Sleep is one of the most important activities a person can partake in throughout the 24 hour day. Sleep not only allows for the body to recover and heal itself, it also can allow for mental growth and recollection of past events. Since sleep is one of the fundamentals to living a healthy life, let’s take a look at why some people fall short of having a good night’s sleep. Let’s start with your sleep position. There are 3 classifications of sleep positions, which we have all most likely tried at one point or another.
A common misconception is that sleeping on your back will offer the best support for the lower back and help alleviate back pains. This is true, if done properly. The spine has 3 major curvatures that are impacted during sleep: the neck, middle back and lower back. The most frequently reported issue caused by sleeping on your back is lower back pain. This is partly due to the lack of support for your lower back. The curvature between the hips and middle back tends to be the largest and needs the most support. The best way to alleviate stress on the lower back is to place a pillow under your knees. This will elevate your legs, causing your spine to lay flat and taking pressure and strain off the joints in the lower spine. Use one or two pillows to adjust your legs to best suit your needs. This may feel uncomfortable at first, usually because you are not used to your spine being in the proper position while you fall asleep. Your pillow can also cause strain on your neck. You do not want your neck and head to be tilted too severely. This can restrict the flow of air while you sleep, as well as put strain on your neck, which can result in a stiff neck.
The most common position to sleep in is on your side. Often referred to as the side sleeper, this position can help alleviate pains in the body, but it also can affect other parts of the body negatively. Unlike sleeping on your back, side sleeping will support the natural curvature to your back, alleviating the pressure associated with lower back pain. Sleeping on your side can also help prevent snoring, which can affect both the sleeper and their partner. Some risks that are associated with sleeping on your side can be hip, shoulder and neck pains. When lying on your side, your knees tend to touch, causing stress on your hips. The natural position of the body is for your hips to be straight with space between them. To avoid any lower extremity aches and pains, it is advised to sleep with a pillow between your legs. This will separate the knees, open the hips, and will reduce the stress and strain on your hips. This will also help straighten the slight alteration in the lower spine caused by the rotation of the hip farthest from the mattress. While sleeping on your side, use a pillow that will offer support for your neck. Any slight tilt in the head can cause strain on the neck muscles, resulting in a stiff neck. The shoulder is also a target for pain due to one of the shoulders being forced into the mattress from your body weight. This puts extra stress on the rotator cuff and can result in shoulder pains.
The third sleep position is sleeping on your stomach. This is the most detrimental to your health of all 3 sleep positions. Right off the bat, you may be able to associate some negative effects on the body with this position. The most common complaint is back pain from top to bottom. This is mainly caused by the spine being pulled in an unnatural position. Try and arch your back backwards as far as possible – it doesn’t go far. The spines natural motion is to allow the human body to bend forward, not so much backwards. While sleeping on your stomach, your stomach will fall furthest into the mattress pulling the spine inward, causing stress and strain on the entire spine. The most frequent pain is found in the middle back, as it alters the most.This sleep position also adds excess pressure on the major organs in the body. Your lungs will be constrained from the pressure of your back and spine. The neck is also greatly impacted. Unlike sleeping on your back or side where the head is usually facing straight, sleeping on your stomach forces the head one way or another. This unnatural turn of the neck for hours at a time will cause muscle cramps and aches. Extreme pressure is placed on the neck also; your pillow elevates the head further, while the rest of your body is sinking. It is advised not to sleep with a pillow if you find yourself sleeping on your stomach to avoid greater neck pains. It is recommended to switch your sleep position is you are a stomach sleeper, but if you cannot, try a firm mattress opposed to soft to avoid extension of the spine.
Old fashion spring mattresses may offer support to some, but Sleep Options Natural Latex and Memory Foam mattresses conform to your body for added support. Check out our selection today, and sleep better tonight!