The National Sleep Foundation estimates that at least 57% of Americans suffer from pain that disrupts their sleep at least a few nights a week. More importantly, sleep loss has been shown to increase sensitivity to pain specifically by lowering pain thresholds.
As a chiropractic physician one of the common phrases I hear when patients come to see me for back and neck pain is” I must have slept funny” This comment always makes me think of the old black and white movies with clowns sleeping in funny positions. Let’s be real. You didn’t “sleep funny” your existing pain was exacerbated by the way you sleep. Posture is key all hours of the day even when you are sleeping.
While good posture is important when sitting and standing, it’s even more important during sleep as the muscles and ligaments of your back relax while you sleep and need to be protected.
Did you know: 1 in 3 Americans report their sleep quality as “poor” or “only fair”?
There are certain sleep positions that are better for your back and the overall alignment of your spine than other
Back position: The Best Posture
Sleeping on your back makes it easy for your head, neck, and spine to maintain a neutral position and avoid pressure on the spine. In addition, it reduces acid reflux, and minimizes wrinkles. Only use one pillow if you sleep on your back, your head should not be pushed forward.
Side position: Always place a pillow between your knees to prevent your hips from leaning forward and twisting your spine while you sleep. You need a thicker pillow when side sleeping, it needs to fill the space between your neck and shoulder and keep your neck neutral. This is the best position for sleeping during pregnancy, if you sleep on your left side.
Fetal position: It can be good for snoring less but it’s not so good for neck and back pain or breathing as the curved position restricts full breaths. It also does not support the natural curves of the spine, and you most likely will wake up sore. Try bringing your head back to a more level position with your spine and placing a pillow between your knees.
On Your Stomach: Having your head and neck turned to one side while sleeping can significantly strain the muscles and ligaments of the upper spine. This position puts pressure on your joints and muscles, which can irritate nerves and lead to pain, numbness, tingling and over arching in the spine. It’s the worst position to sleep in repeatedly for years. But if you must, then you should raise one leg up slightly and prop a pillow under your knee. I also highly recommend finding a good chiropractor. Your spine is going to need it from “sleeping funny”.
Did you know: Chiropractic care benefits include better sleep, less dependence on sleep medications?
Many Americans are seeking alternatives to insomnia medications especially since the FDA published the results of a new safety review based on recent reports of serious injuries and deaths related to prescription sleep medicines. Chiropractic is a non-pharmacological care approach that focuses on one of the top causes of inadequate sleep: neuro-musculoskeletal pain.
A Doctor of Chiropractic can design a comprehensive care plan that supports your waking and sleeping hours. It’s time to correct that funny sleep.