On average, we’ll spend 26 years of our lives sleeping so it’s no surprise the way, and how we sleep can have a significant impact on our physical and mental wellbeing.
The aim of the optimum sleep position, is to minimise the stress on the spine, so ideally sleep side lying or on your back. Sleeping on your front forces the neck into rotation, alters the natural curve of the lower back and creates muscle strain, so is the one position you want to avoid.
To optimise your side lying position, ensure
- Your head is in line with the body, with no significant bending or rotation of the neck (if struggle with this, using a specialist pillow that is adjustable could help, such as the Complete Sleeperrr one we stock in the clinic).
- To help low back pain, place a spare rolled up blanket/pillow/pregnancy cushion between the knees. This is especially useful with low back pain as it takes stress off the pelvis and prevents rotation through the spine. Bigger pillows, rolled up blankets and pregnancy cushions are ideal for this as you can hug them too, keeping the spine in line.
If your sleep position is lying on your back:
- Make sure the pillow isn’t too high/low, don’t want to force the head/neck into flexion or extension. With low back pain, some people find that putting a pillow under their knees helps prevent/ease symptoms.
We often get asked if you should change your mattress to alleviate pain. If you’re in acute pain and it was comfortable before, wait! Your mattress is likely to be fine after the episode subsides.
Along with your sleeping position, it’s also important to consider all the other aspects that can help ensure you have good, quality sleep. From reducing naps during the day, the time spent on electronic devices before bed and limiting food and caffeine intake several hours before bed, all can help ensure you have a good night’s sleep and feel rejuvenated the next day.