Do you have difficulty falling asleep? Do you wake up during the night tossing and turning? Feel tired, achy or sore in the morning? Check out the tips below to get a better night’s rest.

1. Invest in a good mattress.

The lifespan of most quality mattresses is about 8-10 years. But keep in mind that your body changes over time. So what may have worked for you even 5 years ago may no longer be a good fit now.

If you are a side-sleeper you will probably prefer a plush-firm to plush mattress. This allows the bonier and wider hip and shoulder areas to sink in a bit, while giving support to the low back and legs. *Quick Fix: If your mattress is too soft, side-sleepers support your low back pain by putting a folded towel under your waist.

Back and stomach sleepers usually do better with a firm to plush-firm mattress that will support the spine in neutral better. *Quick Fix: If your mattress is too soft, back sleepers support your low back by placing a folded towel under the small of your low back or under your stomach for stomach sleepers.

2. Use appropriate pillows.

Just like having a good mattress, a good pillow can have a big impact on how well you sleep.

Side sleepers will usually do better with a medium or firmer pillow that will support the head in a position that keeps the neck in line with the rest of the back (and not side bent up or down).

Stomach and back sleepers will do better with a flatter/softer pillow so the head isn’t angled too far off the bed.

3. Prevent low back strain.

Side sleepers put a pillow between the knees; back sleepers put a pillow under your knees.

4. Exercise.

One of the best ways to get a good nights sleep is to exercise regularly. (Though preferably not right before bed. The endorphins released with some exercise might keep you awake.)

-Kim Parker, MSPT, san francisco sport and spine physical therapy

To speak to a physical therapist about sleep related pain, call 415-593-2532.

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