What is your personal sleep posture? Spread eagle, stomach down? Fetal position? Do you move a lot when you sleep, or stay still as a rock? Few people can answer these questions with total clarity because by nature, sleep is an unconscious activity. But some sleep positions are superior to others, and we do have the power to influence how we fall asleep. We generally choose whatever feels most comfortable, which is fine for those of us who sleep on our sides or back, but sleeping on the stomach can be incredibly damaging to the spine. Here are some postural considerations while sleeping:
The primary goal for any sleepers should be to keep their spine as close to natural alignment as possible.
The stomach-down position should therefore be avoided, but if you must sleep this way, use a pillow underneath the stomach to avoid letting the curve of your back collapse into the bed. Furthermore, the position that the stomach sleeper’s head usually takes during sleep puts a lot of pressure on the muscles of the neck and the shoulders.
Sleeping on your back is one of the best positions, but it can put pressure on the lower back. You can defeat this condition by putting a pillow under the knees that gently lifts them and alleviates pressure from the lower spine. Make sure you are using a pillow that keeps your head straight in relation to the spine.
When sleeping on the side, bend your knees in a loose approximation of the fetal position to avoid pressure accumulating to the lower back. As with the sleeping on your back, pillow usage is crucial: you don’t want a pillow that encourages the neck to angle up or down to aggressively.
Changing the way you sleep is a challenging proposition: it requires peeling back years of repetitive behavior and a lot of patience, but the upside is tremendous. We would like to see people waking up refreshed and pain free. At Holmes Chiropractic, we have the knowledge to help you institute changes that will lead to a restful night’s sleep.
Call our office in Houston at (713) 862-2440