From osteo ldn

WHAT ARE THE OPTIMAL SLEEPING POSITIONS FOR HEALTH AND PAIN RELIEF?

One of the essential aspects of a balanced and healthy lifestyle is none other than sleep.

This simple everyday necessity plays a critical role in our overall health and wellbeing. And failure to get enough restful Zs can seriously affect our mood and our bodies' function.

So, please don't jump to just blaming a lack of exercise or poor diet on how you're feeling.

Instead, take a look at your sleeping routine and realise its importance in your everyday life.
For some of us, the cure to a sleepless night is none other than a spritz of lavender oil on the pillow, a calming meditation video or the imaginative counting of sheep.

Other times and for a large percentage of the population, this annoyingly isn't enough to drift off into that restful, peaceful slumber your body craves.

Insomnia is a plague of its own, but key elements of genuinely good sleep also have a lot to do with our sleeping positions throughout the night.

Depending on your body and your unique aches and pains, there are optimal sleeping positions that aid in accomplishing a much-needed good night's rest.

It's no real surprise that back pain is one of those things that can be directly affected by sleep and the body positions you've subconsciously settled into.

However, like most things in life, there are times it's necessary to adapt to change so that you can find a way to sleep to prevent that irritating and painful back.

HOW TO SLEEP TO PREVENT BACK PAIN

The way we sleep and the sleeping positions we adopt sometimes trigger the back pain felt the following day.

We all know that a good mattress and a comfortable bed are vital players in getting deep sleep, but how we sleep is a facet that we tend to ignore. Laying your head on the pillow and tossing and turning all night, should no longer cut it.

Back pain struggles can be from several causes; be it working habits, exercise mistakes or improper lifting, though when combined with improper sleep positioning, it progresses an already annoying and frustrating pain further.

There are a few different things to keep in mind when sleeping properly for your back.

  • PILLOW PLACEMENT
  • There are ways to use pillows to your advantage, beyond just a place to lay your head. Different pillow placements can provide necessary support and help to maintain your spines natural curve

  • BODY ALIGNMENT
  • You may have heard that the joints in our bodies are linked together, so try not to forget this. When you think of your body alignment as a whole, you can ensure proper alignment of limbs when drifting off to sleep. One knee down and one knee up, for example, aren't helping to support your natural curve.

  • SUPPORT
    • Beyond the location of your pillows in your comfortable bed, it's also important to take bedding material into account, such as selecting memory foam when out pillow shopping or opting for a mattress that actually supports your back. Pillow height is also something to be aware of so that it can suitably support your neck
With these components in mind, below are a list of ideal sleeping positions or tips and tricks that can help to prevent unwanted back pain and ensure proper alignment of your spine:

  • FETAL POSITION
For side sleepers, this is a great alternative. Instead of keeping one knee higher than the other or your legs both straight, try keeping your legs together and keep your knees towards your chest.

That'll help to properly align the lumbar spine and limit extra strain on lower back muscles.

For additional support, try placing a pillow between your legs.

  • ON YOUR BACK
When you're more of a back sleeper, place a pillow beneath your knees to raise them.

The pillow under your knees supports the natural arch of your back.

  • ON YOUR FRONT - WITH A PILLOW
Sleeping flat on your front, regardless of initial comfort, is actually one of the worst positions you can sleep in for back pain. However, pillow support on your stomach and pelvis region can ease the strain felt on your back.

Using the above suggestions, you can likely still sleep in a position that feels comfortable and familiar to you, while also using the additional charm of a well-suited pillow to provide the necessary relief and support your back requires.

THE BEST SLEEPING POSITIONS FOR DIFFERENT AREAS OF YOUR BODY

Sleepless nights are a particular pest for those who suffer aches and pains in certain parts of their body.

On the contrary, you can think you're getting restful sleep, and though you may be, you could actually also be causing further annoyance to that joint or muscle issue you sometimes struggle with.

Some body placements can, in fact, perpetuate an already unpleasant pain, so it's pivotal you make sure you're sleeping in the best position for your body and manage any additional stress to joints and ligaments.

Below are some of the best sleeping positions for different parts of your body.

  • LOWER BACK PAIN
The list of positions above are all beneficial ways to sleep with lower back pain. The fetal position, front position and back position are all acceptable ways to support this kind of distinct pain, but make sure you take into account pillow placement, body alignment and support before you drift off into that old usual bedtime stance.

  • SHOULDER PAIN
If you're suffering from shoulder pain, there are a few ways to sleep to keep your arm correctly placed throughout the night.

The best option is to sleep on your back with your arms beside you. It helps to eliminate any added pressures that could affect the muscles and joints in your shoulders. It also doesn't stretch the shoulder joints in an unnatural way or for too long a time.

If shoulder impingement or rotator cuff pain affects you, steer clear of sleeping on your side and stomach. Though if these positions are still the most comfortable for you and how you fall asleep quickly, then make sure to slightly adjust the way you're laying to add necessary support.

If on your side, sleep on the side that's unaffected by shoulder pain.

If on your stomach, lay pillows below your hip and pelvic region and a towel (rolled up preferably) underneath your shoulders.

  • NECK PAIN
This unfortunate twinge in the neck is a rather common one to wake up to or feel throughout a busy day. Depending on your preferred sleeping position, try the below pillow placements:

  • If you sleep on your side frequently, a light pillow won't provide you with the right neck support. Depending on your size, make sure you select a pillow that's suitable for your frame. If you have broad shoulders, a larger pillow will do the trick. If you're petite, a smaller pillow will likely work best.
  • Front sleepers should use a slimmer pillow or go without one at all. However, with this position adding stress to your spine, it is the least beneficial to help with neck pain. So it is best to avoid, but if it's most comfortable for you, lose the big pillow.
  • Back sleepers can benefit from a thin pillow, though it's helpful to have a friend or partner make sure your lying position has a curve in your neck, similar to how you'd look standing with good posture. This can help you find a pillow and position which work to the natural shape of your body.
For those who switch up positions while sleeping, feather pillows can ensure ideal comfort. However, there are different pillow types to think about based on your individual pain. See here to find out the one most suited to your neck pain.

  • KNEE PAIN
There is no doubt that the winning sleep position for knee pain is to sleep on your side and use a pillow between your knees for extra support.

This helps eliminate any rubbing together of knees to stop any added pressure from building throughout the night and bothering you.

Though a pillow can seem just a simple useless sleeping tool (cavemen and women didn't have pillows, did they?), it's a magic potion to those who suffer from any of the above body pains.

The placement of pillows is essential to supporting painful body parts correctly, so we'd highly suggest utilising this great asset.
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HOW SLEEP OVERALL AFFECTS PAIN LEVELS

Now that we know how sleep positioning can affect those who suffer singular pains, it's also good to understand how sleep affects pain altogether.

It's believed that broken and uncomfortable sleep patterns can actually cause musculoskeletal pain, leaving you with a dreadful cricked neck or an aching shoulder in the morning.

There's also a connection between poor sleeping patterns and a heightened sensitivity to pain.

In fact, studies have shown that those who have insomnia like patterns, including difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, were more likely to experience ongoing musculoskeletal pain.

Research on sleep deprivation affecting pain also especially shows a distinct pattern with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia sufferers.

Inflammation in the immune system seems to be another link to poor sleep, resulting in delayed healing and onset of various other conditions.

Research on the subject is not exact or complete. However, recent findings of these kinds of interesting connections indeed point to a realisation that sleep quality is utterly essential.

With sleep playing such a key role in our health and wellbeing, our productivity at work and the gym; learning about sleeping habits and finding a way to sleep properly for you and your body, is incredibly valuable.

Of course, that's easier said than done. Finding a healthy sleeping routine and a suitable sleep position can be rather complex to wrap your head around.

Our experienced therapists are available to help you with this process and lead you towards a path of restful slumber.

If you feel lost in the dark or have any specific questions relating to your unique condition, please book a session today with a member of our team for guidance and recommendations.

It also doesn't hurt to look at your potentially aged mattress and find out if a new suitable one is a better fit.

Most of all, begin to wrap your head around sleep and the impact it has on your overall health concerns.

Try focusing your attention on getting a night of deep and relaxing sleep and do what you can to adjust your sleeping positions for a more positive sleeping experience.
Not sleeping too well? Follow Kurt Johnson on the links below and let him know your thoughts on this article.

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