What robs us of sleep – the pillow is important

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Of: Fairy Halberstadt


The woman is asleep in bed with an open book. © Vasily Pindyurin/Imago

Here you can find out which common mistakes made during sleep have a negative effect on your health. Often they are easy to repair.

Kassel – There are a variety of reasons why someone does not get enough and restorative sleep. For example, this is due to different work schedules, such as shift work, the ticking of clocks in the bedroom, stress or unrest. A small change often helps to be able to sleep well again. However, there are also mistakes that many people make without realizing that they are affecting their sleep.

Good sleep is important. Long-term poor and insufficient sleep has a considerable impact on daily life and health. A single night of restless sleep is enough to impair concentration and performance. But what about permanent sleep deprivation?

Sleep better with the right pillow

The special side sleeper pillows (advertising link) allow a comfortable lying position thanks to the shoulder cut-outs of their ergonomic butterfly shape. You lie down ergonomically and can prevent neck and shoulder pain.

In principle, too little sleep cannot be defined. Everyone has their own limit as to when he or she gets too little sleep. Habits, age and genetic predisposition play a role here. Despite this, several studies indicate that a sleep time of seven to eight hours a day is the most effective. For some, however, six hours is enough and for others only nine. But none of that is for nothing if you don’t sleep well. There are typical mistakes that many are unaware of and which can be easily avoided.

Factors that rob you of sleep at a glance:

  • A room that is too bright: It is best to darken your room as much as possible.
  • The wrong sleeping position: Lying and left side positions have a suboptimal effect on sleep quality. In the old sleeping position, the cervical spine is twisted in an unnatural way, which promotes neck tension and back pain. Its location on the left side of the body is not optimal for people with heart problems and can even damage the largest muscle in the body.
  • evening sports: From when it is better to give up training, you can find out in the article: Sport in the evening: From this moment on, sleep deteriorates.
  • Blue light from mobile phone, tablet, TV or laptop in the evening
  • The wrong pillow: A pillow that is too high or too low also has a negative effect on the quality of sleep. It is important that the S-shape of the spine is guaranteed when lying down. The head should be laid down accordingly. The ACAMAR pillow from Third of Life (advertisement link) is suitable for side and side tilt sleepers thanks to its ergonomic butterfly shape.

Common Sleep Mistakes: Why Is Sleep Important for Health?

If a sleep deficit lasts several days or weeks, the consequences are serious. The Apotheken Umschau lists possible symptoms such as irritability, mood swings, perception and personality disorders as well as suicidal thoughts. Additionally, muscle tension, breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure, body temperature, hormones, metabolism, and other functions can be disrupted if the natural rhythm of sleep and wakefulness is disturbed for a long period.

The health consequences of lack of sleep at a glance:

  • After a single night of restless sleep: Difficulty concentrating, reduced performance
  • Several days to weeks: Mood swings, irritability, cognitive and personality disturbances, and suicidal thoughts
  • Other physical consequences: Confusion of muscle tension, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, hormones, and metabolism

Brightness in late training: sleep errors in detail

A US study published in March 2022 shows that light can not only disrupt sleep patterns, but also has significant health consequences. “The results of this study show that even a single night of moderate room lighting during sleep can impair blood sugar and cardiovascular regulation, which are risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome,” says Phyllis. Zee, lead author of the study, according to a press release.

Previous studies show that light during the day activates the sympathetic nervous system, leading to increased heart rate and alertness. The results of the study, conducted at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, indicate a similar response when light is present at night. Daniela Grimaldi, co-author of the study from Illinois, USA, explains the study results in the release saying:

Even when you sleep, the autonomic nervous system is activated. It’s bad. Normally, heart rate and other cardiovascular parameters are lower at night and higher during the day.

Health depends on the quality of sleep: you should avoid this mistake

Researchers found that subjects who slept with lights on at night developed insulin resistance the next morning. Insulin resistance occurs when liver, fat, and muscle cells don’t respond well to insulin. Normally, blood glucose is used to generate energy – then this is no longer possible. To compensate, the pancreas produces more insulin, which causes blood sugar levels to rise over time.

In order not to expose yourself to this danger, the expert gives advice on what you can do for your sleep and therefore for your health. She recommends not leaving any lights on. If you do, the light shouldn’t be too bright. Also, red to amber light should be used instead of white or blue lighting. Also, it should be as far away from the sleeping person as possible. However, light at night isn’t the only mistake that leads to poor sleep.

Harmful: Sleeping on the wrong side can have massive repercussions

The sleeping position also has an impact on relaxed sleep and can have health consequences, as shown in a study by Dr. John Doulliard. Side sleepers are advised not to lie on their right side. There are several reasons for this. First, the stomach and pancreas are on the left side of the body. If you lie on your right side, the stomach presses on the gland and reduces its activity. On the other hand, the aorta also branches to the left of the heart. When lying on the right side, the heart has to pump “up”, so to speak, which is much more tiring.

There is also another organ which is on the left side of the body and is therefore affected more quickly when people sleep on the left side. The spleen cleans the blood and thus removes waste products. At the same time, it also has a positive effect on the lymphatic system.

Finally, sleeping on the left side also prevents heartburn. According to the study, a person is 50% more likely to have heartburn if they sleep on their right side. This is because the esophagus ends on the right side of the stomach. But if you turn to the right while sleeping, you ensure that the chyme flows back there. This causes unpleasant discomfort.

Ergonomically correct lying with special side pillows

Do you sleep on your side or side? Next, you need to use the right pillow to improve your sleep quality and prevent headaches and neck pain. The ACAMAR side sleeper pillow from Third of Life (advertisement link) relieves tension and pain in the neck, shoulders and spine.

Sport and mobile phones: These mistakes should be avoided because they are bad for your health

Another typical mistake that can lead to restless sleep is exercising too late at night. Due to sports activity, the metabolism runs at full speed, and the pulse also increases. This is why the body needs some time after exercise to cool down again. If the interval between exercise and bedtime is too short, it can lead to poor quality sleep.

Light from cell phones, tablets, laptops or televisions also causes restless sleep. The blue light from these devices signals activity to our brains and suggests that it is daytime. This mistake can be easily avoided: instead of picking up your cell phone at night, grab a newspaper or a book. (Fresh Halberstadt)

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