A good night’s sleep is essential for good health. You can read about the many benefits of sleep here. However, there are also many problems associated with sleep that can affect the quality of your shut-eye. Part one of our Common Sleep Problems series considers the influence of bodily aches and technology on sleep.

 

 

Common sleep problemsShoulder pain

If you find that you wake up with shoulder pain, try to avoid sleeping on your side. Especially avoid sleeping on the shoulder that is in pain.

 

How to fix it

Sleep on your back with a thin pillow under your head to keep your shoulders from taking the strain. You can also hug a pillow that is placed on your stomach to ensure that your shoulders are in a correct and stable position.

If you do not feel comfortable sleeping on your back, try to sleep on the side that is not in pain. Place a pillow between your knees and raise your legs slightly up to your chest. Do not sleep with your hand under your head or pillow as this causes an unnatural position.

 

 

Common sleep problemsBack pain

It is best to maintain the normal curves of your spine to reduce tension in your tendons. If your mattress is overly soft, it would be best to replace it to avoid further back problems.

 

How to fix it

Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees as this helps to restore your spine’s natural curve. You can place a rolled towel under your lower back for additional support.

Sleeping in the foetal position with a small pillow between your knees is best if you prefer to sleep on your side.

 

 

Neck painCommon sleep problems

It is important to support your neck while you sleep. Even more so if you are suffering from neck pain. If you find that you wake up with neck pain, use the methods below to correct it.

 

How to fix it

Sleep with a pillow under your head as well as a pillow under each arm. People who have neck problems should choose their pillows carefully – roll or orthopaedic pillows are best.

If you prefer to sleep on your side, your pillow should not be too high. An ideal pillow should be thicker than 15cm. Pillows should be at the same height as your shoulder to keep your neck in the correct position.

If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, you should use the thinnest pillow you can find. However, it is not advised to sleep in this position all night as it puts strain on your neck.

 

 

Are you unable to fall asleep? 

The light that is emitted from computer screens, mobile phones, or tablets may prevent you from drifting off to sleep. In addition, caffeine may prevent you from falling asleep.

 

How to fix it

Switch off your electronics a couple of hours before you go to bed. In addition, avoid consuming caffeine at least 6 hours before going to bed. This includes coffee, energy drinks, soda, black tea, as well as chocolate. Finally, exercise helps you to fall asleep faster.

 

The second part of our series provides some practical advice to fix common sleep problems.