If you’re like most Canadians over 30, you wake up sore more mornings that not. In the past it used to come after exercise prior to sleep, but now it seems to become an unfortunate part of your regime. It slows down your ability to rise and shine in a timely manner and even weighs heavy on your mind prior to rest, which can impact your quality of sleep. However, it no longer needs to be the case. No, this isn’t an advertorial for your local Mattress King (or Queen), instead we’re going to provide you with some physiotherapy guided yet practical advice on how to wake up pain-free.
5 Practical Physical Therapy Tips to Keep from Waking Up With Stiffness and Pain Each Morning
1. Stretching Prior to Sleep
Many people stretch as a part of their post exercise cool down protocol. This can certainly help one wake up without pain and stiffness when the workout was in the evening before. However, very few people consider stretching before going to sleep, regardless of whether or not they hit the gym. By stretching (with careful form) for 10-15 minutes before bedtime, you will significantly reduce AM aches and tension. Focus on the muscle groups that trouble you the most. It may be a good idea to invest in some physiotherapy equipment for the home, including a stability ball, balance trainer, exercise tubes, and a foam roller and employ them accordingly.
2. Proper Sleeping Form
You may apply proper exercise form in the gym but do you afford your body the same in the bedroom? The physical manner of which you sleep has a direct impact on your body and the way it feels upon waking, especially as it applies to lower back and neck – the most common points of AM pain and discomfort. Contrary to what some may say, there is no “be all end all” sleeping position, especially when each individual has their own preexisting physical ailments to contend with and consider before finding the position most appropriate for them. However, you must try to sleep in a position that helps you maintain the natural curvature of your lower back. The following positions will help you accomplish this nighttime task:
- Sleep on your back with a pillow under your legs – for back pain sufferers
- Sleep on your stomach – for back pain sufferers
- Sleep on your side with leg support – for lower back and neck pain sufferers
- Sleep on your back with shoulder support – for shoulder pain sufferers
- Sleep with a towel beneath your neck – for neck pain sufferers
- Sleep with a flat pillow – for neck and shoulder pain sufferers
- Sleep at an incline – for instances where the methods above fail
3. Improve Your Core
As you know, strengthening your core is essential to improving performance in both day to day activities and in sport. However, it is also an instrumental means to waking up with minimal pain and stiffness. By doing targeted exercises to strengthen your core, which include the muscles in your abdomen, hips, lower back, and pelvis, you can effectively ease morning back pain. Learn more about core fitness and how it will help you perform better in the day, from the break of dawn.
4. Don’t Bring Anxiety to Bed With You
Anxiety is a common precursor to morning aches and tension. It not only keeps you awake at night, which prevents muscles from receiving the rest they need to recover from the activities of the day, there is a proven correlation between anxiety and pain. Go to bed with stress, sleep with stress, and wake up with stress and therefore soreness. While the scope of anxiety management spans beyond the realm of physiotherapy, there is evidence that the discipline can effectively reduce the symptoms of anxiety. If stress is keeping you up and night and in pain in the morning, do all you can to ease the anxiety you feel before hitting the pillow. For some, this may include (but is not exclusive to) the following pre-sleep activities:
- Reading a good book
- Listening to soothing music (on low volume)
- Taking a relaxing bath
- Reducing “screen time” and don’t check email
- Avoiding confrontational discussions with spouse/family
For others, more intensive attention is required to obliterate anxiety, especially if you suspect that you suffer from a stress related disorder, at which point you may consider seeking help from one of these provincial resources. Also, look to a physiotherapy clinic to help you treat symptoms of stress. Keep reading.
5. Make Physiotherapy a Part of Your Life
In the end, there is no better way to ensure the start of your day starts off right, without pain and discomfort, than through physiotherapy. A physiotherapist will be able to diagnose and identify the underlying conditions that are causing you soreness and will provide you with a regime of in-clinic and at-home treatments and therapies to correct your ailments. Within weeks or even a few short days you will begin to awake as a whole new you – ready to tackle to world with fervor.
Ready to have a sleep that you’ll wake up from without stiffness and pain? If you rest your head in the Greater Vancouver area contact our Burnaby physiotherapy clinic to schedule a consultation.