What are the Healthiest Sleeping Postures?
Everybody has their favourite sleeping position. However, some are better for you than others.
Best Sleeping Position
Try to sleep in a position that helps you maintain the curve in your lower back. We recommend lying on your back with a pillow under your knees (if more comfortable) or on your side with your knees slightly bent.
It is preferable to not sleep on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest (the foetal position). However, having said that some back conditions will find this preferable. You should seek the advice of your physiotherapist if you are in doubt.
If you are suffering back pain, you could try lying over a lumbar roll or peanut cushion at night to make you more comfortable. A rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist may also be helpful.
You may wish to avoid sleeping on your stomach, especially on a saggy mattress. This can cause back strain and can be uncomfortable for your neck.
Select a firm mattress or an ensemble that does not sag. If necessary, place a board under your mattress. You can also place the mattress on the floor temporarily if necessary. If you've always slept on a soft surface, it may be initially painful to change to a harder surface. Try to do what's most comfortable for you.
Rising from Bed
When standing up from the lying position, turn on your side, draw up both knees and swing your legs over the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. Bend forward at your waist with your core muscles activated.
The human neck curves slightly forward (to sustain the weight of the head when upright), and it is very important to maintain this curve when in a resting position. If the height of the pillow is too high or low when sleeping, your neck is bent abnormally out of alignment, causing muscle and joint strain. You can even wake with headaches.
Poor pillow support can also cause narrowing of the air pipe, resulting in obstructed breathing, and sometimes snoring, which can hinder sleep.
The best lying or sleeping position may vary, depending on your symptoms. No matter what position you lie in, the pillow should be under your head, but not your shoulders, and should be a thickness that allows your head to be in a normal position.
To give your body the proper rest it needs, and to ensure the health of your spine, physiotherapists recommend only two sleeping positions:
Sleeping on your side, with the spine straight. (as shown)
Sleeping on your back, maintaining the primary curvature of the cervical spine. (as shown)
Both of these positions prevent poor alignment of the neck and upper back.
Proper alignment can help to reduce the number of neck aches, back aches, pinched nerves, shoulder and arm referred pain, insomnia, and mental fatigue from a lack of effective sleep.
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