Dr. Andrew Arnold talks about why good sleeping posture is important.

We can often harm our spine without even realizing it or being conscious for that matter! Our posture while sleeping can impact how well we rest and how comfortably we rise. We generally spend a third of our life sleeping, so we better learn to do it well!

There are so many variables that can form a good night’s sleep. You may ask yourself… Is my mattress the right one for me? Are my pillows supporting my neck? Am I getting enough winks per night? But do you ever ask yourself… Am I sleeping in the correct position? Sleep posture is just as important as standing posture and can influence the quality of your sleep. Unfortunately, the position that you find most comfortable can sometimes be harmful to your spine. As Chiropractors, we see it often – bad sleeping posture can ultimately strain your spine, shoulders, hips and even jaw!

Let’s investigate some common sleeping positions and how you can minimize adverse effects.

STOMACH SLEEPING

This sleeping position can be harmful to your spine as it forces the neck into a twisted position for long periods of time. It’s better to avoid this sleeping position, but if you have difficulties finding comfort in other positions; place a flat pillow under your stomach or sleep without a pillow under the head. This will improve spinal alignment and reduce strain on your neck.

SIDE SLEEPING

Side sleeping is one of the most popular positions and is effective for maintaining spinal health if done correctly. It is a great position for pregnant women and those who suffer from acid reflux. The key to this position is pillow placement! Place a small pillow or rolled towel under the waist, and a firm pillow in between the legs. For extra benefits, such as the alleviation of acid reflux, sleep on your left side rather than the right. The position of our organs favors left side sleeping!

BACK SLEEPING

The last, and one of the best, position for spinal health is back sleeping. This is because when you sleep on your back, your head, spine, and feet are aligned. It’s also linked to preventing facial wrinkles – we’re not sure how true that is, but we are willing to give it a go! It’s important to choose an appropriate head pillow in this position. A pillow that supports the natural curves of your neck and upper spine is best. The best practice is to also place a small pillow or rolled towel under the knees to minimize stress on the lower back.

Ultimately, spinal health is affected by a number of variables in our lives. Sleep posture is one of those variables and can affect the quality of our sleep, so it’s important to take steps to improve it for the sake of spinal health AND energy levels. Unfortunately, sometimes the most comfortable positions can be the most harmful, but there are ways of improving these positions to support the spine and reduce stress. If you need some help or advice or need some treatment from sleeping incorrectly, please come and see us. In the meantime, enjoy your Zzz’s and put some of these tips into practice tonight! Happy sleeping!

References

Butler, S (2019). Why are Sleep Positions so Important. https://www.thejoint.com/louisiana/monroe/monroe-18001/193683-why-are-sleep-positions-so-important

Health Encyclopedia (2019). Good Sleeping Posture Helps Your Back. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4460

Web MD (2019). What’s the Best Sleep Position to Sleep In? https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/best-sleep-positions#1

Dobkin, C (2017). The Pros and Cons of Each Sleeping Position. https://site.eightsleep.com/blogs/news/the-pros-and-cons-of-each-sleeping-position

About the author:

Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre.

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