Since I was a child I’ve enjoyed memorizing stories, Scripture, songs, scripts, and movie quotes. It began in grade school when I decided to memorize one of Dr. Seuss’ books, The Lorax. I discovered it was a fun challenge. And, like many other skills, the more I practiced the easier it became to memorize new material.
Memorization is a valuable skill with many different applications. You may be surprised that falling asleep quickly is one of them. I made this discovery a couple years ago by accident.
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My guess is that you haven’t given much thought to sleeping positions. That could be a big mistake. Most people sleep in whatever position feels most comfortable for them in the moment. If you’re like me, you probably have a couple favorite positions, “go-to” positions that you rely on to get to sleep quickly. I have used a cycle for many years that moves me counter clock-wise until I fall asleep. The problem is that the position I most frequently end up using is not very healthy.
You may be surprised to learn that sleep position matters at all. I mean, what difference could it possibly make what position my body lies in while it’s asleep, as long as I’m asleep, right? Wrong.
Given that we spend about 1/3 of our lives asleep, it makes sense that body position is very important. Most of us are aware that if we make certain repetitive motions over and over we may become injured, not because of the difficulty of the movement, but because of the constant gradual wearing down of muscles, tendons and tissues through repetitive motion. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the most famous example of a soft-tissue repetitive stress injury.
In a similar way, being in one position for long periods of time can be harmful if the position is contrary to the way our bodies were designed to be. Sleeping in an improper position can inflict harm to the body in a single night. Ever wake up with a stiff neck or back? Extend that out to days and weeks of poor sleeping habits and you could develop chronic neck and back injuries. Tens of millions of people visit chiropractors every year for chronic back and neck pain and one of the most common causes of such pain is essentially repetitive stress due to poor sleep habits.
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As long as there has been sleep there have been sleep disorders. As they say, “to err is human”, and even with something as seemingly simple as sleep we seem to be able to muck things up.
- When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, ‘Did you sleep good?’ I said ‘No, I made a few mistakes.’
- Steven Wright
That’s not to say it is entirely your fault if you are troubled in the sleep department. There are a variety of sleep disorders and a variety of causes for these problems. Some are biological problems, some are due to stressful circumstances, and some are because of our own bad habits.
Below are some of the most common sleep-related issues people face.
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