Throughout the day we often hear a lot of people say, “I must have slept funny” or “I just woke up feeling this way.” It is not uncommon to wake up from what was intended to be a restful night’s sleep feeling anything but and even feeling a few new aches and pains. We’ve all experienced it! Sleep is a necessity for healing and is vital to our overall health and well-being.
While we only spend 1/3 of our day sleeping, this sleep impacts how we function the other 2/3 of the day. This can affect our ability to:
- Operate heavy machinery
- Make decisions
- Problem solve
- Control our emotions
Sleep plays an important role in our mental health, emotional health, physical health, and safety. Improper sleeping posture can cause tension in your supporting muscular and skeletal system, which can cause irritation on the nerves leaving your spinal cord. Not only can this cause aches and pain but also lead to other health problems because the nerves from the spine control every organ system, organ, and cell in our body!
We wanted to review the 3 common sleeping positions and provide some tips on implementing them properly.
1) Back Sleeping
This is the position that we recommend as it produces a neutral position for your spine and spinal cord, requiring less energy from the supporting muscular system. A pillow is not always necessary in this position but, if one is desired, a flat pillow is the best choice to prevent a forward head and neck posture all night long.
2) Side Sleeping
This is a common choice for many people, especially those used to sleeping on their stomachs, but proper pillow placement is key! A straight line from your head, through your neck and spine should always be maintained. It is important that the pillow supports your head and eliminates the gap between your neck and the mattress. Too much support can create unwanted tension on the neck and upper back. Next time in the office ask us about the pillow we recommend for this position!
Another tip for this position is to place a pillow between your knees. This will prevent rotation of the pelvis and reduce strain on the lower back.
3) Stomach Sleeping
Disclaimer: This position is NEVER recommended and should be avoided at all costs!! Sleeping on your stomach with your head turned to one side creates a lot of tension on the neck and upper back resulting in a lot of common ailments seen in our office.
Consider the position of your arms while you sleep. Sleeping with your arms above your head in any position can create tension in the lower neck and upper back. Holding a pillow can help put your arms in a relaxed and comfortable position.
If you have any questions about your sleeping posture or sleep habits, please leave a comment below or ask next time you’re in the office!