A good night’s rest should leave you feeling energized and refreshed. However, if you are like many individuals, restlessness and post-sleep pain is a regular occurrence. This can negatively impact your everyday life. So, what is the proper way to sleep?
The good news is that finding proper body alignment in bed and implementing a few simple changes to your daily and nightly routine can make a substantial and positive impact on how well you sleep each night. Sufficient sleep gives the body the opportunity to heal itself from a hard day’s work. This healing sleep leaves you feeling energized and mentally sharp. These simple steps for proper sleeping posture can be implemented into your regular sleep routine.
Typical sleep routines suggest sleep-inducing tactics such as:
- setting a regular bedtime
- using darkening window curtains
- listening to white noise
But when you combine the sleep tactics with proper body alignment for sleeping positions then you are taking real steps towards alleviating pain and getting a good night’s rest.
The Proper Way to Sleep on a Pillow
Pillow placement is important because the pillows help to neutralize and support your sleeping position. They fill the space that tends to displace joints from non-neutral positions. When used properly, your pillow will help to alleviate and even prevent consequential joint, back, and neck pain.
When considering the types of pillows to use, a cervical pillows is a good choice as it allows for the neck to be supported in the neutral anatomical sleeping position while on your back or side. It’s also important to ensure your pillow fully supports your head. You know your pillow is doing its job if it fills the negative space from your head and neck down to the mattress. When your pillow is at this height, it will allow for the spine to maintain neutral alignment.
Sleep positions play a key role in neutralizing your joints. But if you aren’t following the recommended sleep postures, the potential long-term damage to your body and health is increased. Regardless of your position of choice, you must always try to make spine alignment a top priority.
How-To: Properly Sleep on Your Back
If you already sleep on your back, you are in luck! Sleeping on your back with a pillow supported underneath your thighs is known to yield a good night’s sleep. This type of sleeping posture allows your head, neck, and back to settle in the optimal neutral and natural position. If you are wondering about what to do with your arms, comfort preferences dictate what’s best. However, it’s recommended you keep arms at your side.
How-To: Sleep on Your Side Properly
Though side sleeping is not ideal even though it is one of the more commonly used positions, it is an acceptable alternative to back sleeping. Side sleeping still helps to elongate your spine, and you can minimize potential negative impact by using a pillow. Simply add a thick and firm pillow in between your legs to help aide in proper alignment of your spine and lower body. You can also place a pillow underneath the rib cage/torso to fill the space between your hips and shoulders. This will help to alleviate compression from the downside shoulder. Doing this may also help to eliminate a contributing variable to the development of shoulder dysfunctions.
Why to Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach
Unfortunately, there is not a good way to sleep on your stomach. Stomach sleeping is extremely taxing and counterbalancing on the neck, spine, and back. Since most of our weight is in the middle of the body, stomach sleeping makes it difficult for your spine to sustain a neutral position. As for the neck, most stomach sleepers turn their head to the side to breathe. As a result, the head and spine are forced out of alignment and can lead to problems down the road. If you are among the few individuals that are unable to break away from stomach sleeping, consider using a flat pillow to reduce the angling of your neck. It is also recommended sleeping with a pillow under the abdomen to take some of the pressure off your spine and back.
Ensure Your Structure is Supported Throughout
As mentioned earlier, maintaining proper alignment of your spine is by far one of the most important things you can do for your body. Proper pillow placement according to your sleeping position is key to supporting a neutral spine. Doing this will help to preserve body alignment and relieve any pressure. Like many things in life, desired outcomes rely on the amount of effort you are willing put in. When it comes to your daily habits and sleep, if you are willing to make a few simple changes by looking after your proper sleep posture, you’ll be doing your body a lot of good in the long run.
If you’re suffering from any kind of back or neck pain (sleep related or not!) the doctors at Absolute Treatment can help get you back to living a pain free life! Click here to get more information about scheduling an appointment today!