02/07/2024

How to Sleep Better and More Aligned

Have you ever woken up to pain from “sleeping wrong”? Sleep complaints are present in about 75% of chronic pain disorders. At least 50% of individuals with insomnia - the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorder - suffer from chronic pain. Pain can result from a poor sleeping position, leading to inadequate sleep, which can result in higher sensitivities to pain. It becomes a self perpetuating cycle and leaves you wondering: what is the healthiest sleeping position to avoid pain? This post will show you how to achieve your ideal sleeping position so you can wake up feeling refreshed instead of beat up!

Healthy Sleeping Positions

Whether you're a back sleeper, side sleeper, or stomach sleeper, they can all be considered "healthy sleeping positions" if you're optimizing your sleep. Stomach sleeping may work great for some people, but it does tend to be the position that causes the most people pain. Identifying which is best for you is the goal. Most experts agree that the best sleeping position for lower back pain tends to be on your back with a pillow under your knees.

Sleep Better with Pillow Support

Use Pillows When Sleeping On Your Back

Yeah, yeah, yeah… “our ancestors slept on dirt floors and were one with the Earth - they didn’t need pillows”. That sounds cool in theory, but unless you’re about to go live in a cave, the reality is that most of us are going to continue to sleep on mattresses. Since we’re not going to throw our pillows away, let’s use them to our benefit! If you’re a back sleeper, place a dense pillow underneath your knees for a ‘zero gravity’ effect that will reduce spinal extension and take pressure off your low back. Next, place a thin pillow underneath your head. If your pillow is too thick, it’s going to shift your head forward, which is the equivalent of “tech neck” and puts your body out of alignment. You want your ears to be pretty much in line with your shoulders. If desired, you can also place two pillows on either side of you to rest your arms on, but this isn’t necessary. 

If you're in search of a quality pillow with adjustability and support that also stays cool - our favorite is Sleepgram ( use code DRMIKE for 25% off, you deserve it)!

 

How to Sleep Better Aligned on Your Back

Use Pillows (Again) For Better Side Sleeping positions

Some people will never sleep on their backs no matter how many experts tell them it’s the ideal position. Some just prefer to sleep on their sides. If that’s you, make sure your pillow is comfortable and supportive with just enough thickness to keep your head aligned with the rest of your spine. Unless you’ve got a partner to spoon you, put a fairly dense body pillow behind you and hold onto a pillow in front for shoulder and arm support (we know you like to snuggle). This position can reduce snoring and sleep apnea as it helps keep your airways open. Putting a firm, thick pillow between your knees will ensure this is extra comfy.

How to Sleep Better Aligned on Your Side

Sleep on Your Stomach? You Still Need a Pillow!

Sleeping on your stomach is the least preferable position because it twists your neck and tends to hyper-extend the low back (a very firm mattress can help with this). However, we know some of you are babies and are going to do this anyway (at least one of our coaches is a stomach sleeper). For you, the answer is both more pillows… and less. Putting a soft pillow underneath your pelvis/low stomach area will help keep your spine in a more neutral position. As for your head, use a very thin pillow or none at all to maintain healthier neck alignment. Reduce the excessive twisting of the neck by putting the edge of a thin pillow slightly under the back of your head so that your forehead is angled down toward the mattress instead of turned a full 90 degrees to one side.

Optimize Your Sleep

Sleep is one way your body recovers from the challenges and stressors of life. There are so many things that the body does when sleeping that it’s worth making every effort to get quality rest and your sleeping posture affects this. Proper sleeping positions can reduce everything from back pain and acid reflux to facial wrinkles!

Join the Membership for Better Alignment

Whichever position you sleep in, use the above pillow recommendations to get yourself into a good position before falling asleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night, reset the pillows and if need be, switch sides. If you continue to have pain in the morning, try switching up your sleeping positions.

To learn more about your body and how to achieve better alignment in sleep and in life, check out the MoveU Membership today.

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