The Best Way to Sleep for Better Health

By Sara Butler

Sleep Health and Your Spine

There’s nothing quite as magnificent as snuggling under your covers after a long day to relax and go to sleep. It’s important to remember that while your mind may shut off when you sleep, your body doesn’t stop. Nighttime is its time to regenerate and refresh so you can wake up the next day ready to go. But when it comes to neck and back pain, your body could use a little help from you.

Sleeping positions have a huge impact on your spinal health. It’s not unusual for people to wake up and immediately know that something didn’t go right during the night -- that crick in the neck is often a telltale sign. The way you sleep ensures that you wake up feeling refreshed, but you must ensure that you’re sleeping in a way that supports the health of your spine. Here are a few of the best sleeping positions recommended by chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic.

The Fetal Position

If you channel your inner infant at night, then you’re doing it right! The fetal position is by far one of the most popular sleeping positions and one of the most recommended too.

The National Sleep Foundation reports that this sleeping position has many benefits. It’s great for people who suffer from lower back pain, it can help to reduce snoring, and it’s (ironically) a great position for expectant mothers.

To ensure you’re supporting your spine adequately in this position, enlist the help of pillows. When you get into bed, roll onto your side and position a pillow under your head and neck to keep your spine in a neutral position -- which means you should be able to draw a straight line between your lower spine and the top of your head. Your head shouldn’t be propped up above the line of your body or tilting down, either. Draw your knees to your chest loosely so you can breathe comfortably and use a pillow between your knees to help take some pressure off the lower back. Now you can let the healthy sleeping begin!

On the Side

Another chiropractor-approved sleeping position is the classic side sleeping posture, which is often mentioned interchangeably with the fetal position. This sleep position is good for you because it can help reduce snoring if that’s a problem, reduce heartburn, and may help to improve digestion. Plus, it’s good for your spine.

To sleep on your side correctly, utilize the help of a few pillows. As always, your head should be in line with the rest of your body, fitting comfortably into the space between your ear and bed in order to keep your head straight. You should also place a pillow between your knees in order to help take some of the stress and strain off your hips and lower spine as you sleep. If there are any other gaps between your body and bed, don’t be afraid to add more pillows, either! Some people like to hug a large pillow in this position as well to help support their arms and shoulders.

On Your Back

If you prefer to sleep on your back, you won’t get an argument from your chiropractor about it! Sleeping on the back is a great way to support the spine as you sleep. It helps to distribute the weight of your body evenly and minimizes pressure points as it helps support proper alignment of the neck, head, and spine.

If you want to make sleeping on your back even healthier for you back, then place a pillow beneath your knees. This can help to provide additional support to your lower back and reduce some of the strain placed on it as you sleep. As always, make sure you have a good pillow supporting your head and neck so that it’s in alignment with the rest of your body.

No Man’s Land

There is one sleeping position no chiropractor will ever recommend to you: Sleeping on your stomach.

If you’re a stomach sleeper, then you’ve likely experienced some of the negative side effects of spending hours on end with your neck and head twisted to the side. Issues such as neck pain and lower back pain can creep up when sleeping face down. Although some people may contend that sleeping on your stomach can help with snoring and sleep apnea, it’s one of the most taxing positions for your back and neck and can lead to poor sleep quality as a result.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t sleep on your stomach. If you do, then have a discussion with your chiropractor about how you can change this habit to protect the health of your spine.

The Bottom Line

You spend about one-third of your life sleeping, so the position in which you spend your time sawing logs is pretty important to your spinal health. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, then talk to chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic about the position you sleep in as well as some of your other sleep habits. They may be able to help you find a way to sleep more comfortably to ensure you begin each day rested and ready to go!

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