Sleep Posture and Spinal Health

The average person spends a lot of their life asleep. If you are getting 8 hours of rest, sleep is accounting for 1/3 of your life. But sleep isn’t an easy thing to get right. To most people, good sleep means restful sleep, but to a chiropractor, it means sleep that doesn’t cause pain to the spine. An awareness of good sleeping posture and proper pillow use can go a long way in making sleep a rejuvenating experience for the whole body, including the back.

The primary goal for sleep posture is to keep the spine as close to natural alignment as possible. Here are some tips for side-sleepers and back-sleepers.

The primary drawback to sleeping on your back is that it puts pressure on the lower region of the spine. Combat this by placing a pillow under the knees to gently raise them and alleviate excess pressure on the lower spine. Use a pillow that supports the neck and keeps it relatively straight with the rest of the spine, not angling it too aggressively up or letting it sink too far down.

When sleeping on your side, as with sleeping on the back, make sure you are using a pillow that keeps your neck straight in relation to the spine. Bending your knees in a position approximating a loose fetal position will relieve pressure on the lower back.

I do not recommend sleeping on the stomach for people with back pain of any kind. It puts enormous strain on the core muscles and the lower back and can put the neck at an awkward angle. If you must sleep on your stomach, try putting a pillow underneath your stomach that will keep your spine at the same level as your head.

Whatever position you choose, the end goal is for the muscles to be relaxed and for you to sleep free of pain. If you would live in the Hackensack area and want to talk to a professional about sleep habits and how they relate to the spine, we are here for you. We can be reached at our office in Hackensack at  (201) 342-6111 or by e-mail at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Albert Stabile Jr., D.C., C.C.P.C.P., F.I.C.C. 

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