Sleepy Bones: The Effect of Sleep on Your Health

Just a few days ago, we gave up an hour of sleep in exchange for an extra hour of daylight at the end of each day.  While that exchange is a welcomed one when it comes to no longer driving home from work in the dark or getting in a little extra yard work in the afternoons, it also means giving up an hour of sleep.

This week (March12 – March 18) is National Sleep Awareness Week.   This annual event, created by the National Sleep Foundation, seeks to promote better sleep as a way to increase overall health and well-being.[1]  This year, the National Sleep Foundation decided to research the connection between a person’s sleep pattern and their mental health.  Their findings indicated that over 90% of American adults with very good overall sleep health say they have no significant depressive symptoms.  However, almost 7 in 10 Americans (65%) who are dissatisfied with their sleep also experience mild or greater levels of depressive symptoms.[2]

Our brains aren’t the only things that suffer when we don’t get enough quality sleep.  According to Orthopaedic Specialists, sleep is involved in the healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Further, ongoing sleep deficiencies are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.[3]  

It’s clear that getting a good night’s sleep is important. But, is it important how we sleep?  Actually, when it comes to your orthopaedic health—yes!  Stomach sleeping can cause undue pressure on the lower spine, causing it to extend beyond its normal limits.  If sleeping on your stomach is the only way you can drift off to sleep, try sleeping with a very thin pillow, or no pillow at all.  According to sleep studies, most of us are “side sleepers.”  Sleeping on your side helps with breathing problems, but it can also put extra pressure on your lower spine.  There’s a simple solution for this one, too. Simply place a pillow between your knees to promote hip alignment and take pressure off your back.  And how about the “back sleepers?”  Well, according to research, if your spine could talk, it would say, “sleep on your back.”[4]  When we sleep on our backs, our weight is evenly distributed and there’s no unnatural curving of the spine.

It's clear that getting sufficient sleep is very significant when it comes to being healthy. For more information on sleeping better, check out the resources below.  Here’s to a great night’s sleep!






Anniston Orthopaedic Associates, P.A., is conveniently located in the Tyler Center on the campus of Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center.  Our office is on the third floorwith easy access to the parking deck attached to the north side of the building.

731 Leighton Avenue, Suite 300
Anniston, Alabama 36207

Phone: 256-236-4121
Fax: 256-237-5254

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