Unless you are a baby or a little child, the days are over where you can fall asleep in any weird sleeping postures and still wake up pain-free and refreshed. Compounding this, your sleep quality and quantity have decreased as well.
Unfortunately, as we age, our muscles, joints, and soft tissues become stiffer and less pliable. Good sleep postures become more important. And sleeping in awkward positions can be a recipe for disaster for our body.
In our Burnaby Physiotherapy practice, we see clients come in with all sorts of issues from sleep!
These may include:
You may already be suffering from back, neck, shoulder, hip, or knee pain. Sleep in a bad posture will aggravate an existing injury and at worse, slow down the healing process. Your Physiotherapist will assess your injury, and recommend the best sleeping posture based on the findings.
Good sleep postures can be difficult to maintain. You can start off with the best sleeping position but once you get into a deep sleep there is no guarantee of how you will wake up. Using multiple pillows can be useful to help maintain a proper position to ensure your head, neck, shoulder, back, hips, and knees are aligned.
Our team at EastWest Physiotherapist Burnaby can show you some sleeping positions that can make your night a little more comfortable.
What Is The Best Sleeping Posture?
If you are a back sleeper, choose a supportive pillow that is not too thick or thin. The goal is to keep your neck in neutral alignment. Your Physiotherapist may recommend a cervical roll placed under the curvature of the neck to support it.
Your chin should not be poking upward or downward, it should be at a 90-degree angle with the body.
Place a pillow underneath the knees to keep it bent. You will find that your back flattens and is more relaxed. For those experiencing low back pain, this sleeping posture can be a game-changer.
As a side sleeper ensure that your neck is in a neutral position. Keep your spine aligned to prevent undue stress on the joints of the neck. Good sleeping posture in side-sleeping requires support, so you will need a pillow.
To help the shoulders, try hugging a pillow. You may also roll the lower shoulder forward. You may place the hand under the pillow or straight out to prevent excessive weight and pressure on the shoulder joint. In some cases, your Physiotherapist may not recommend sleeping on your injured shoulder at all.
A large body pillow is useful here to help improve sleep posture for the body.
Sleeping on your stomach is the worst sleeping posture out of the 3. For the neck, chances are you need to turn your head in one direction for an extended period of time. For the back, this sleeping posture arches the low back and can tighten it. Most people with stiff, painful lower back do not do well with this position.
If you are someone who can only sleep or fall asleep on your stomach, let’s go through a couple of ways to minimize the stress on your body.
Use a very thin or no pillow for the head. A thick pillow will extend your neck. Combined with an extreme rotation of the neck, this can pinch your neck joints and create imbalances in your neck and shoulder region.
Place a pillow under the belly to decrease excessive arching of the low back and help to put the spine in a slightly more neutral position.
You may also rotate your body so you are not completely on your stomach. Using a body pillow, you can bend one knee and support one arm in this position.
Your Physiotherapist will help guide you on the best sleeping posture based on your condition.