I Just Need A Good Night’s Sleep!

I Just Need A Good Night’s Sleep!

Quite often as we age, sleep becomes elusive.  I can’t offer a lot of advice if your wheels just keep turning, but if pain and discomfort are the issues, here are some things you might try:

1.  Heartburn:  To alleviate the discomfort of heartburn while you’re sleeping, try elevating the head of the bed to create an incline.  (You can also use a bed wedge). Just putting extra pillows under your head isn’t useful because it doesn’t put the stomach on an incline, which is what helps the stomach acid (the real culprit) stay down in the stomach.

Some people also believe that sleeping on your left side can provide relief.

2.  Neck Pain:  Generally speaking, the best sleeping positions for neck pain are on the back or side because they keep the head, neck, and spine aligned with the body.  Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach because this position usually requires that the neck be twisted to the side.

3.  Shoulder Pain:  Try sleeping on your back with a small pillow under the painful shoulder.  You can also try sleeping on the “good” shoulder.

4.  Hip Pain:  Again, try sleeping on the “good” side with your knees bent.

5.  Knee Pain:  Keeping the knee slightly bent, sleep on your side or back.

6.  General Back Pain:  It’s usually best to sleep on your side or back.

Here are some additional tips that address your style of sleeping:

1.  Side Sleepers:  Use enough pillows under your head to keep the spine aligned from your neck to your body.  Adding an additional pillow between the knees or lower legs can also help to keep the hips and pelvis aligned with the spine.

2.  Back Sleepers:  Don’t use too many pillows under your head -you don’t want it bent forward.  You might also try adding a pillow under your knees to keep your lower back in a neutral position.

3.  Stomach Sleepers:  People who are much smarter than yours truly frown upon stomach sleeping because it’s hard on your back.  However, if this is your preferred position use a thin pillow under your head (or no pillow at all).  You might also place a thin pillow under your pelvis or stomach and bring one leg to the side (slightly bent) and put a pillow under this knee.

Whatever sleep issues you might be having, we all know that sleep is important to everyone, but it can be especially challenging to older adults.


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