There’s no better feeling than waking up refreshed and energized after a good night’s sleep. However, very few people actually pay attention to the position they sleep in. Did you know that your sleeping position can have a significant impact on your overall health? Your sleeping position not only affects your energy levels, but also your blood pressure, weight maintenance, and heart health. It’s estimated that the average person will spend 1/3 of their life asleep, which means the positions we sleep in have a significant impact on our everyday lives.
When you wake up with back pain, your first instinct is usually to evaluate your mattress. You might be surprised to know that more often than not, it’s not your mattress causing your back pain, but the position you sleep in. Usually, morning back pain and stiffness are a result from low-grade inflammation caused by awkward sleeping positions. Your back is one of the most vulnerable areas to this type of inflammation, so it’s important to make the changes needed when you come to the realization.
Although laying on your stomach may ease snoring, it’s actually the worst position to sleep in. First, you strain your neck by turning your head to the side on the pillow so you can breathe. This position makes it difficult to keep your spine in a neutral position, putting pressure on your back and neck joints. Eight hours with this pressure on your joints can lead to numbness, tingling, aches, and irritated nerves. Sleeping on your stomach can also affect your facial features, causing the formation and progression of wrinkles.
If you absolutely must sleep on your stomach, doctors suggest switching up your pillows. Instead of twisting your head to the side, stay face down. Prop your forehead up on a pillow to keep your airways open so you can breathe. Another alternative is placing a pillow under your hips and pelvis. By supporting your pelvis with a pillow, you are taking the pressure off your spine by keeping it in a more neutral position.
Most Americans sleep on their sides, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleeping on your side helps you maintain the natural curve in your spine, which is why it’s one of the best positions to sleep in. Not only does sleeping on your side help reduce the risk of back pain, it can also help decrease acid reflex and heartburn if you are on your left side. Although there are benefits to sleeping on your side, there are also some disadvantages if you are not giving your head enough support.
Avoid flat pillows if you sleep on your side because it will put lots of pressure on your shoulders. Most side sleepers prop their arm up under their head to give themselves more support, but that actually puts pressure on your nerves and can restrict blood flow. Look for a pillow that is thick enough to support your head to eliminate constricting your neck and shoulder muscles.
Back sleeping is the best position to sleep in, yet very few people actually do. By laying on your back, you are allowing your body to rest in a neutral position. Your head, neck, and spine are not twisted in any sort of contortion when you’re on your back, which keeps them correctly aligned. This position evenly distributes your body weight and minimizes pressure points, eliminating the risk of pain.
When sleeping on your back, you may want to use a few pillows. Try to find a rounded pillow to place under your neck to make sure it is supported. To optimize this sleeping position, place a small pillow under your knees to support the natural curve of your spine. although this position is great for your back, it can cause adverse effects for people who snore. Sleeping on your back can aggravate the symptoms that lead to sleep apnea or worsen your condition.
RSI Can Provide the Relief You Need
If you are experiencing pain when you wake up, RSI can help you get back to getting a restful night’s sleep. Click here or call us at (904) 646-2673 to schedule a consultation.