I am asked a lot what the best way to sleep is. The hierarchy in my opinion is as follows, from best to worst; back, side, front. When you sleep on your back you help to preserve the natural curves of your back and neck which in turn will decrease the stress load put on them. Sleeping on your side can be a very effective and non-stressful way to sleep but you have to follow some simple steps to make it easier on yourself. The worst way to sleep is on your stomach. This is unless you have a bed where you can keep your head looking forward while you sleep but not many people have those.
Maintaining a neutral posture is the most important thing to remember so you don’t wake up in the morning stiff somewhere. Here are 3 tips to help keep yourself in a neutral position while you are in dreamland.
- If you are side sleeper make sure there is something between your knees to help keep your pelvis and legs level. One of those big body pillows works great at this because it keeps your upper body in line as well. The goal of this is to make your right and left sides look the same. Think of what a mirror would look like if you put one between your arms and legs.
- If you are a back sleeper make sure to put something under your knees to put a slight bend in them. This will help to keep you on your back and take some of the pressure off of your lower back muscles.
- If you are stomach sleeper I would caution you to try and change that to a more neutral way of sleeping as prolonged sleeping on your stomach can cause a lot of issues. Try to not keep your arms up over your head while you sleep. I’ve seen many, many people that do this and have not only neck and back but shoulder issues as well.
Christopher Foust, DC, DACBSP® Synergy Chiropractic, LLC