A question I often ask my guests (patients), who come to see me at the chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, is “what position do you sleep in?”. Similarly, a question I often get asked in return is “what is the best sleeping position for my back and neck?”
The responses I get from my first question are often varied but tend to follow a typical pattern. This is especially true with back pain and neck pain. Most people, after having chiropractic treatment, often change the position that they sleep in. This is because it feels better for their back and neck.
Changing your sleeping position is a really important change in order to get the most out of your chiropractic treatment.
As you’re reading this blog, think about what position you tend to favour at night. Do you think the way you sleep is causing your back or neck pain? When was the last time you changed your sleeping position?
The idea of this blog is to answer some of your questions about sleeping position. It is also to help you find the most comfortable sleeping position for you.
Good quality sleep is essential for the human body. We tend to sleep between 6-8 hours a night which means a comfortable sleeping position is crucial. Especially if we are going to keep our spines healthy.
A lot of back pain and neck pain is caused by improper sleeping position. Poor sleep can exacerbate an underlying neuro-musculoskeletal (nerves, muscles and joints) problem. Old pillows and mattresses can also contribute to poor sleeping positions.
The aim is to sleep in a neutral position to maintain proper spinal alignment without twisting or tightening your body.
If you Sleep on your Back
Sleeping on our back is the healthiest position for us when it comes to our spines. This is because when we sleep on our back, a neutral spine is maintained. This means less pressure on the muscles and joints. Less pressure on the muscles and joints means less pain!
With only 8% of people finding it comfortable to sleep on their back (or to avoid snoring!) it is one of the least common sleeping positions. These stats are national, not just us in Eastbourne.
What is the Best Back Sleeping Position for my Back and Neck?
In order to sleep on your back comfortably, you will need one pillow to support the curve of your neck and one pillow underneath your knees. I am demonstrating this in one of the photos.
If you Sleep on your Side
As well as sleeping on your back, sleeping on your side can elongate the spine and keep it neutral. It is a more favourable sleeping position with 15% of people choosing to sleep on their side. It is also better to reduce snoring.
This means no foetal position! As 41% of adults sleep in the foetal position, it is quite commonly the cause of back pain and neck pain. This is because the spine is not kept in a neutral position.
What is the Best Side Sleeping Position for my Back and Neck?
The rules for comfortable side sleeping include:
- Two pillows to support the space between the shoulder and the neck (depending on shoulder width).
- Knees in line with each other.
- A pillow between your knees.
I am demonstrating these rules in one of the photos. This is our clinic in Eastbourne!
If you Sleep on your Front
Sleeping on your front is the least healthy position for your spine and can cause the most discomfort. This is because both the top half (neck) and bottom half (pelvis) are twisted. This means there is more pressure on the muscles and joints.
At the chiropractic clinic in Eastbourne, I tend to advise people to try a different sleeping position. this helps them to get the most out of their chiropractic care.
If this is hard for you, try getting some new pillows or a new mattress. Especially if they haven’t been replaced for two or eight years, respectively.
If you know someone around the Eastbourne area who you think will benefit from learning about sleeping position. Show them this blog or ask your chiropractor for more information!
To read more about sleep, click here
Yours in Health
Want to find out more about low back pain?
We have a huge variety of blogs on low back pain. If you’ve found this blog helpful and would like to find out more, then please check out one of our other blogs on low back pain below.
General advice and self-help advice
Stretching and exercises
Posture and Low Back Pain
Sleeping and Low Back Pain
Gardening and Low Back Pain
Back pain in the elderly
By James Revell
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