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Ideal Sleeping Postures

It’s a brand new day! You wake up after a good night's sleep, feeling refreshed so you roll over and stretch and that’s when you feel it… the kink in your neck or a super stiff low back. How can something that is so good for us and necessary to our health also cause such problems?!

It’s all about the posture. You don’t think about it when you’re sleeping (of course!) but your sleeping posture can have such an effect on your fascia, spine and musculature. Uncomfortable or restless sleep also leads to fatigue and exhaustion. Good sleep allows our body to restore healthy cells. Did you know, when we sleep, the fluids within our disc ‘plump’ up, our filtering systems replenish and we have increased oxygenated blood flow which helps recover and repair muscles? Not to mention the effects it has on our mood the next day. Restful sleep leads to happier moods, which means better days!

So let’s go over more ideal postures while you are sleeping….

The best sleeping posture is on your back or on your side. Sleeping this way allows your spine to be in a more neutral position. There are ideal ways to sleep on your back and on your side to truly make sure we are in a more fitting position and to avoid postures that may irritate our joints and muscles.

  1. Sleeping on your back

  • Your pillow can make all the difference! Check out THIS LINK for my favorite pillow for back and side sleepers. We want to have some support under the neck (to support the natural curve of the cervical spine). This pillow also cradles your head so it does not fall to either side.

  • Place a pillow under your knees if you have tension in the lower back. This will help ease muscle tension.

  • Try to sleep with your legs straight (avoid flamingo type positions).

Sleeping on your side

  • Again - your pillow matters! Check out THIS LINK for a comfortable and supportive side sleeping pillow.

  • Place a pillow between your knees to help ease tension in the hips.

  • Try to avoid the top leg falling to the bed. The top leg falling forward creates a twist in the lower back. The pillow helps decrease the chance of this happening.

  • Put a pillow in front of your chest so your top arm does not fall too far forward and cause rounding in the middle back and shoulders.

  • Avoid elevating the arm you are laying on over your head/under the pillow. Having a pillow that is thick enough to keep your neck neutral typically stops you from needing to do this.

Even when we try to sleep in the most ideal posture, sometimes we can’t avoid those less than ideal positions. As we get into the deep REM stage of sleep, we are not consciously aware of our positions. I know I have had those times when I wake up in an awkward position and feel a ‘kink’ in my neck. Here is what I do for myself to gently alleviate that…

  1. Avoid quick movements or pushing through pain

  2. Warm shower or applying heat

  3. Gentle massage to the area

  4. Gentle movements (looking down, turning head to look over shoulder)

  5. Applying CBD ointment, pain relief lotion

  6. Schedule an appointment with your chiropractor

Cheers to a better night's sleep!

-Dr. Liz

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