Is The Way You Are Sleeping Killing You?

Breathing, sleeping, running, meditation, yoga, relaxation
fred
Posts: 342
Joined: Sun 07 Feb 2010 14:57

Is The Way You Are Sleeping Killing You?

Postby fred » Fri 11 Jan 2013 14:07

I have just stumbled upon a very interesting (and important for me) article on sleep position and health :
"Is The Way You Are Sleeping Killing You?" : http://www.menopauseatoz.com/sleep-killing-you.shtml

To summarize, flat sleeping increases intracranial pressure and diminishes overall brain circulation. After several hours, the brain become bathed in excess fluid, causing brain edema that lower oxygen and sugar for brain cells.
Good reason to elevate the head!

But what I've found of particular interest to me is :

"In addition to head position relative to gravity, we also have found side or belly sleeping can create problems. For example, we found several cases of carpel tunnel syndrome related to sleeping on the hands or wrists, and shoulder pain from sleeping on the side. And keep in mind that head pressure increases, and drainage diminishes, when the head is rotated to the side. Sleeping on the back avoids compression of limbs and internal organs.

It is also interesting to note that patients with asymmetrical problems will typically be worse on the side they sleep on. For example, eye pathology will be worse in the eye on the side of the face that is slept on most. Ear infections will be worse on the "down" ear. You can also tell the side a person sleeps on by observing the shape of the nose. Apart from injuries, the nose should be symmetrical, but becomes curved away from the pillow because of sleeping on the side of the face and pressing on the nose for hours each night. The nose will point away from the side that is most slept on."

This is the precise description of what as happened to me! I have slept all my life on the belly, turning my head on the left; or on the right side. My nose points on the left, my right eye sight is lower than my left and I have frequent right shoulder pain!
A couple of months ago, I changed my sleep position : still on the belly, turning my head on the right; or on the left side, as suggested by Buteyko. My right eye sight has improved (almost the same as my left eye) and my nose seems to be a little bit less on the left. HOWEVER, I now have numbness in my right little finger for 2 weeks. I indeed sleep on my right wrist and I am simply developing a carpal tunnel syndrome. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18780073 : "We believe that the epidemiologic associations with CTS act through a common causative mechanism, increased sleeping in the lateral position which puts the wrist at increased risk of flexion or extension, compressing the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.")
I am so happy to have found the cause of this strange numbness in my little finger!

I will for now on force myself to sleep on my back (something I have never been able to achieve but I have no choice).
JeffC
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed 06 Feb 2008 18:57

Re: Is The Way You Are Sleeping Killing You?

Postby JeffC » Wed 23 Jan 2013 21:21

Such great info here. It completely makes sense. I've always slept on my right side. My vision is worse in my right eye, and my right shoulder is weaker. I noticed some of the subtle issues with head pressure in the morning, as well.

I only recently learned about the Buteyko method. I started sleeping on my left side with a bed inclined at a 5 degree angle. I'm going to jack it up to 10 degrees. It's interesting that the article's conclusion is similar to Buteyko's acknowledgement that sleeping in a sitting position is ideal for oxygenation.

It seems to me that the addition of the incline makes it ok to sleep on the back, because that is essentially the sitting position. I suppose that checking the CP will confirm the answer. The research for sleep prone/left v. right/supine appears to be based on flat sleeping surfaces, because most people probably aren't willing to sleep in a chair or elevated.
fred
Posts: 342
Joined: Sun 07 Feb 2010 14:57

Re: Is The Way You Are Sleeping Killing You?

Postby fred » Thu 24 Jan 2013 06:17

I asked Artour about Indians who did very well with supine sleeping and head supported (see George Catlin's book "Shut Your Mouth & Save Your Life written in 1870 : www.members.westnet.com.au/pkolb/indians.pdf). He replied "You need to have the same CP and duration of sleep as those Indians in order to sleep the way they did.".

Sleeping on a hard surface is also beneficial because it forces you to change your position and reduce your sleeping duration.

It looks like my cubital tunnel syndrome (not carpal as I thought) http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00069 is better since I take care to not compress my right elbow. Actually I believe that sleeping on a hard surface worsen if not caused this numbness of the little finger.
JeffC
Posts: 74
Joined: Wed 06 Feb 2008 18:57

Re: Is The Way You Are Sleeping Killing You?

Postby JeffC » Thu 24 Jan 2013 21:08

Hmm, I skimmed through the book you mentioned, and I also read through Artour's comments on the sleeping positions page. I'm still trying to deal with the claim that a 90-100 degree upper body angle (sitting) is 'best' whereas 180 degree upper body is worst.

A few months ago, I converted my computer area to a standing desk, and I no longer sit down at all during the day. While reading about the health problems associated with excessive sitting, I came across research (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6187080.stm) that said that sitting at a 135 degree angle is best for spinal health. However, the study compared only 3 angles (70, 90, and 135 degrees).

As the Singer research indicates (with which I intuitively agree), compressing parts of the body by sleeping prone or on a side is not a good idea. Singer seems to recommend 150 degrees (30 degree bed elevation) as ideal for the heart and brain. But it would be impossible to test steeper angles, wouldn't it? People would slide off of a bed at 45 degrees. But in a seated position, the 45 degree (135 degree) angle is obtainable.

I'm certain that we should use an inclined position, and I think that we should be on our backs. The question to me is the angle, and I'm going to test sleeping in my recliner. With the footrest up, the angle is about 125 degrees. Fully extended back, it goes to about 150, which is about the maximum that a bed could be inclined.
Kasper
Posts: 898
Joined: Sat 24 Apr 2010 12:48
Location: Utrecht; The Netherlands

Re: Is The Way You Are Sleeping Killing You?

Postby Kasper » Fri 25 Jan 2013 10:58

As the Singer research indicates (with which I intuitively agree), compressing parts of the body by sleeping prone or on a side is not a good idea.
I read in artour's gi book, that he doesn't recommend sitting prone or on the side for people with inflammation in the digestive tract.
I'm certain that we should use an inclined position, and I think that we should be on our backs. The question to me is the angle, and I'm going to test sleeping in my recliner. With the footrest up, the angle is about 125 degrees. Fully extended back, it goes to about 150, which is about the maximum that a bed could be inclined.
Some people have very good results with declined positions. But I think you forget a really important aspect, and that is your posture. Not only when you are awake, but also when you are asleep, posture is very important. Many people compress their colon by bad posture for example. It is very hard to breath with your diaphragm if you have a bad posture etc. etc. You can sleep sitting (on your back of course) and still compress vital organs.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests