, replace it every two years. Second, how much do you weigh? The more force on the mattress, the quicker it will wear down. And finally, how much action does that mattress see? Have the kids been using it as a trampoline? Do you use it as a trampoline? The more stress the mattress withstands, the sooner it needs replacing.

If you’ve had your mattress for seven years, you’ll want to start researching and perhaps buy a new one soon. If you’ve had your mattress for ten-plus years, then time is up. But don’t fret – nothing feels better than a brand-spanking-new mattress.

People also ask, “Which mattress is best?” Since everybody is different, what is best for you depends on your tastes. Some people prefer firm bedding, while others like soft ones. Some people love spring mattresses; others prefer memory foam. I love the Tempur-Pedic TM memory foam mattress. But you’ll have to check for yourself. The reality is that not everybody likes Tempur-Pedic. I once recommended this mattress to a long-time client, and he hated it. “Too this, too that,” he complained…so you’ll have to try it out for yourself to see if you like it. Many mattress stores carry them, and they will gladly let you bounce around on one. Also, Tempur-Pedic TM stands by its product, so if you purchase one but find that you don’t like it, you have 90 days to return it – all you do is pay the shipping. You have to love that.

A final tip on mattresses: No matter how old your current mattress is, you’ve got to rotate and flip it every six months or so. What this means is that you must rotate the mattress so that the top left corner becomes the bottom right corner (head becomes feet) and flip it over so that the underside is now the topside, which is the surface you sleep on (that original corner now becomes bottom left underside). You have to do this with spring mattresses so that the wear and tear they endure balances out so you do not create permanent indentations. You do not need to flip or rotate the Tempur-Pedic TM, though. It simply will not indent. But in the rare chance it does, then Tempur-Pedic TM comes with a 10-year warranty, so they will replace it if necessary.

palm springs chiropractor


What about pillows, then? The same principle applies to pillows: it is simply a matter of taste. Some people prefer firm pillows, others soft ones; some like them flat (weird, I know, but that’s how I like them), and others fluffy. You’ve got to find what’s right for you. Many of my patients love the cervical pillows – you know, the ones with the hump on one end. However, I know plenty of people who hate those humpty-bumps. So, don’t get too adventurous when it comes to your pillows; stick with the tried and true. Make sure your pillow isn’t flaccid like a dead fish. Follow the same timeline as you would for replacing your mattress, and you will probably be fine.

Sleeping on Your Back, Side, or Stomach – Which is Best?

coachella valley chiropracticSome experts say it is best to sleep on your side, but not me. While there is some validity to the concept, stomach or back sleepers know how difficult it is to break their routine. All I can say is that if you can train yourself to change your sleep position – then great, do it! But if you’ve tried and have been unsuccessful, don’t worry: people sleep in the positions most comfortable to them. If it were not comfortable, you would not sleep that way. My daughter slept primarily on her stomach when she was under a year old. That more than likely felt best to her. Now, she sleeps on her back and side.

If you wake up with back pain, it’s unlikely to be your sleep position. Something more might be happening, like a subluxation (fixated spinal joint) or a tight hip flexor muscle. These dysfunctions will make any positions uncomfortable. A better solution is to visit a chiropractor, have them adjust your spine, and correct any underlying muscle dysfunction. That way, you will be able to sleep in whatever position suits you.

You now have enough information to ensure that every night is restful. Have fun and happy zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…………….

– April 3, 2007