A good night’s rest is necessary to promote good health in general. Getting up refreshed prepares you for your day both physically and mentally. However, many of us rise in the morning with stiffness or simply tired. The culprit may be your position during sleep. Your sleep-position can provide for a restful night or become the cause for all kinds of aches & pains. Among them are neck-pain and back-pain. Those can all be expected when your body is improperly supported.
Habits are Hard to Break
Your sleep positions are most often a habit. And breaking habits takes a focused effort. So, if you’re dealing with neck-pain and back-pain after sleeping, consider using the suggestions I offer below. Taking proper care of your spine during sleep means ensuring the mattress and pillows you use each night provide enough structure to be both comfortable to the touch as well as providing support for your bones and muscles. Ultimately, the goal is to alleviate stress on the spine. Accomplishing this will help you achieve restful sleep.
Overall, the best position for general spine health is sleeping on your back. When properly supported, this position is the best for avoiding beck and back pain by maintaining a “neutral position”. However, this position can promote snoring. To help this position to remain comfortable, I suggest using one or more pillows to support your head and neck. The goal here is to elevate your head, slightly. A medium-to-firm mattress is an excellent choice for “back-sleepers”. This type of mattress most often provides a good balance of enough support for your spine while remaining comfortable for everything else. For this position, I often suggest a pillow be positioned behind the knees and lower back to relieve any pressure.
This is the next best sleep position for comfort and support. This is also the most recommended position for women during pregnancy. Properly supported, this position can prevent neck and back pain because the spine is elongated. It also has the advantage of being less likely to induce snoring. I believe the best way to support this position is with a full body pillow. This pillow fills the space above the shoulder, to keep your head and neck in a neutral position while also elevating the leg that’s “on top”. This leg support helps circulation and avoids stress placed on the spine. Side sleepers may want to consider a softer mattress. If a “full body pillow” isn’t your preference, I suggest a simple pillow placed between your knees. This will help to elevate the leg “on top” and reduce pulling on the spine.
The Fetal Position
This position is common, but not ideal for adults. Although it can be somewhat beneficial for women during pregnancy, supporting the head and neck is very challenging. This position is less likely to produce snoring and if it’s your choice, support through the use of a body pillow or a simple pillow between the knees, as suggested above in “Side Position” is again, recommended.
The Stomach Position
As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I could just ask, “Please don’t do this to yourself”, and stop right there.
In my opinion, this is the worst possible common sleeping position. The single benefit to this position is it’s the least likely to produce snoring. However, pressure placed on the neck and spine make this position problematic. Sleeping in this position places pressure on joints and muscles that almost inevitably ends in pain and discomfort for the sleeper.
If I haven’t talked you out of this position and you remain a stomach-sleeper, I suggest one thin pillow or even no pillows. A mattress that’s too firm will likely produce neck and chest pain due to this position and one that too soft may produce chronic neck pain.
Deep Rest Promotes Wellness
The length of sleep and restfulness can fluctuate for all kinds of reasons. At Rush-Henrietta Family Chiropractic, our goal is to help you remain in good health through the use of natural means. Your body is made to be moved and used so you can enjoy life. When you’re looking for a healthcare professional to help you remain in good health and active, call us at 585-321-3200. We’re happy to meet with you.