Not a week goes by that I am not advising or someone is asking about the correct sleeping position. Sleeping position is broken down into 3 categories: side, back or front. The goal of a good sleeping position is to keep a neutral spine and reduce pressure points on the body. When we explore these three positions only side and back make the grade of good positions, and here’s why:
- Back sleeping is great with a well supported mattress, as the body is spread out and can be kept in a neutral position. If you are having low back pain and regularly sleep on your back, just get a pillow under your knees; that will let your back rest more comfortably. Under-the-head pillow selection is very important here. For most people one pillow that is low profile works best. We don’t want the head pressed forward with an oversized pillow. For people who have that forward head posture, then a larger pillow will make it comfortable for back sleeping, but again make sure your head is not being pressed forward.
- Side sleeping can also be a great sleeping posture but it is important that you support the whole body. A pillow between your legs is crucial for keeping the knees and hips in good alignment. This sleeping posture will also benefit from a foam pad on the mattress to help reduce the pressure on the point of the hip and the shoulder. Properly fitting pillows are crucial for the neck when side sleeping. The width of your shoulders will dictate the size of the pillow(s) needed. If you were to draw a line from the top of your head through your nose to the middle of your chin, that line should go straight down your body.
- Front sleeping – This is the big no-no for sleeping. Unless you can breathe through the back of your head, that is! There is no way you can sleep on your belly without having you neck cranked to one side to breathe. This puts a lot of pressure on you neck and upper thoracic area. These are unfortunately the two areas that we put a lot of postural strain on when we work at a computer or desk or drive for long periods. In order to change this, your best bet is to aim for side sleeping. Get a body pillow and hug it. This will keep your shoulders up from rolling onto your front, and help reduce the neck pressure. Perseverance is key to changing your sleeping position. It will take months to change, but stick with it. It’s worth it.