posture in bed

The Pillow Prop: Posture from the Bed

This is aimed at you, college students!

How many minutes have you spent tinkering with a pillow pile until it feels just right for you to lean back against the wall or headboard to watch a show in bed?

For many people, this defines the penultimate phase of their day: struggling to find comfort to watch a show or read until you fall asleep. Unfortunately, trying to read, write or conduct work from the computer in bed is one of the most ruinous things you can do for posture and your body. Nothing about it sets you up for success (unless you have an ergonomic set-up)- there is no real support and very few positions lend themselves to comfort without stressing the back. 

The pillow propping game

Picture yourself, pinned against the wall with a few pillows to support your lower back and a clear picture emerges of:

  • Poor curvature and an imbalanced spinal column.
  • Your neck bent at an aggressive angle
  • No lumbar support 
  • Pain

But people will persist with this because bed is comfortable. So whether you are working from bed regularly or just trying to find comfort for recreation, keep a few tips in mind. 

Let’s make this a little less painful: these tips will help prevent many of the bad effects inherent in the half-reclined, half-propped position that we seek. 

  • Use a pillow to prop your computer, keeping the monitor at eye level, and avoid over-flexing your neck.
  • Put a pillow under your legs and behind the lumbar to create something approaching neutral posture. 
  • Stop using your bed for working! The bed is no replacement for an office chair and your brain will start to associate bed with work (and worse, pain!). 

Above all, listen to your body. Get up regularly to break the monotony of sitting in your bed and stretch if you feel tightness occurring. 

Dr. Randall Holmes, D.C.