Did you know you spend approximately one third of your lifetime sleeping or attempting to sleep? That’s a lot of time to be in the same place and potentially same position, which is why this week we discuss sleeping positions to help you take care of your spine and body whilst in bed.
If you’ve ever woken up with a stiff neck or aches and pains you will know how frustrating it is. And although we can’t say for certain it was caused by a particular sleeping position, based on the amount of time spent in bed there is the potential it may have contributed to it. Understandably once you are asleep, you can move into all sorts of weird and wonderful positions which you aren’t aware of. But if you start as you mean to go on when you get into bed, you are more likely to stay in a similar position during the night, or at least create that habit so you will naturally return to it. So what is the best sleeping position? There is limited research to formally confirm which sleeping position is best to reduce those aches and pains, but if you think practically about how human beings are designed, it makes sense that keeping your posture and spine in a neutral position where possible, will allow your spine to stay in its natural alignment. This will help to reduce the tension through your joints, as well as the supporting tissues, such as your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. So here are the 3 most common sleeping positions and things to keep in mind: 1. On your back Laying on your back allows your body and spine to remain in a neutral position. If you are able to sleep on your back, this is likely the position that will create the least tension through your body which may help to minimise those aches and pains upon waking. We’d recommend using a thinner pillow whilst on your back, so your head is not being forced forwards. If you find lying on your back puts too much tension on your lower back, try placing a pillow behind the back of your knees for support. 2. On your side This is a very popular sleeping position but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. If you stretch your leg out in front of you whilst on your side, you are going to put tension through your lower back and pelvis. Therefore, keeping your legs directly on top of each other will keep this to a minimum. Having a pillow that supports your head is key too. We’d recommend getting a pillow that fills the depth of your shoulder. You can check this with a mirror, and just make sure that when you put your head on the pillow, your head remains supported in line with the rest of your body. This will help to support your shoulder joint and reduce the tension through your neck. If you are struggling with lower back or pelvis pain, putting a pillow between your legs when on your side can offer further support and help to make it more comfortable. 3. On your front Unfortunately sleeping on your front has the potential to put your body in an awkward position because it forces your head to one side. The rest of your body will likely be twisted and under tension too. This is a sleeping position we’d recommend avoiding where possible. If you have to sleep on your front, try using a thinner pillow, but where you can, stick to sleeping on your back or side. We promise your body will be thankful for it! A question we often get asked is “which mattress or pillow should I go for?” We are all so unique, and what works for one person may not be right for another, which is why we’d recommend trying various brands out before you buy. Many companies offer a significant return policy for mattresses which is helpful in finding the right one for you. So, when you tuck yourself in bed later, take a moment to check in with yourself and observe if you are feeling tension through your body. Does your sleeping position need to change? Are your pillows supporting you and is your mattress comfortable? Fine tuning these areas can contribute towards the quality rest you deserve and support the health of your spine and chiropractic journey with us. If we can be of any further help please get in touch. The content of this blog is for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.