How Proper head and Neck Alignment Can Improve Your REM Sleep Quality
Have you ever woken up with a stiff neck or a headache? It's a common problem that many people experience. You may have attributed it to sleeping in the wrong position, but improper sleep alignment can also be a major contributing factor. When it comes to neck and head pain, proper REM sleep can make a huge difference. The alignment of your head, neck and spine while sleeping is essential for ensuring that you get the restful sleep you need. With the right alignment, you can reduce neck and head pain and wake up feeling more refreshed.
What is REM sleep?
Although you may have heard the term REM sleep, many people don't really know what it is or why it's important for the health of the body and mind. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, and during REM sleep our brain activity is at its highest. It's during this stage of sleep that our bodies produce hormones and repairs our muscles, ligaments, and bones. What's most important about REM sleep is that it's when the majority of our dreams occur. We're most likely to remember our dreams during this stage of sleep.
What is proper head and neck alignment?
During REM sleep, your head, neck, and spine should be aligned in a neutral position. If your head and neck are twisted, they'll experience a lot of discomfort while you're sleeping. This discomfort is known as neck pain. Excessive twisting and/or movement in your head, neck, and/or shoulders during sleep is also known as Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). Both neck and/or head pain and RLS can be a sign of improper sleep alignment.
How does proper head and neck alignment affect REM sleep quality?
The health of your muscles, ligaments, and bones while you're asleep is essential to your overall physical and mental well-being. When your head and neck are aligned in a neutral position, you can reduce neck and/or head pain and improve the quality of your REM sleep. This is because proper alignment will allow your muscles to relax, allowing for a deeper, more restful sleep. If you have neck pain, your brain might not receive the signal that it needs to relax. This can cause neck pain, headaches, and/or dizziness during the day. When your head, neck, and/or shoulders are not aligned in a neutral position, they'll experience a great deal of pain and/or discomfort when attempting to fall asleep.
Benefits of proper head and neck alignment during sleep
- Better sleep posture - Better posture is important for reducing neck pain and enhancing the quality of your REM sleep. You can maximize the benefits of proper head and neck alignment by lying on your back with your arms by your side. If you find that your neck or head is too stiff to comfortably lie on your back, you can roll onto your side. - Enhanced blood flow to the brain - Proper alignment will allow for better blood flow to your brain. This will increase your cognitive function and enhance your mood. - Reduced muscle spasms - If you experience excessive muscle spasms or RLS while you're sleeping, they'll be less likely while in a proper head and neck alignment. - Better immunity - Your immune system is directly impacted by the amount of rest it gets. When you're sleep-deprived, your immune function is negatively impacted. This can lead to increased chances of catching a cold or flu during the season. Sleep deprivation can cause testosterone levels to drop. - Greater feelings of satiety - Sleep is important for regulating your appetite hormone levels. This can help with weight loss.
Tips for improving head and neck alignment
- Make sure to get your recommended amount of sleep - Make sure to get enough sleep to reap the benefits of REM sleep. Your amount will be affected by your age, sex, and lifestyle. The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting between 7-9 hours of sleep per night for healthy individuals. - Get enough exercise - When you exercise regularly, you'll be more energetic and alert during the day. This will help you get the recommended amount of sleep at night. Exercise can also be helpful for people who struggle with insomnia. - Avoid drinking caffeine past 5 pm - Caffeine is a stimulant that can disrupt your sleep. While it's found in many foods, drinks, and medicines, beware of overindulging in caffeinated drinks like soda, tea, coffee, etc. past 5 pm. - Drink water before bed - Your body needs water to stay hydrated while you sleep. If you don't drink water before bed, your body will produce more cortisol, a hormone that encourages muscle growth.
During REM sleep, the brain is actively producing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes a positive mood and aids in digestion. If your head and neck are misaligned, the muscles in your neck and shoulders will be subjected to increased pressure. This will make it more difficult for your brain to relax and promote serotonin production. This can cause a decrease in your mood, appetite, and energy levels. Proper sleep alignment will allow your brain to relax and reap these REM sleep-related benefits. As you can see, there are many reasons to ensure that your head and neck are aligned during sleep. Doing so can help you improve your sleep quality, reduce neck and head pain, and experience a healthier mood during the day. So, what are you waiting for? It's time to get your head and neck in the right place during sleep with Sleep Artisan’s Side Sleeper pillows!