It’s estimated that millions of Americans lose essential sleep every single night. The most common reason is back pain. We often don’t realize we’re in an uncomfortable position when we’re sleeping, and that makes the next morning all the more frustrating. Furthermore, tossing and turning all night can leave us tired and sore when we wake up. Luckily, with a little preparation before hitting the hay, you can reduce the chance of pain and get a better, more restful night’s sleep.
Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach
If your back hurts when going to bed, your first thought might be to roll over onto your belly. Seems logical, right? Other people opt to sleep on their stomachs because it helps alleviate snoring, however, that’s about all it’s good for. In reality, sleeping on your stomach is just as detrimental and can actually increase your feelings of pain. When you sleep on your stomach, your belly is pressing into the mattress. This causes the natural curve of your spine to flatten out, adding stress to your spine, causing or worsening back pain. This is especially true if you sleep on a softer mattress or use a foam topper.
Furthermore, when we sleep on our stomachs, we’re forced to turn our head to one side or the other. This means we’re not breathing as well as when the neck and head are straight. This position also strains your neck muscles and could lead to soreness or “kinks” in your neck. If you’ve experienced these throughout the day, you know they aren’t much fun.
Use the Correct Pillows
The best way to sleep is on your back. If that’s your preference, kudos! However, whether you’re a back sleeper or a side sleeper, the number of pillows you use is very important. Pillows should support the natural curve of your neck. Too many pillows under your head bend your neck too far forward, causing pain. Conversely, if your pillow is too flat, your head hangs back.
it’s recommended that you use a cervical pillow. This is a specially designed pillow that supports your neck and keeps it in an ideal position all evening long. At Choice Chiropractic, the cervical pillow we recommend most often is a Chiroflow pillow. The outside looks just like a regular pillow, but the inside contains a bladder you can fill with water, allowing you to adjust the firmness to your exact needs.
Another good “pillow tip” is to put one under your knees while you sleep. Again, it’s very important that your back remain in a neutral position throughout your night’s sleep. This will help take stress off your lower back.
Sleeping on Your Side
Side sleeping is a perfectly healthy way to sleep as long as you position yourself correctly. When it comes to side sleepers, it’s important to keep your neck aligned with the rest of your body, and not tilted to either side, so make sure your pillows allow for that. Don’t ball up or stack your pillows too high, as this is a great way to make sure your neck won’t feel great in the morning.
Another position to avoid is crossing your legs, one over the other. This cause your lower back to contort and cause pain. What we recommend for side sleepers is, again, using a cervical pillow to keep the neck nice and straight, as well as another pillow placed between your knees. You can use a regular pillow if you like, but many prefer a specially designed knee spacer pillow. This prevents your back from shifting from one side to the other.
Learn More About Restful Sleep with Choice Chiropractic
Finding a comfortable sleeping position can sometimes be easier said than done. For more information and demonstrations on the best positions for sleeping, watch our short How To video. You can also see cervical pillows in action. Still have questions? Contact Choice Chiropractic today!