Our founder and Sleep Posture expert, James Leinhardt, was invited on Steph’s Packed Lunch which airs on Channel4.
James explains the main reason for going on the show was to
“Scream the message that sleep posture is the single most significant intervention for our wellbeing, and the more we address it the better our quality of life will ultimately be.”
James quickly got into his stride helping both Steph and Rusell understand the concept of sleep posture and how it can impact our quality of sleep.
Sleep posture, when explained, is really a relatively simple intervention because it only really considers the position you go to sleep in (which you can control), and the surface you lie on in order to maintain and preserve that position.
Pillows and posture
Russell was first in the bed so to speak!
Laying on his side using a common everyday pillow to rest his head on, James was able to immediately address some of the problems this was creating.
“If Russell and I wouldn’t wear the same shoes then why on earth would we lay on the same size pillow? That pillow should fill the earlobe to the scapula if you’re lying on your side.”
This concept is often overlooked yet, it goes a long way to helping you optimise the positions that you lie in. Finding a pillow that fills that space, allows your head to lift off the bed and keep it supported through the night.
Steph wanted to know how someone would know whether their pillow was offering the right support or not. Well James offered a really simple and practical tip for everyone to try.
Simply put your pillow over your arm and if it sags on both sides it’s more than likely that it’s not offering enough support – time for a new pillow!
Picking the right pillow
James then went on to answer how someone would go about choosing your pillow. He broke it down into three main steps.
“It has to be comfortable and pressure relieving but also can’t negate posture. So if you’re sinking into it or if it’s too thin, not giving you enough stability, then it’s affecting your posture. Finally, what we call proprioception, our body’s understanding of where we are in space. By having our head supported properly you will feel a lot more safe and secure in your environment.”
Arguably one of our favourite topics! Steph and Russell were eager to understand how their own sleeping positions were impacting their quality of sleep.
Keen to stress that sleep is the time to fight all of your bad posture habits of the day – James highlighted how their own sleeping positions were in fact simply amplifying poor daytime postures.
We took pictures of the presenters’ sleeping positions. Russell adopted what we call the Yogi position. This position can lead to several problems.
It might look and feel comfortable, but lying like this can cause hip problems, and increase your lumbar extension. Eventually, it could lead to hip arthritis.
Steph adopted a very common position particularly in women, as their hips are often wider apart than men.
By bringing the leg over it makes for a more stable position. However, the twisted body and legs means it’s no good and can lead to spinal rotation and anterior shoulder instability.
Optimising sleep posture
James demonstrated to Steph how to better optimise her current sleeping position. Illustrating that
“placing any pillow so that your hips, knees and ankles are supported will also discourage you from rolling forward.”
By placing a pillow underneath Russells knees, James explained that this reduced the arch under his back.
If a gap between your back and bed surface exists, then gravity is continually fighting to pin this to the bed – causing strain on the body. By placing the pillow under the knees, it allows for better body weight distribution.
After all the demonstrations and new knowledge our presenters had, Russell had one important question which we’re glad he asked. “What is the goal of optimising your sleep position?”
This message is at the very heart of what we do. James replied that whereby we can’t affect the number of hours of sleep you get, optimising your sleep posture can “improve your rehabilitation and quality of your sleep.”
All in all it was a great day whereby we could really hit home the importance of sleep posture. We wanted to show people that simple, yet effective changes to their current sleep positions can have a real tangible affect on their general well being. Job done!