Many people don’t consider how their sleeping position can effect their back and neck, but as a chiropractor, we like to think of all aspects that can cause pain or tension in that area. Sleeping definitely plays an important role in your spinal well-being. That’s why Crevar Chiropractic emphasizes the importance of a good night’s rest!
Everyone has his or her own preferred position to get the best night’s sleep, but what does your sleeping position really mean? It turns out that certain sleep styles have specific implications and can provide all sorts of benefits beyond feeling well rested, including proper spine alignment.
Some positions can be harmful to your spine and neck. Switching sleep positions can even help prevent wrinkles, snoring, neck pain and acid reflux. Read on to find out what your sleep position means and the pros and cons of different sleep styles.
Many doctors, including chiropractors, agree that sleeping on your back is the best. It benefits your neck and spine because the back lays straight and isn’t forced into contortions. It also helps your mattress do its job of supporting your spine while resting. In the perfect world, everyone would sleep on his or her back without a pillow to put the neck in a neutral position. With more pillows, breathing becomes more difficult.
Back sleeping is also the best for the more cosmetically inclined. Spending the night with your face out in the air instead of smashed up against a pillow leads to fewer wrinkles.
However, there are some shortcomings to sleeping on your back. Snoring is more frequent because gravity forces the base of the tongue to collapse into the airway and obstructs breathing.
If you’re experiencing neck pain, it’s recommended you sleep on your back with your neck in a neutral position with the pillow resting above your shoulders. For back pain, place a rolled towel under the small of your back or under your knees. Sleeping on your back could also help if you experience acid reflux by elevating the head with pillows.
Sleeping on the side is the most common sleeping position, with 57% of people at least starting their night in this position. A major pro for pregnant women, sleeping on the left side helps blood circulation and relieves pressure from the lower back. Lying on the left side can also help by easing heartburn and acid reflux.
It is recommended to sleep on your side if you are experiencing shoulder pain. Placing a big pillow at chest height and resting your arm on it, as if you are hugging another person, will relieve pain.
To help with snoring, side sleeping avoids collapsing of the tongue and therefore prevents snoring or sleep apnea.
Sleeping on your side also helps with back pain. Place a pillow between your knees for extra support and lay in a fetal-like position. This also helps those with knee problems and lumbar spinal stenosis.
If you have any pain in your feet, such as plantar fasciitis, sleeping on your side helps to keep your feet and ankles in a relaxed position. You should also avoid tucking your feet into the sheets too tightly.
Sleeping on your stomach is the least common sleeping position, with only 11% of people beginning their nights on their stomachs. The main benefit of this style is the ease of snoring, but that’s about it.
Sleeping on your stomach can be hard on your back and neck. If you must sleep on your stomach, place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen to help relieve this strain.
If you’re experiencing any tension in your back or neck, come visit us in North Charleston and we’ll get you in line and on the right sleeping track.
Want to find out more about what different sleeping positions mean? Check out this article that reveals how your sleep style defines your personality (watch out stomach sleepers!).
What position do you find yourself sleeping in most often? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.