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Hey doc, how should I sleep?


Patients always ask me which poistion they should sleep in. I wrote an article about it a while ago and I guess it’s time to re-publish it. Our readership is growing and some of you may have never read it before.

What’s the best way to sleep?

My patients usually ask me -“What is the best way to sleep?” to which I always answer: “Well, what position do you sleep in?” The reason for this reply is that just be modifying a couple of things here and there, you can get a restful and comfortable night’s rest no matter what position you actually sleep in.

Back Sleepers

Yes, this is actually the preferred position to sleep because it places the least amount of stress to your spine-IF you:

Place a cervical roll or rolled-up towel under your neck. Make sure that your head is in a neutral position (that you are neither looking up or down). If you find that you cannot be “in neutral” then you need a smaller roll.

Place a pillow under your knees-This takes stress off
of your lower back. You could buy a special pillow for this, but a
regular pillow works just fine.

Side Sleepers
-If you sleep on your side, then follow these tips to minimize the
amount of stress to your spine.

Use a cervical pillow-Ideally, the pillow should take into account how wide your shoulders are-the wider your shoulders, the taller the pillow should be. This is because you want to keep your neck in a neutral position.Place a pillow between your knees. Not only will this feel more comfortable, if you have hip joint pain-this definitely helps.Try not to sleep on your side with your arm up over your head-this causes stress on the nerves that come out of the neck and into the arms and cause tingling or numbness down the arms.

Sleep on your Belly
This position places the most stress on your neck.
In this position you have your head turned to one side or the other for hours at a time. This is quite stressful to your neck muscles and joints.

Your body will try to shift your position to compensate. This is why people who toss and turn the most are belly sleepers.

To sleep more comfortably(belly sleepers):

Place a pillow under your waist, and do not use a pillow for your head.

Remember that there are other variables that will affect the quality of your sleep, like the condition and firmness of your mattress. If your mattress is too old it will sag and not provide enough support.

Avoid super-soft mattresses-they may feel comfortable at the
beginning, but in the mornings, the lack of support will make you feel sore. Your mattress should be firm, but not hard to provide the adequate support.

As with anything, if any of these recommendations cause you increased pain, consult your chiropractor-there may be other factors present that should be checked by a professional.

Sweet Dreams!

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