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Proper Sleeping Posture & Position Tips

by Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT April 20, 2020 0 Comments

Woman Sleeping

Since we spend approximately a third of each day in bed, the importance of proper sleeping posture can not be underestimated. Still, many of us never stop to think about how our sleeping posture might be affecting our health. Keep reading to learn more about improving posture at night.

How Does Sleep Affect Posture?

Your sleep posture can largely affect the quality of sleep you’re getting. If you are constantly sleeping in a position that strains your body and leaves you feeling stiff, it can wreak havoc on your waking hours. Poor sleep and poor posture can lead to issues like:

  • Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, moodiness, or brain fog
  • Skin problems like acne
  • Chronic back pain or generalized aching
  • Increased appetite and cravings for sugar and carbs
  • Poor coordination with daily movement
  • Lack of motivation

It’s important to improve posture at all hours of the day. For ways to improve your posture throughout your entire day, see our full guide.

Best Sleeping Position for Posture

A lot of times we assume there is one best sleep position. However, the truth is that there is no such thing as perfect posture or a perfect sleep position. The most important factor is your comfort and getting high-quality sleep.

  • Back

    Sleeping on your back is generally the most recommended for keeping good posture at night. However, thicker pillows can actually strain the neck. Try to use a small pillow, or even none, to keep your neck from over-flexing. Additionally, if you have low back issues you might consider a small pillow under your knees. Overall, lying with your arms splayed out to the side, low back flat, and shoulders tucked back is best.

  • Side

    Side-sleeping can be another effective way to support your body at night.

    When sleeping on your side it is important to keep your hips, shoulders, and head in line with only a slight bend in the hips and knees to keep you stable. Additionally, support the hips and back with pillows between the knees as needed to prevent rotation or side tilting of the pelvis.

  • Stomach

    In general, stomach sleeping should be avoided when possible, as it requires twisting the neck to breathe. If absolutely necessary, stomach sleepers should consider putting a pillow beneath their lower stomach to support the lumbar spine, or even a full body pillow with a face cutout so that they can sleep without rotating the neck. 

Your daily sitting posture can also affect your sleeping posture. Follow this guide to check your posture throughout the day.

Finding the Right Mattress

As with sleeping position, there is no right answer for which mattress is best for you. However, whatever option you choose, make sure that the frame is solid to prevent unnecessary bowing when you lie down. If you’re not sure what to choose, go for a firmer mattress since it tends to provide more back support. You can always add a memory foam mattress topper for additional comfort as needed to help support your joints and keep cooler at night to optimize your sleep.

Choosing a Pillow

Ideally, your pillow should support the natural curve of your neck. A pillow that is too fat can over-flex the neck, whereas a flat pillow might cause overextension. The key is to find that sweet spot. Additionally, there are many ergonomic pillow options that account for the neck’s curve and may be the best of both worlds.

Browse More Pillow Here

Sleeping Tips

Keep in mind that if you’re trying to adjust to a new sleeping position that it may take a few days. Here are some tips for maximizing your sleep and gaining exponential health benefits.

  • Practice better sleep hygiene including a blacked-out room, minimal noise, and no caffeine or electronics too late in the day. 
  • Support your spine adequately with pillows to keep it aligned even when you’re completely relaxed in bed. This helps prevent neck pain and lower back pain.
  • Avoid getting into a slouched position, especially if you were in it all day at a computer or desk. This will further perpetuate bad posture.
  • When getting in and out of bed avoid twisting, focus on moving the spine as one unit, otherwise known as a “log roll.”
  • Remember to work on posture 24 hours a day and practice posture exercises or a posture corrector
  • When you first wake up in the morning, take a moment to stretch and warm your body up before starting your day.

Protecting Posture at Night

Good posture at night should leave you waking up feeling good and well-rested. Seek medical advice if you are experiencing night pains, trouble sleeping, or any other symptoms related to your sleep routine. Medical professionals like a physical therapist or chiropractor can give you personalized recommendations for what works best for your body when sleeping at night. Optimizing your sleep routine is one of the easiest ways to feel in control of your own life!

Sources:

https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/sleep-position-for-better-posture/

SHOP POSTURE PRODUCTS
Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT
Jaydee Vykoukal, PT, DPT

JayDee Vykoukal is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, owner of the healthy habit platform Health Means Wealth, and freelance medical writer. She loves traveling and spending time with her family in nature. Her passion is helping others continue to participate in the activities they love through education and proper exercise.



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