Sleeping on your stomach may often lead to back pain, but it “is a universally evil sleeping position,” explains science writer and former licensed massage therapist Paul Ingraham, who actually sleeps stomach-down himself and has never had an issue.
Although the notion of a spine-friendly sleeping position may be more ambiguous or case-specific than some experts argue, stomach-sleeping is typically a source of aggravation. If you have a problem with discomfort in that or any other position, it’s still not easy to avoid moving around in certain ways when you sleep. You may find that you can use a body pillow to keep yourself out of positions that prevent back and neck pain, but that’s assuming you won’t toss it out of the way in your sleep.
Introducing the anti-nap
Believing that it is next to impossible to succeed at managing one’s own behavior while asleep, Ingraham suggests approaching it from a different angle: breaking sleep into pieces with an anti-nap. Set an alarm for the middle of the night. When it goes off, get up and try a few at-home back and neck pain relief strategies, such as self-massage, heat, or dynamic joint-mobility drills – the last of which is a systematic way to guide your muscles through their full range of motion without resistance.
You don’t have to be all-business in the middle of the night, either. You can simply get up and fool around during your anti-nap too, Ingraham says. Simply rising from bed and moving around will help alleviate back pain.
Returning to a natural sleep-wake cycle
Most people are resistant to the idea of interrupting sleep, especially since so many of us aren’t getting enough hours of rest as it is. Although you may hesitate about setting a 3 AM alarm, Ingraham observes that it is the ideal approach if it helps to prevent neck and back pain.
Actually, Ingraham isn’t just recommending night-waking for pain patients but for everyone: “There is actually a natural wakeful period in the middle of the night, like a mirror image of afternoon naps, which most modern people are resisting — we think we’re supposed to be asleep all night!” By taking a break and treating our bodies, we could be aligning ourselves with biorhythms designed to keep our musculoskeletal systems healthy.
In the dark
Note that you can treat yourself without turning on any bright lights, so you don’t overexcite your system. Although self-therapy can be just as effective in the dark, you don’t want to be “in the dark” about our innovative back and neck pain relief approach. Get help with our Spinal Rejuvenation Therapy Program today!