Ever have one of those nights of sleep where you just can’t get comfortable, and the next day you feel like you’ve been run over by a Mac truck? It turns out that too many poor nights of sleep are really bad for your general health, as well as your spine. What’s more, your sleeping position may be exacerbating your back pain, or even a major cause of it.
Finding the right sleeping position is an essential step to getting a good night’s sleep, as well as protecting your back from long-term injury. Here are the best sleeping positions to both help you get a restful night and maintain a healthy spine.
On Your Back
This is by far the best sleeping position because it evenly distributes your weight throughout your body, keeping your spine in a completely neutral position. The trick is finding a good way to support your neck so that your neck stays slightly angled down toward your chest (but not too far down). To accomplish this, place either a small pillow or a cylindrical pillow under your neck. Alternatively, roll up a towel and place it in your pillowcase. This will help keep your head in an aligned, neutral position. Additionally, you may find it more comfortable to place a pillow under your knees, which will provide additional support and keep your spine neutral.
On Your Side
If you snore, then lying on your back is probably not the best option. Instead, it’s better to lie on your side. The trick here is find a side position where you spine is straight, as it’s tempting to curl up the body in this position. The best way to ensure this is to rest your shoulder on the mattress as well as place a pillow between your legs, and bend slightly at the hips and knees, almost in a fetal position. The pillow under your head should keep it aligned with your spine (again, keeping it neutral), otherwise you’ll likely wake up with a crick in your neck.
Avoid Sleeping On Your Stomach
If neither of these positions are comfortable to you, then you may be tempted to sleep on your stomach. Generally speaking, this is not a good position, especially if you experience lower back pain. This position usually pushes the neck back, keeping the spine fully engaged. That said, if this is the only way you can fall asleep, try at least putting a pillow under your hips and not using any pillow under your head. This will keep your spine in the optimal position.
If you’re experiencing back pain and having trouble sleeping, adjusting your sleeping position may make a world of difference. Remember, getting more high-quality sleep can help with both brain and body function!
Schedule a consultation with our spine specialists, and we’ll help you find one that works best for you. Please call Pain and Spine Specialists in Maryland at 301-703-8767, in Pennsylvania at 724-603-3560, or in Virginia 540-433-1905 to make an appointment or use the form on our site to send us a message.