Millions of Americans suffer from back pain annually, and while we make conscious adjustments when active or when working to help alleviate that irritation, it’s easy to forget that the postures taken when sleeping can have a huge impact on how you start and move through your day. Since we spend roughly a third of our lives asleep, getting the right position and support in place is just as important as a mindful posture when sitting or standing. How can you improve your sleeping posture to improve sleep and wake up refreshed?
Skip Stomach Sleeping
Belly sleepers put the most strain on their bodies because it’s almost impossible to maintain a neutral spine in that position:
- The lumbar curve is greatly exaggerated, which puts pressure on the discs in the low back.
- Undue strain is put on the neck by keeping it turned unnaturally to either side for hours at a time.
Switching to side sleeping, with pillows for support behind the back and between the knees, or sleeping on the back with a pillow under the knees, are great ways to improve your sleeping posture. If that change is too uncomfortable, try using pillows under the hips and low abdomen to support the low back.
Pick a Perfect Pillow
According to a study by UCLA Ergonomics, picking a pillow to support your head and the neutral curvature of your neck can make a difference in how you feel from the top down in the morning. There are many factors to consider:
- The depth of the curve of your neck
- Your preferred sleeping position
- The firmness of your mattress
Stomach sleepers should select a very thin pillow to try to level the head when sleeping, back sleepers need one that will fill the space between the neck and the bed, and side sleepers should seek a thicker pillow than that of back sleepers to account for shoulder positioning.
Max Out Your Mattress
Even if you’ve improved your posture by adopting a more neutral sleeping position and are using an appropriate pillow, a monstrous mattress may be sabotaging your slumber.
- Mattresses should only be used for 8-10 years before being replaced, as they become less supportive over time.
- A mattress that is too soft will allow the body to sag, exaggerating curving of the spine and causing strain on muscles and joints.
- A too-firm mattress can push the body out of alignment as well, and leave sore spots where pressure is too great.
Studies suggest that most people will find the best support and greatest comfort with a medium-firm mattress, and quality sets can start at $800-$1,000, depending on size.
Seeking Restful Slumber?
The chiropractic physicians, physical therapists, and other healthcare professionals at Advanced Wellness & Rehab treat a broad range of chronic pain conditions and illnesses, and work with our patients to understand their symptoms. Contact us today to learn more about how we can implement our objective of getting you out of pain and back to living an active lifestyle.