Best (and Worst) Sleeping Positions for the Spine
Do you ever feel like your back pain and neck pain are never ending? You’ve tried it all, physical therapy, yoga, even pain relievers and nothing seems to get to the root of the problem. If this sounds like you, perhaps it’s time to analyze some key factors about your sleeping habits that may be negatively impacting your body.
Your sleeping position can have a huge impact on your posture and cause pain in the back and neck. Your pillow, bed, and position can all make or break your quality of sleep and affect how you feel in the morning when it’s time to get up.
Resting right: the best sleeping position
Overall, laying flat on the back is the best sleeping position. This position evenly distributes your weight on your body and keeps everything aligned, keeping in mind that your pillow should not prop your head up too much. Although some people find this position difficult to sleep in and it may cause others to snore, adopting this position can help those who suffer from pain due to bad sleeping posture.
If laying flat on your back is not an option, the second best sleeping position is on your side. Note that the best practice is to sleep with the legs stretched, not curled up. Additionally, adding a firm pillow to the mix by placing it in between the knees will help keep the hips, legs, and spine aligned to avoid issues. A pillow to help align your head and neck into a straight line with your spine will also help.
One to avoid
Sleeping on your stomach is probably the least recommended of all positions due to the fact that most people will turn their neck to the side which causes a strain on their cervical spine. If sleeping on your stomach is your preferred position, try using a pillow or rolled towel to sleep with the head facing the mattress while still allowing room to breathe, this will help keep the neck aligned with the spine.
There are a few important tips to follow in order to get the best quality sleep, implementing these regularly can have a positive impact on sleep and overall health.
- Change your pillows every 12-18 months and research the best pillow for your preferred sleeping position
- Change your mattress every 10 years and avoid very soft mattresses
- Turn off electronics 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and strenuous workouts in the evening
- Establish a regular sleeping routine, try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day (including weekends)
- Wind down before bed by taking a warm shower, reading, or doing a physically and mentally relaxing activity