Sleep & The Spine
Do you toss and turn at night trying to find a comfortable position to sleep? Do you wake up in the morning with pain or stiffness? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, it may because of poor sleep positioning.
Before sleep positioning can be addressed, we must first talk about selecting the right mattress and pillow. Mattresses typically last between 8 and 10 years before they start to become unsupportive. If you have a mattress or pillow that has worn down over the years from nightly use, you face a problem with your sleep ergonomics. When selecting a mattress, it is important to try before you buy. A general rule when choosing a mattress is that back and side sleepers need a less firm mattress and stomach sleepers should choose a firmer mattress. Selecting the right pillow also depends on your typical sleep position. Back sleepers should choose a pillow that supports the natural curvature of the neck, like the proper pillow, without lifting the head too high off the bed. Side sleepers should select a pillow (or two) that fill the space between the ear and the bed, allowing the head to remain in a neutral position when compared to the rest of the body. Stomach sleepers should select flatter pillows to keep as close to a neutral posture as possible.
When choosing a sleeping position, the most important thing to consider is how are you most comfortable and how can you get the highest quality, most restorative sleep. The easiest way to accomplish this is to find sleeping postures that allow you to maintain a neutral position. Generally speaking, sleeping on your back is the least stressful position for your spine. If you have neck, low back, or shoulder pain this may be the position that you find to be the most comfortable. Modifications to this position include putting a pillow underneath your knees to help take some of the stress off your low back. Keeping a neutral position when side sleeping requires more set-up. The first step is to find a pillow or pillows that fill the space between the ear and the bed, as previously mentioned. Using a body pillow or a pillow between the legs can also help to maintain a neutral position of the pelvis and hips when sleeping on your side. If your preferred sleep position is on your stomach, having a firm mattress with a flat pillow.
On top of these sleep posture recommendations, it is also beneficial to see if there are any structural changes to your normal, standing posture. At Chiropractic Health and Wellness, each of our doctors specialize in a corrective technique known as Chiropractic Biophysics to assess and correct any abnormal curvatures of the spine that may be impacting your health. Schedule an appointment today!