The Gift of Sleep This Year - Breakaway Physical Therapy
Shaina Clemons Health Tips

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The Gift of Sleep This Year


This may sound silly because most people aim to always have the gift of sleep each and every night. A restful night’s sleep is one of the best things for our body, our health and wellness to be able to be wake up ready to tackle the next day. Hitting the ground running can’t happen when you have not gotten a good night’s sleep, can it?!

  • Are aches and pains preventing you from sleeping?!
  • Does your neck hurt, and are you tossing and turning to get in the best position before you can finally fall asleep?
  • Is your back aching in pain when laying on your back and preventing you from falling asleep?
  • Are your hips screaming in pain when laying on your sides?
  • Do you find yourself tossing and turning to your stomach, but then waking to find that was not the best position for your spine because you are hurting?
  • Do you have a great pillow to support your head and neck each night so that you wake in the morning without neck pain?

Sleep is essential for the body to be well rested and for our body to optimally function each day! Everyone seems to need a different amount of sleep for their body to function BEST!

How much sleep should I get each night, you are probably wondering?

Babies sleep the most and if you think back to having kids, it seems like all they do is sleep in those first few months. By the time they get to about 4 months of age and up until around 12 months of age, their body needs about 12-16 hours of sleep (including naps).

  • From 1-2 years old that number decreases to 11-14 hours of sleep, also including naptime.
  • From 3-5 years old, the body needs 10-13 hours of sleep with naps included.
  • By age 6 and up until 12 years old, the body needs 9-12 hours of sleep.
  • From 13-18 years old, the body needs 8-10 hours of sleep each night
  • By the time we are an adult, we need an average of 7+ hours of sleep each night.

Ok so now you know about how much sleep your body needs each night to function best the next day, but then what is the BEST position for your body to sleep in?! This can be specific to you and what you may have going on with your body and health, but here are some tips about sleeping in each position

Back Sleepers

Make sure that you put a pillow (or bolster) under your knees to support your spine and make sure that your back is not strained all night while sleeping.

Side Sleepers

You will need a pillow between your ankles and knees to best support your spine throughout the night.

They make awesome knee pillows that have loose straps to put around your legs so that the pillow will stay with you if you shift from side to side during the night.

Stomach Sleepers

When the neck is twisted, that will twist the entire spine ALL night long. If you have to sleep on your stomach, I recommend putting a pillow under your hips to keep your pelvis in a neutral position.

Also check out prone pillows that have a face-whole (like what you would use during a massage OR physical therapy) to keep your head in a neutral alignment.

Now that you know how to best support your body in each position, next up…what is the best pillow for your neck to be supported and your entire spine?

Well through all the years of searching for the best pillows out there, I have landed on Pillowise Pillows!

They are proven to support your neck and the natural curve that our spine should have. AND we strive to make sure that you LOVE your pillow with a money back guarantee!

To be fit for a Pillowise Pillow, you simply need to stop by an office that is trained to be able to make sure that you are recommended the best fit (or color) pillow for your spine. Breakaway Physical Therapy has been helping people find the best pillow for years now and we are more than happy to help you be measured for your best night’s sleep.

The memory foam is extremely supportive for your neck and they even have travel size versions so that your neck and spine are supported when you are on vacation.

This year Pillowise also came out with a line of pillows for kids, Pillowise Junior. What better time in life is there to support the spine than while it’s growing and changing each day?! This is even more important with the rise of our kids using electronics at home AND in school.

Kids and adults can easily develop changes in their posture from using a computer, cell phone or gaming system too much. Our shoulder become rounded, our neck starts to push forwards and before you know it, our posture becomes quite hunched over! If you don’t make a change in your posture, it can eventually be difficult to stand up straight even when you are trying.

Pillowise Pillows can help to reverse tech neck and make sure that our children and US as adults are helping our spine be in the BEST position each night.

Now we get to mattress recommendations, and this is where it gest tricky. There is not ONE mattress that is best for all, and you honestly have to figure out what your body needs in terms of firmness or softness.

BUT a mattress should be replaced about every 5-10 years. Now this is a broad range of time, but you will start to notice changes in your mattress or how your body feels after sleeping that will tell you when you need to replace your mattress. Here are some factors to consider when considering a new mattress:

  • Sleeper size and weight - Heavier sleepers may notice a sag in the mattress sooner.
  • Kids and pets add weight to the mattress and wears it down faster. Make sure to use a good quality mattress pad protector if you have pets and kids sleeping on your bed (even adults should use one too as everyone gets sick)
  • Care for the mattress in terms of recommendations for rotating or flipping the mattress every 3 months to keep it in the best shape.
  • Quality of the mattress will dictate how long it will last. What is the mattress made of in terms of material? This will dictate durability for sure.
  • Are you noticing that your body feels better when you stay at a hotel or a friend’s house sleeping on another mattress? This can indicate that YOUR mattress is wearing down and needs to be replaced.

Mattresses are difficult to buy as even if you lay on them in the store, the length of time is not equal to the length of time that you will then sleep on it at home. By best advice is to find a mattress that you like AND has an excellent return policy.

There are so many mattresses out there that you can return if you are not happy with it after 3 months, 6 months or an even longer amount of time for a minimal to no fee. This is your best option as it takes time for your body to adjust to a new mattress and that length of time will allow you to decide if it’s the right fit. Just set the date on your calendar as a reminder and commit to trying it out to see if it best supports your spine. And if it doesn’t, then return it and start again from the beginning!

How Should I Feel in the Morning?

With the ideal sleeping position, supportive pillow and best mattress for you…you should wake up feeling amazing in the morning. You should not be waking up with aches and pains to start your day. You should feel well rested, energetic and ready to bounce out of bed to take charge of your day!

What should I do if I still wake up in pain in the morning after making all these changes?

If you have made all these changes and shifts to help support your body, BUT are still waking up in pain…then you need to talk with a movement and muscle experts, a physical therapist. We spend time with our patient figuring out other changes can be made to make sure that you have the best night of sleep for your health and wellness.

Are you unsure what we can do to help? Give us a call at 410-721-6333 to set-up a FREE Breakthrough visit or consultation where you will sit down with a movement expert to discuss what is going on with your body. Neck pain, back aches, knee pain, first step pain along your foot and MORE are able to be changed working with us!

Don’t wait until your body is screaming in pain and you are not sleeping at all to make a change, call us today and we can’t wait to help you have your best night of sleep to be able to enjoy your best days!

Shaina Clemons

Shaina Clemons

Shaina is the founder and owner of Breakaway Physical Therapy.  She received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland Baltimore, along with a Bachelor's degree from Towson University.   Shaina is an Ironman triathlete, with a love of all sports. Exercise is her passion, which plays an important role in both her personal and professional life.  In her free time, Shaina enjoys spending time with her husband and three young children.  Shaina's love of snowboarding led her to her career choice many years ago. 
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