Is The Way You Sleep Hurting You?
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Could the Way you sleep be hurting you? On average a human gets about 6-8 hours of sleep (or at least SHOULD be getting 6-8 hours a night)— that means we spend about 1/3 of our day sleeping and for most of us in the same position for that entire time.
That is a long time to be in the same position. Imagine sitting at work for 8 hours in the exact position all day—would you like it? Would your body be screaming at you? Probably.
So let’s break down the best positions to sleep in and spend those 6-8 hours that won’t hurt your body! We know habits are hard to break so along side those ideal sleeping positions are tips to make even the worst sleeping positions more tolerable for your body .
Check out image below for a visual. The top row of Images (✅) means these positions are okay for your body and take the most pressure off your spine at night. The bottom row of images (❌) are positions that increase pressure and strain on your spine and can be doing more harm than good.
Let's Break Down the Ideal Sleep Positions:
First and foremost the BEST position to sleep in is of course on your back. This position takes the most stress off of the body at night. Sleeping on your back allows the least amount of pressure and strain on your low back and neck (if you have an appropriate pillow)— see ❌ image—pillows that are too big or too flat can cause extra strain on the neck. We want to make sure the spine is neutral!
Some helpful tips to make it even better: 1. Place a pillow under your knees to give those low back muscles a break and take even more pressure off of the lumbar spine 2. Make sure your pillow is not too big or too flat- we want to make sure your cervical spine is neutral.
The SECOND BEST position to sleep in for your spine is on your side!
Some helpful tips to make it even better: 1. Place a pillow between your knees/thighs which can help take pressure off of the lower back and hips. 2. In this position the pillow is even more key. We want to make sure the pillow is not too big, and not too thin- we especially want to make sure your cervical spine is in a neutral position---See ❌ image, again a pillow too big or too flat can cause tension and extra stress on one side of your neck—if you’re waking up with a stiff neck, your pillow may need evaluated.
The last but not least the WORST position for your spine to sleep in is on your stomach! The biggest concern with stomach sleepers is the increase pressure on your low back and strain on the neck from having it turned to one side all night.
Some Helpful tips to make it better: 1. Place a pillow under the lower abdomen to take some pressure off of the lumbar spine. We naturally have a curve in our lumbar spine but sleeping on our stomachs makes that curve even larger and stresses the joints like they shouldn't be stressed. 2. Try to start sleeping on your side-- the best tip I can give is to lay on your side and place 3-4 pillows in front of you so at night when you try to roll onto your stomach the pillows prevent you from rolling all the way over. Eventually your body will break the habit of needing to sleep on your stomach!
How are you sleeping at night? Is your sleep position hurting you? Lets have a chat, schedule an appointment.
Share this with anyone you know that could benefit from these sleeping tips!