We spend about 25% of life sleeping. So maintaining good posture is not important while sitting or standing only, but during sleep also. Muscles, ligaments, and other structures in the spine relax while sleeping. When a person suffers from a back injury or disorder, it’s especially important to sleep well in order to help the healing.
Here are some tips to help you sleep better and keep your spine healthy:
The Right Pillow and Sleeping Positions:
There is no single sleeping position known to be best for all people. There are few general guidelines about sleeping positions that are most comfortable for the spine:
- The best sleeping position is to lie on your back with a small pillow under your knees. This position unloads the spine and allows for the natural curve of the lower back.
- If you sleep on your side, a firm pillow between your knees should be applied. This will prevent upper leg from pulling spine out of alignment, and reduce stress on spine and hip.
- Sleeping on your stomach can stress your back. For people who sleep on their stomach, a flat pillow under the stomach and hips can reduce stress on the spine.
- The pillow for your head should follow the natural curve of the neck. A pillow that’s too high, causes muscle strain on your back, neck, and shoulders. Similarly, very thin or no pillow at all, will also throw the neck in abnormal posture. For people already suffering from cervical pain and spondylosis, a specialized cervical pillow might support neck better and help reduce the pain.
- Sleeping in a reclining chair, or an adjustable bed that allows one to put the head and knees up can also help people with lower back pain sleep better. Patients with more pain on standing up straight and better when bending forward will benefit from a reclining chair or adjustable bed.
- When turning in bed, don’t to twist your waist but move your entire body as one unit.
While these are general guidelines, the position that is most comfortable to sleep in is largely depends upon individual preferences and the type of back pain.
Choosing a mattress:
Mattresses are largely a matter of personal preference. There is no single type of mattress or bed that works well for all people .The best mattress is one that allows you to sleep soundly and lets you wake up feeling fresh, without pain or soreness.
There are some general rules about what constitutes a good mattress.
- Most people prefer a firmer mattress which gives the spine better support.
- If the mattress is too hard it can hurt at pressure points, such as the hips. People who sleep on their sides may also feel pressure at hip and shoulder in a firm mattress.
- If one feels more comfortable on a soft mattress, it is reasonable for them to sleep on a softer mattress.
As an overall rule of thumb, any mattress that helps a person sleep well is the best mattress for that individual. If you already have a back problem, ask your doctor or physical therapist to recommend the type of mattress that would be best for you. Other than this, you also have to follow healthy habits for a better sleep like avoiding coffee, smoking, and heavy dinner before sleep. Calm and soothing atmosphere in bed room and sufficient hours of sleep is equally important.