Your Sleep Position and Your Back
Do you ever wake up with a stiff or aching back? More importantly, do you find it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position as a result of your already-existing back pain?
Pain is one of the most common reasons for insomnia, and insomnia represents a huge health problem. Getting enough sleep each night is as essential to your overall health as eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise are, so if lower back pain is interfering with the quality of the sleep you’re getting or the quantity of your sleep (or both), you need to take corrective measures.
If your back is interfering with your sleep, one of the first things that you need to look at is the position that you’re sleeping in. Though it may seem natural to you, there are certain positions that make existing back pain worse, and can cause back pain where none previously existed. Spine specialists will tell you that there is one particular sleeping position that you should avoid at all costs in order to preserve your spine’s health, while two others are much better as long as you provide yourself with the appropriate support.
So what are the wrong way and right ways to sleep?
The best way to make sure that you’re sleeping in a healthy position is to pretend that you can see through your skin and muscle and get a clear view of your spine. If the position that you’re sleeping in forces your spine to arch awkwardly in any direction, then it needs to be addressed.
Let’s look at what happens when you sleep on your stomach.
If you could see your spine while you’re lying on your stomach, you’d see an unnatural arch, with your hips thrust too high up in the air in relation to the rest of your spine.
Making matters worse, you have no choice but to turn your head a full 90 degrees to the left or the right in order to breathe. Stay in that position for 8 hours without moving and you’re sure to wake up sore. If stomach sleeping is the only thing that will work for you, help your poor back by positioning a pillow under your hips to cut down on the arch in your lower spine.
What about lying on your side or your stomach?
These are the two healthiest sleep positions, as long as you use pillows appropriately.
Again, imagine you can see through to your spine. If you’re lying on your back, having your legs stretched out in front of you actually forces an arch in your lower spine. By placing a pillow behind your knees, you return your spine to a neutral position. If you’re lying on your side, you need to put that pillow between your knees so that the weight of the top leg doesn’t drag your spine downward.
Also make sure that the pillow you place under your head isn’t so high that it forces your neck to bend unnaturally.
The right sleep position can alleviate back pain and give you a good night of sleep. If that doesn’t help and pain is keeping you up at night, contact our office to set up a time for an appointment.