You probably have had moments when you woke up feeling extremely tired. It could be as a result of poor sleeping patterns as well as inappropriate posture all through the night. This problem is common, and regardless of whether you are sleeping inadequately or not, you are bound to face it at one point in your life.
You may have less control over how to maintain a proper posture throughout your sleep, but even the slightest measures will play a part in preventing the body aches. Neck and back pains happen to be the most common. The question about the best sleeping position may cover this, but there is more to it than just developing the right posture.
So, what other factors contribute to neck and back pains?
Bedding is Key to Pain-Free Sleep
First things first, your bedding play an essential role. The type of mattress and pillows you choose determine your sleep quality in addition to the posture. A good cushion should keep your head and neck aligned to your spine. It not only prevents neck pain but also helps to relieve backaches. If you use a big pillow, you will most definitely raise your head higher than your body which will strain your neck.
Some of the best pillows are made from foam or polyfill which hold up well after long duration of use. Feather pillows tend to lose the shape and flatten after a short time. That means you may not achieve the balance with your head, neck and back with this kind of pillows.
When choosing a mattress, you ought to consider if it conforms to your body shape while you sleep. This type of mattresses allows your body to shape itself without applying pressure on some points. That means your back aligns itself and any turn you make when sleeping does not bring about backaches. However, as much as the mattress matters, it should not be too soft as it lets the body sink to curve unnecessarily. The same advice applies to your pillow choice.
The right mattress should keep the spine parallel without sagging or arching. You should avoid firm mattresses that tend to keep the body flat when you sleep, leaving an arch around your lower back area. Medium to firm type of mattresses work well by providing the support you need without feeling the extra pressure on your back. This, in turn, relieves the pain and eventually improves the quality of sleep.
What Is The Best Sleeping Position?
On the Back
The position you choose to take depends on your comfort and health conditions. For back and neck pains, experts advise sleeping on the back or side. When lying on your back however, it is essential to note that the body can possibly arch itself towards the lower abdomen. You should, therefore, consider lifting the knees slightly or placing a pillow underneath.
This position will give the back a somewhat straight position as you sleep. Also, when resting on the back, the neck area needs extra support to avoid exerting too much pressure. When you lie on your back, all the weight pressures the neck all down to your spine. Good pillows will help to position the body in the right state for a comfortable night sleep.
On the Side
For side sleepers though, not so much is needed to keep the position right. A pillow between the knees is appropriate to ease off the pressure from your thighs. Sleeping on the side is one of the best for those that suffer from severe back pains. Usually, the spine aligns itself straight easing off any pressure from the joints and muscles.
Which side is best sleep on? In our post Right vs. Left Side Sleeping: What’s Healthier? we discuss the benefits of right-side vs left-side sleeping to help you get the best rest.
For severe neck pains, it is advisable to add more pillows under your shoulders for extra support; regardless of the position you take. If at any point the neck strains when you sleep, you are bound to suffer pain the next morning. Have several pillows such as sausage or round pads that take the shape of the neck area for maximum support.
If you do not have such types of pillows, you can roll up a towel and place it inside your pillowcase to offer extra support to the neck.
Also, lifting the shoulders using a medium sized pillow helps to ease off the pressure exerted on the neck. However, you ought to be careful adding pillows as overdoing it can lead to back pain while trying to deal with neck pain.
Is Sleeping on the Stomach OK?
As difficult as it may seem to maintain a healthy sleeping position, it is crucial to keep some practices away. Whether you are suffering from severe back and neck pain or none, you should avoid sleeping on your stomach. This position tends to arch the spine inwards forming a curve on your back. It exerts so much pressure on the spine which can lead to severe backaches.
Most people will often lie with the head turning to the sides while on their tummies. The position can be dangerous for the neck as well since there is no complete alignment from the spine up to your neck. Sometimes it may be comfortable to lie on your tummy, but the effects may not be desirable.
Keeping a Healthy Sleep Schedule
Most of the back and neck pains reported tend to have a link with poor sleeping patterns and stress. A comfortable night sleep results from the right state of mind, body and a suitable environment. Schedule your sleep time and pay attention to your body languages.
Alignment Is Key
Whichever position you choose, your number one guiding factor should be alignment. That is to ensure your spine and neck lie on a straight line all through. You could use pillows to fill in any gaps and ease the pressure from the joints.
Back and neck aches are common, but the extent depends on how you tackle it. You can consider sleeping on the back or side with additional pillows for extra support. Go slow on pillows and take care not to pose a risk when trying to alleviate a problem. Most importantly, you should consult a specialist if the problem is persistent.