SLEEP POSITIONS AND BACK PAIN- A GUIDE TO THE PERFECT SLEEP POSITION
We all know how bothersome back pain can be. Sometimes it is the only thing standing between you and a good night’s sleep.
Experts are not clear about the relationship between sleep and back pain. But sleep deprivation can affect your overall wellbeing. It can also increase your stress level. Needless to say, a common cause of this issue is a backache.
Chris Idzikowski, Ph.D., an expert on sleep assessment has stated that a bad sleep position can make you feel agitated the next day.
So, this points to the importance to discuss this issue. Most of us suffer from back problems at some points in our lives. But you might be surprised at how effective modifying your sleep positions can be to solve this issue.
Stomach Sleeping- The Worst of the Bunch
There can be no sleep position as guilty as stomach sleeping when it comes to increasing your back pain. Our spine has a natural curve. By sleeping on our stomach, we are forcing that curve to flatten. This not only creates pressure on the bones but also stresses the back muscles.
Your neck is always rotated when you are sleeping this way. This leads to an added pressure in that area. The muscles between the shoulders are also affected. Numbness and tingling are common side effects of stomach sleeping. So, try your best to change this position.
Side Sleeping- A Better Option
National Sleep Foundation has found out that most Americans sleep using this position. This sleep position is not entirely without faults. But it exerts less pressure on your spine than stomach sleeping.
Shoulder pain is a common problem with side sleeping. This happens as a side sleeper is putting a large portion of his weight on one shoulder. If you have a tendency to sleep on your right side, you might experience frequent heartburns. There is added stress on the hip too. Therefore, side sleepers also sometimes suffer from hip pain.
Back Sleeping- The Best Sleeping Position
This is a rare way to sleep. More than ninety percent of the population do not sleep on their backs. But this is the best way to ease the back pain.
Your whole body is in a neutral position while you’re sleeping on your back. The pressure on the spine is also evenly distributed. The natural curve of the spine is maintained well.
As a result, you experience back pain a lot less. The muscles are also relaxed and there is no added stress in the shoulder or hip area.
Tips on Making the Switch
If you are considering that you should switch to back sleeping, the process can be daunting. After all, your body is accustomed to one position for a prolonged period of time.
By keeping two pillows on both sides and one under the knees, you can avoid unnecessary movements. These pillows will also stop you from switching back to your old position.
It can be a long and tedious process. Often times you can find yourself falling asleep later than usual. But if you can actually train your body to make the switch, it’ll be worth it.
Tips for Modifying Your Current Sleep Position
For many of us, making the switch to a completely new position can be quite a hassle. If you are a side sleeper for as long as you can remember, it will be very difficult for you to make the switch overnight.
Luckily you can follow a few tips on making your current way to sleep a bit more comfortable.
- Back Sleepers: This is undoubtedly the best position. But you would want to keep a pillow under the knees for added comfort and support.
- Stomach Sleepers: We certainly do not recommend sleeping this way. You can, however, keep a pillow under your lower abdomen for more support. This will decrease the back strains you might have from sleeping on your stomach.
- Side Sleepers: The fetal position is recommended for side sleepers. Keep a pillow between your knees. If you are suffering from heartburn, you might consider sleeping on your left side.
The Sleep Environment Should be Comfortable
The mattresses and pillows you use in your bed should be comfortable. The mattress you sleep on should provide your back with adequate support. A mattress that is very old and has a sagging middle should be replaced.
Whether the pillows or mattresses should be very firm or soft depends on the individual. Go with the one that feels comfortable and supportive enough at the same time.
Mattress toppers are also helpful in supporting your spine. You can try one on your regular mattress.
Use clean sheets that are exempt on any dust and allergens. Your blinds should be closed and there should not be any bright lights near the bed. The environment should be dim and comfortable.
Some Final Words
Back pain can be very irritating. Especially when it is creating sleep disturbances. Modifying your sleep position or switching to a healthier one can solve this problem.
If the pain persists even after following the above guidelines, we recommend you consult a doctor. A doctor can find out if there are any serious problems involved or not.
Shawn is a content writer at FeedFond. He’s as doting a parent to his two children and fitness freak. To read more of his articles, visit Feedfond.com.