Our readers are invited to email us with their questions!
Q: Why does my back hurt after I sleep? (Darren B.)
A: Darren!, if you notice back pain every morning, your sleeping posture could be the culprit. Poor sleeping positions can put pressure on your spine, causing its natural curve to flatten.
This can also cause back strain and uncomfortable pressure on your joints. If you frequently sleep on your stomach, you may experience back pain more regularly.
Consider changing your sleeping position for better sleep and spine health. Doctors recommend sleeping on your side or on your back with a pillow beneath your knees. If sleeping on your stomach is the only comfortable position for you, place a pillow under your pelvis or lower abdomen for support. This helps to take pressure off of your back.
Also a thought- Your mattress may be the culprit. Over time a mattress can sink, and then it's time for a new one.
Q: Why does OSA make me stop breathing? (Sebastian B.)
A: Sebastian, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These muscles support structures including the back of the roof of your mouth (soft palate), the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula), the tonsils and the tongue. The tongue falling back, closing your airway is usually the major cause. It is why snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), are almost always worse when you sleep on your back. It is because gravity pushes your tongue backwards into your throat.
To make matters worse, when we get older, we lose muscle tone. Therefore, as we age, snoring and OSA get worse, not better.
OSA is extremely serious as your airway is literally blocked for 10 seconds to more than 2 minutes in some cases. You are holding your breath and your Oxygen levels drop to dangerous levels. This causes Heart Attacks, Strokes, High Blood Pressure, Weight Gain, GERD, Cancer, Alzheimer's and more.
If you or your bed partner notices one of you stopping breathing, it is important to see your Doctor right away.