Fact : we spend 1/3 of our lives asleep.
We don’t just sleep because it is a nice to have, this is the time when things shut down and your body gets to work on all of the highway maintenance. Getting enough good quality sleep is vital for recovery and healing as well as making sure that you don’t feel run down. In fact, studies have shown those who sleep poorly have less tolerance to pain & greater levels of inflammation in the body than their well rested counterparts.
While we can’t control all of our sleeping habits (drooling and snoring included), we can support the body as best as possible to prevent any aggravation on our spines that would wake us up prematurely.
Laying on your back is the winner for best sleeping position. You simply need a pillow behind the neck & a pillow under the knees, this works to keep the spinal curves more neutral while you rest. This allows for the spine to be in a position where gravity isn’t creating that forward drag on the ligaments of the spine that we have every day. This comes in handy when most of us are slumping down behind a desk for that first 1/3 of our day, if we spend the other 1/3 wisely and use our sleeping position to stretch us back out this could well help for better recovery from a long days work.
Our runner up for the best position is side-sleeping. This is a great solution for people that are trying to wean off of stomach sleeping and those who have medical conditions which make sleeping on the back difficult. There is a downside where a lot of twisting can happen in the hips & shoulders and the neck needs the right level of support for this position to be a true spine saver. To make this happen:- Pillow height should be tweaked to make sure the neck is aligned with the rest of the spine – To stop the hips from twisting a dense pillow between the knees ensures a neutral pelvis – To resist shoulder rotation having something to hold onto & cuddle will actually work to support the arms and chest.
If you aren’t getting comfortable in either position, it might be time for a spinal check up with the chiropractor, because back pain is definitely not something to lose sleep over.
Dr Lauren Downing (Doctor of Chiropractic)