As a practicing chiropractor I’m often asked by my patients about sleeping. Questions include bed type, pillow choices, sleeping positions and sleep aids. Let’s cover these topics briefly one at a time.

There are many choices when it comes to purchasing a bed. Most of the top of the line bed manufacturers produce quality beds that will work just fine for most people. My rule of thumb is this: Choose a bed that is firm, doesn’t sag in the middle and has a pillow top or foam/feather overlay to soften the top of the bed only and be more compliant to the curves and bony points on the body.

You should sleep on your back with your feet slightly elevated or on your side in the fetal position (legs bent about halfway up to the chest). While lying on your back, put a pillow or a triangular foam wedge pillow under your knees. If you are a side sleeper, put a pillow between your legs to keep the legs and knees parallel to the hips (knees apart several inches) to take the stress off the hip joints.

I only recommend 2 pillows: A down pillow or a Tempurpedic memory foam pillow.

A down pillow gives just the right amount of loft while also being compliant enough to allow your head and neck to mold around it as you sleep. Choose a medium to full fill. If you are allergic to down or simply want to use a different pillow, the Tempurpedic pillow is a real winner. Don’t buy any imitation memory foam pillow. They are not the same quality and from the ones that I have tested, can actually hurt your neck while you sleep.

If you have problems getting to sleep or wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep, I have found that Valerian root supplements work great. They come in liquid, capsules and tablets depending on the manufacturer. My family and I have been using this supplement for years and I always highly recommend it to my patients should they need a sleep aid. There are no side effects and it is perfectly safe.