Sleep is important to our overall health, but the way we sleep is what’s important to our spines. We’ve put together this post, “Sleep on this: optimal positions for a restful night”, because we care about the health of your spine at Back & Body.
As a rule, human beings spend about one third of our lives sleeping. Quality sleep allows us to function at our best. It gives our bodies a chance to rest and our brains a chance to dream. While we’re doing it, we need to give some thought to our body positions, to ensure that we’re getting the best night’s rest we can, while looking after our backs.
Pillows – not just for your head.
The primary use of pillows is to rest our heads on. But the pillow itself is important. The pillows you choose should be soft enough to create an impression in which to lay your head, allowing your neck to fall into a natural position that supports spine health.
Pillows can also be employed to place between the knees, or under them. When lying on your back, you can place undue strain on the lumbar area when you don’t support your knees with a pillow. The pillow, by pushing your knees off the bed 5 to 6 inches, permits your spine to gently curve, pressing your vertebrae against the mattress.
When lying on your side, a pillow should be placed between your knees. By doing this you’re reducing stress on your joints, as well as preventing the hips from rotating – another stress that can produce problems for your spine, if not corrected.
Using pillows strategically is one of the best things you can do to protect your spine. You’ll also find (not too surprisingly) that your sleep comfort will improve, making for a much more restful night.
And now, let’s take about what not to do.
Not on your stomach.
The worst possible sleeping position is on the stomach.
I used to wind up sleeping on my stomach no matter how the night started out, but I took measures to break myself of the habit once I discovered how bad it is for the spine and health in general. How did I do it? I surrounded myself on both sides with pillows. As I laid them out each night, I reminded myself why I was doing it. It took some time, but I broke myself of sleeping on my stomach.
It might take awhile, but breaking yourself of sleeping on your stomach is one of the reasons I decided to write “Sleep on this: optimal positions for a restful night.” You’re probably thinking “But it’s natural! Babies do it!”. Perhaps, but babies are like cats – almost boneless, it seems. They’re extremely flexible. Can you say that about yourself? Probably not and the strain on your spine is just not worth it.
So, “Sleep on this: optimal positions for a restful night” is really about developing sleep hygiene that serves your body. Contact us to find out more.