A Few Tips On Sleeping Positions

A Few Tips On Sleeping Positions

VERONIQUE YEON, MSCPT

Do you ever wake up with a sore back or sore neck? Or do you always wonder what kind of pillow or mattress you should be buying?

Sleep is very important and the posture you adopt while sleeping is also important. Essentially, you want to try to keep the natural curvatures of your spine to avoid having muscles or connective tissue in a lengthened or shortened position.

Here are a few of my tips when it comes to sleeping positions.

The pillow talk. First question: Are you

a)     A toss and turner and wake up like a wrap in your blankets?

b)     The mummy? Do you wake up in the same position you fell asleep in?

If you identify with a) then you will be looking for a pillow that you can mold easily (feathers or other) and a body pillow might be a good option. If you are b), you will need to find a pillow that fits with the position that you sleep in (see the following sections)

Back sleeper

See the following video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXk5QFdPGHk.

Side sleeper

See the following video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghan7t-RVPI.

Stomach sleeper

Sleeping on your stomach is not ideal because your neck is rotated to one side for a prolonged period of time (see picture below). If you absolutely cannot change your position here are a few tips you can try.

1.     Use a towel or small pillow to elevate the back of your head (see picture below). Therefore your head would be facing the bed at an angle.

1.     Depending on the firmness of your mattress you can try placing a small pillow under your stomach if your back is sore in the morning.

Other tips

Choosing the right mattress.  First off, go to the store and try the mattress. If you sleep on your back, you may prefer a mattress that is more firm. If you are sleeping on your side, you will likely prefer a mattress that is a bit softer so that it can form to the curvatures of your body.

Is sleeping with my arm above my head bad? Sleeping in this position might create unnecessary tension on contractile and connective tissues. The natural resting position of the arm is at your side, therefore leaving it above your head for 3-4 hours might create imbalances which may lead to injuries later.

Véronique Yeon, MScPT, is a physiotherapist and CrossFit coach in Ottawa, Canada.