Sleeping positions

by Luke Attkins

Chiropractic AIM muscles and joints Physio Shailer park Lognaholme Cornubia

Sleep is an important component for our bodies to heal, rest and get ready for the activities to come in the day ahead.  But did you know that poor sleeping ergonomics and positions may be doing more harm than good. 

According to the National Sleep Foundation, we spend approximately 33 percent of our lives sleeping.  This is at least one third of our lives in bed.  Therefore, poor ergonomics and sleeping positions that we sleep in at night can lead to hindering our recovery time of injuries or put more strain on our joints.  The main sleeping positions that we tend to gravitate to are stomach, back and side lying.  Certain sleeping positions can be more beneficial than others.

Stomach sleeping

Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position for your spine, as your neck is fully rotated increasing the strain of cervical muscles.  The lower back’s curvature is increased causing an increase in load. Even if you take the pillow away and add a pillow under you’re belly, the amount of cervical rotation necessary for this position can increase your chances of causing or perpetuating neck pain, strain or headaches.  (Stomach sleeping pain areas. Image 1)

Chiropractic AIM muscles and joints Shailer Park Loganholme Cornubia

Back sleeping

When you lie on your back the weight is distributed equally over a large area, this is why the position is deemed best for you. It is important however, that when you lie down on your back you are able to maintain the natural shape of your spine. Another way of de-loading the lower back is by sleeping with a pillow placed underneath your legs.

When you sleep on your back you need a good pillow to support your head and neck. The height of the pillow is dependent on the curvature of your neck. The pillow needs to support the neck in such a way that the concavity is completely filled up otherwise this may cause headaches, neck pain or strain.  (Correct back sleeping, image 2)

Back Chiropractic AIM muscles and joints Shailer Park Loganholme Cornubia

Side sleeping

Side sleeping is a suitable position, provided you are sleeping on the right pillow. When lying on your side the neck can tilt sideways due to the width of the shoulders. This is why it is important to have a pillow that is the right size so the head and neck are properly supported. Some key points to look at for the correct size pillow are; neutral spine and nose is in line with your sternum. 

Use one pillow that has been correctly fitted to your shoulder width and avoid using 2 stacked pillows or one pillow folded up.  Other options for keeping a neutral spine whilst on your side are; putting a pillow between the knees and placing a pillow under the lose arm to help stop the shoulder rolling forward.

(Correct side sleeping posture Image 3)

side sleep chiropractic AIM muscles and joints Shailer Park Loganholme Cornubia