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 essentials for sleeping better 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.)

san francisco sport and spine physical therapy

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