Why sleeping position matters.
How do you feel when you wake up in the mornings?Refreshed,rested,and ready to go? Or stiff,achy,and wishing you could go back to sleep for another few hours? The difference may depend on your sleeping position.
Sleeping on your back
Most experts agree that sleeping on your back is the ideal position,but it’s not for everyone.When you sleep on your back you stretch your body out evenly on the mattress.Your head,neck,and spine are aligned in a neutral position-there’s no extra stress on on any part of your body.As a chiropractor,I recommend back sleeping,because it put the least amount of pressure on the vertebrae and discs of the spine.
If you have acid reflux,lying on your back with your head elevated a bit by your pillow is a good way to keep acid from coming up.If you already snore,laying on your back makes it louder.This is the most likely to trigger “Honey,roll over” from your bed partner.It’s also the worst position for sleep apnea,a sleep disorder that makes your breathing repeatedly stop and then start again,sometimes with a loud snorting or choking sound,usually because the throat muscles relax during sleep and block the trachea.
Sleeping on your side
The side position,with your torso straight and legs stretched,keeps your spine elongated and unstressed.If you tend to wake up with neck and back pain,try this position-after a few days,you’ll notice a positive change in how you feel in the morning.Its also a good choice if you snore or have sleep apnea,because it helps keep your airway open.If you have acid reflux,sleeping on your side keeps the acid from coming up.
The fetal position
Curling up on your side,much as babies and small children,is perhaps the idea sleeping position.With your torso and legs bent,you’re putting as little stress as possible on your spine while you sleep.Put a pillow between your knees to reduce the risk of lower back pain or stiffness.
Sleeping on your stomach
This position puts a lot of pressure on the back and neck.Because you have to turn your head to one side to breath,your likely to wake up with a stiff and sore neck and shoulder muscles; you might even wake with numbness and tingling in your arms.
Choosing the right pillow
Your bed pillow is critically important for supporting your head and neck aligned while you sleep. Choose a pillow that matches your favorite sleeping position.Nevertheless,good sleep position won’t make up for a bad mattress.Anecdotal reports from patients that suggest the ideal mattress is made of memory foam.A memory foam mattress contours to the spine’s natural curves and distributes body weight evenly.With no pressure points or sags,memory foam mattresses promote comfortable sleep through the night.
Robert G. Silverman,DC