People try all sorts of things to get comfortable for sleep. Sleep position is one of the most debated topics. Is it best to sleep on your side, back, or stomach? While we can’t tell you which one is going to help you personally to get the best night of sleep, we can tell you which will be best for your spine health.
Avoid This Sleep Position for Spine Health
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Sleeping on your stomach is terrible for your spine. In reality, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. You can’t breathe facedown in a pillow. That means stomach sleepers have their head tilted to one side all night long. Imagine walking around with your head twisted to the side for eight hours during the day. It’s clear that kind of long-term twisting of the spine is not going to be good for your neck or back. It can pinch vital neurovascular structures. If you are a stomach sleeper, your best approach to spine health is to get used to sleeping in a different position.
Protecting Your Spine as a Side Sleeper
You are not guaranteed good spine health simply because you don’t sleep on your stomach. For side sleepers, the best way to keep your hips in proper alignment is to sleep with a pillow between your knees. This will keep you from twisting your lower back one way or the other while you are asleep. It may also make the sleep position more comfortable since your knees won’t be rubbing together. Also, be sure the pillow for your head provides enough cushion to prop your head up without hunching your shoulders.
How to Sleep on Your Back
Back sleeping is arguably the best position for your spine. Even then, you may feel some soreness in the lumbar region in the morning if you don’t have any support. One way to relieve the strain on the lower back is to slightly elevate your knees. Again, this can be done with a fairly flat pillow. You don’t need a lot of elevation to remove the pressure from your lower spine.
Treating Your Back Right at Night and During the Day
Regardless of how you sleep, it’s a good idea to start and end the day with some gentle stretching. This can help you to reduce nighttime stiffness even further. In addition, chiropractic care can help keep your spine in proper alignment. For chiropractic care in the Fairfax region, call Ward Chiropractic & Rehabilitation at 703.672.1661, or you can request an appointment online.