This week marks National Sleep Foundation’s annual Sleep Awareness Week. Throughout the week, tips and facts are provided to educate the public and create awareness around the importance of sleep. It is no secret that lack of sleep brings about negative effects such as crankiness, lack of focus, and grogginess but did you know sleep deprivation increases your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and stroke? The following infographic can help you determine your sleep needs, as well as provide tips and insight into ways you can sleep better at night:
More than 60% of American adults sleep with a significant other, or at least they try to. While studies suggest that sleeping together has positive benefits on one’s health, it also brings about issues with one’s quality of sleep. Tossing and turning, temperature control, snoring, and distractions can all have negative affects on your sleep quality and health. If sleeping with your significant other is a struggle, you are not alone.
Follow these 8 tips to help the two of you sleep better together:
- Invest in the best mattress for both of you. Try out a number of mattress options, ideally with an expert, to find the perfect comfort level and support for the both of you. A memory foam mattress can be a good option for couples, as it diminishes the effects of tossing and turning and does not transfer motion.
- Find the perfect pillow and replace it regularly. Along with your mattress, your pillow is key to helping you fall asleep and stay asleep. Find a pillow that works for your sleeping style and replace it every two to three years. Over time, pillows change shape and collect enough bacteria, mold and dust mites to make it unhealthy.
- Minimize disruptions. Use heavy curtains or shades, cover electronics, or try using a sleep mask to cover your eyes and keep distracting lights at bay. Turn phones off or on silent and if possible, keep the pets and the kids out of bed.
- Control the temperature. Often times, couples have different temperature preferences. To address this, have your own blankets on the bed or use a dual-zone mattress pad, like the Chilipad, which allows each of you to heat and cool your side of the bed to your preferred temperature.
- Stagger bedtimes. If you have come to the conclusion that your partner keeps you from falling asleep due to snoring or tossing and turning, try going to sleep first. They can join you once you have fallen into a deep sleep.
- Silence is best. Consider wearing earplugs to quiet snoring and other outside noises. If you and your partner wake up at different times, look into a vibrating alarm clock that you can place in your pillow so it does not disturb your partner when it’s time to wake up.
- Make sleep a priority. Since the quality of sleep affects mental and physical health, it is important to make adequate sleep a top priority.
- Relax. Sometimes it is hard to disconnect, relax, and be present in the moment. At the end of the day, this is your time to do this and to reconnect with your partner.
Traveling can be hard on your muscles, joints, and nerves. Prolonged sitting puts stress on the spine and stiffens muscles in the back and legs and lugging heavy suitcases puts you at risk for low back injuries.
These tips can help you reduce pain and stress while traveling:
- Pack Light: Instead of packing one large, heavy suitcase, pack 2 smaller bags. This will make lifting bags into and out of the trunk of your car or overhead bins, and off of baggage carousels much easier.
- Lift luggage in stages: Move slowly and in stages when lifting luggage into the overhead bin. In separate motions, start by lifting the bag to the armrest of the seat, then to the top of the seatback, and finally up and into the bin. Remember to reverse this pattern when you remove your luggage.
- When lifting, never twist: Pivot your feet so that your entire body moves instead of only twisting your back. Twisting is a common cause of lower back injuries. If possible, avoid lifting all together by asking for help from a flight attendant.
- Relief with ice and heat: Bring a Ziploc bag and ask a flight attendant for some ice or stow a cold pack in your carry on. Place between your lower back and your seat for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation caused by lower back pain. A heatable self-massage ball such as Dr. Cohen’s Acuball Kit can provide post-travel relief.
- Move Around: Change positions occasionally when seated to help avoid leg cramps and improve circulation. Massaging your legs and calves and doing shoulder rolls will also help. Consult your doctor for a few safe and easy hip and hamstring stretches you can do while traveling. During long flights and if possible, try to get up and walk about the cabin to stimulate blood flow and help prevent blood clots.
- Get aisle seat: An aisle seat allows you to easily get into and out of your seat. This makes it easier for you to move about the cabin.
- Sit with support: Airline seats are often worn out with poor lumbar support. Place a small rolled-up blanket or use an inflatable back cushion, like a Self-Inflating Back Rest, to find proper lumbar support during flight. Using a U-Shaped Travel Pillow will also provide proper support.
- Drink water: Be sure to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water as it helps cushion and lubricate joints and muscles.
Spend this Valentine’s Day and President’s Day Weekend free of pain and stress. Whether looking for a gift for a loved one or shopping for yourself, Relax The Back wants to make everyone’s weekend a little more comfortable. From Friday through Monday (2/14-2/17), enjoy 15% off nearly everything (some exclusions apply), plus free white glove delivery on purchases of $1,000 or more.
In addition to our 15% off deal, save up to $300 during our Tempur-Pedic Closeout Event, plus 0% interest for five years, taking place now through March 2nd.
Upper back pain may not be the most common spinal disorder but when it occurs it can still cause substantial pain and discomfort. This pain can be caused through strain, poor posture, or sudden injury. Most complaints come from those who work at computers most of the day. Whatever the cause of pain, doing exercises such as these can help ease and prevent pain and discomfort:
Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more pain relief tips or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained associates who can offer recommendations tailored to your physical needs and abilities.
Whether a dull ache or a sharp stab, many of us will experience some form of neck pain sooner or later. Solutions for relieving pain aren’t always the most straightforward, with some people finding relief quickly and others dealing with nagging pain for longer periods of time. Below we debunk some of the more common neck pain and treatment myths.
Myth: The best way to deal with neck pain is with rest
Truth: While short periods of rest can help ease acute pain of the neck or back, doctors generally do not advise more than one to two days of bed rest. On the contrary, general inactivity and rest can cause more pain and allow for an unhealthy cycle of pain/inactivity/more pain/more inactivity to occur. Physicians recommend for most conditions a long-term rehabilitation program consisting of physical therapy and exercise.
Myth: Pain is inevitable so I should just tough it out
Truth: Chronic neck and back pain (pain lasting more than 2-3 months) is very debilitating and can interfere with one’s ability to complete daily activities. If this is the case, treatment for pain must be sought out right away. Allowing the pain to worsen and go untreated can impede the healing and rehabilitation process by interfering with exercise. There is also a risk of increased psychological distress such as depression, stress, and sleeplessness.
Myth: The spine is easily injured due to sensitive nerves
Truth: Muscles, tendons, and ligaments that surround the spine provide a great deal of support, flexibility and strength. Smoking, lack of sleep or nutrition, and other generally unhealthy factors along with poor posture and body mechanics (ex. Improper lifting techniques) can harm the spine. Proper conditioning such as stretching, aerobic exercises, and strengthening are required in keeping the spine healthy and injury-free. Proper ergonomics and neck supports, such as Dr. Riter’s Real-EaSE Neck Support, can help keep neck pain at bay.
Myth: The pain must all be in my head since the doctor found nothing wrong
Truth: Regardless of a physician finding the anatomical cause of pain, pain is always real. It is especially important to proactively seek treatment for pain if one is suffering for more than 2-3 months. It is important to look at all options, , including nonsurgical treatment options, when searching for ways to help alleviate pain.
Experiencing back pain during pregnancy is not uncommon for most women; between 50% and 80% experience some form of pain. Hormonal changes affect the joints and relax the ligaments in your pelvis, your center of gravity changes, and weight gains associated with a growing baby adds stress to your spine and lower back.
From proper posture to staying as active as possible to heat therapy, consider the following ways to help relieve your back pain:
- Stay as active as possible with regular stretching and exercise routines
- Practice proper posture at all times when standing and sitting
- When sleeping, use a pillow, like the Dreamweaver By Snoozerpedic Body Pillow, to put support where you need it most
- Wear comfortable shoes – avoid high heels
- Use a lumbar support cushion while seated
- Only with your doctor’s consent, take Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Heat therapy to ease muscle tension, spasms, and pain
- Cold therapy to reduce inflammation
It is important to note that before you begin any type of back pain treatment or exercise, you should speak with your doctor. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more pain relief solutions. Or visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with one of our trained specialists.
If last year was spent dealing with pains, aches, and discomforts, vow to make this year a healthier, pain-free year with these 6 resolutions.
- Resolve to listen to your body: No one knows your body or your discomforts more than you do. Be sure to listen to your body when it is giving you signs – take a break, change your eating or exercises habits, or make adjustments to your workspace or schedule.
- Resolve to be active: Maintaining a regular workout routine will not only help you feel more energized and productive throughout the day, it will also help prevent future injuries. There are different exercises that can be done to help different parts of the back and spine. While cardio aids in losing weight that would otherwise drag down tendons, muscles, and ligaments in the lower back, a strong core will help support and protect the spine.
- Resolve to make quality sleep a priority: Make sure you have a proper mattress and pillow to allow for a comfortable night’s rest as well as adequate support of the muscles and ligaments that support the spine. The positive effects of quality sleep include tissue repair and healing, reduced recovery time for injuries and improvements in mood and personal performance, to name a few.
- Resolve to evaluate your workspace: For desk job workers, back, neck, and shoulder pain may be caused by a poor ergonomic workstation. Resolve to put an end to these aches and pains by setting up your workstation accordingly. Follow this visual guide to office ergonomics to maximize comfort, movement, and productivity.
- Resolve to stretch: There are many benefits of daily stretching. This allows for flexibility in spinal muscles, helping ensure good posture and proper/normal alignment. Increased range of motion and flexibility help to prevent injuries from occurring. Stretching also relieves muscle tension, reduces fatigue and increases blood flow.
- Resolve to drink more water: Staying hydrated not only helps with digestion and concentration but it is also very important for muscle recovery, spinal health and injury prevention. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces throughout the day. For example, if you weigh 130 lbs. aim to drink at least 65 oz. per day.
This holiday season, Relax The Back wanted to give our community gifts that keep on giving. Over a two and a half week period, we presented seven gifts that relieve tension and pain. Seven lucky winners have been chosen to receive these gifts of comfort that are sure to bring relief and relaxation.
Congratulations to the following Relax The Back community members:
- Kayla W., Foam Roller
- Miguel E.,Theracane
- Melissa Y., Self-Inflating Back Rest
- Shawn P., Slatted Footrest
- Jeremy B., Lumbar Extender Plus
- Amy C., Snoozer Body Pillow
- Natalie S., Kneading Massage Cushion
Thank you to all who participated. We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday; free from pain and stress!
While the holiday season brings time off of work, it can also bring about aches and pains due to overexertion. All of the hustle and bustle can contribute to unwelcome muscle fatigue and pain. Here are some simple tips to help you prevent pain during the holidays, so you can truly enjoy your time with friends and family:
- Exercise: Don’t forgo your workout routine for the holidays. Take advantage of your time off to try a new exercise program or put in some extra time at the gym. Frequently performing gentle exercises like these low back exercises or foam roller exercises can also help keep muscles loose and prevent pain from happening.
- Maintain a healthy diet and stay hydrated: If you’re attending holiday parties, know your nutritional needs and eat in moderation. Protein, fruits and vegetables provide nutrients for effective healing of soft tissue and muscles. Whereas excessive sugar can turn into fat, which hinders the healing process. Also be sure to always stay hydrated. Chronic muscle spasms and inflammation can be triggered by dehydration.
- Adequate Sleep: Even when it seems like you have a never ending “to-do” list, making sure you get enough sleep should be a priority. Insufficient sleep can cause aches and pains to worsen over time.
- Stress less: The holiday rush often times leads to feelings of stress and anxiety. Follow these tips to help reduce stress so you can relax and enjoy the holiday season.