Tips to help you sleep
There’s no one-size-fits-all sleep posture that is the best for everyone. But, this is for sure – a poor sleeping pose can have a major impact on your quality of sleep and your overall health. Poor sleeping posture can cause back and neck pain, poor circulation, cramping and even promote wrinkled skin around your decolletage and face.
Most of us move many times whilst we sleep, but it’s the position that you favour when you are trying to get to sleep which can be the one that you spend most of your sleep time in. So, how to know which position is best?
Whilst sleeping on your back and side are always a better option than sleeping on your stomach, there are pro’s and cons to all positions.
The foetal position – side sleepers.
41% of us favour sleeping on our sides with our knees curled up towards us, with more women favouring this position than men, according to a study conducted by the New York University Sleep Disorder Centre. Whilst this position can prevent you from snoring, it is not ideal for preventing neck and back pain. If you favour this position, make sure you stretch out a bit. Curling up too tightly can limit deep breathing and put too much strain on your lower back muscles. Since we usually choose the same side to sleep on, try to keep your knees together to avoid an unnatural alignment of the hips, pelvis and spine. A spare pillow placed between your knees will help keep your blood flowing through your lower legs. To avoid neck pain, you’ll need a slightly higher profile pillow if you sleep in this position to keep you head raised in its natural posture.
This is usually the best position to sleep in to keep your head, neck, spine and pelvis in a neutral position through the night. Most people need a low pillow to lift their head slightly, but snorers may need a higher profile pillow to elevate themselves enough to open the airways and breathe freely. If you suffer from a sore back, try putting a very low pillow or rolled towel under the small of your back to help your spine to maintain its natural curve. You might also like to try putting a pillow under your knees to slightly elevate your lower legs. Cosmetic beauticians claim that back sleepers will have less wrinkles and maintain their facial symmetry as they age.
Sleeping on your stomach will flatten the natural curve of your spine and put pressure on the muscles in your lower back. Sleeping with your head crooked to one side can also cause neck and shoulder pain. You could try to sleep with a low pillow under your abdomen to ease strain on your back. Those who are hoping to utilise “beauty sleep” should be aware that lifelong stomach sleepers who turn their head to the same direction each time, can be slowly pushing one side of their face out of symmetry.
Regardless of your sleeping position, try to keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned. If you find that you are waking with a sore back or neck, try changing the sleeping position that you assume when you first fall asleep each night and within a few weeks, you may notice a positive change.