Counting Sheep

April 4, 2017

 

 

I recently read a great article about sleeping positions, which is something most of us do not take much time to think about. Did you know that there could be an optimal sleeping position for your body? Now – {{ pause for a second }} DO NOT go crazy into thinking that if you sleep in an incorrect anatomical position, your tissues will get stuck there and you will be ruined for life. On the contrary, waking up with a kink from a “bad nights sleep” is likely the result of some neurological pathway; which can be related to a certain position. This is something that should, however, clear up fairly quickly.

 

What’s my point?

 

There are some very specific pros and cons to different sleeping positions, which are completely dependent upon the individual and what their aches and pains happen to be. I am not saying that this advice will be magic, but it is something to consider. When we are working to recover from our daily workouts and stresses, sleep should NEVER be overlooked. But please keep in mind, GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP overshadows anything I am about to discuss. It will never matter how “perfect” your sleeping position is if you are only sleeping for a few hours.

 

So Please. I beg you.

 

Make sleep a priority.

 

 

Sleep Position Number 1: PRONE

  • Least optimal due to your neck being over rated to one side, especially if you have neck or thoracic issues.

  • If you struggle with: Numbness or Tingling of Hands, it is not recommended to sleep this way.

  • If you are sensitive to: Low back extension (hurts to arch your low back) this is not a great way to sleep.

  • CONTRARY: This position happens to be very comfortable for most, so if you MUST sleep this way then place pillows as depicted below. ((Pillow under pelvis and thin pillow under head or none at all))

 

 

POSITION #2 -  SUPINE

  • This is a fairly neutral position, your neck is in a far better position, so this is better if you have neck or thoracic issues.

  • ISSUES: This can restrict airflow and cause snoring or apneas with restless sleep

  • IF YOU MUST SLEEP THIS WAY: Use a wedge pillow to incline your torso and a pillow under your knees ((decompress lower back))

  • AVOID: sleeping with arms overhead, this can cause impingements and occlusions if you have previous shoulder pain.

 

POSITION #3- SIDE

  • Majority of people choose this position, air is clear and the spine is unloaded.

  • Choose a pillow that allows your neck to be inline with your spine.

  • Place a pillow under your bent knee, if knees are straight then put a pillow between your knees.

  • HELPFUL: Place a pillow supporting the top arm

  • GOAL: Feel completely supported so that your body can let go of tension

Overall, do not overthink this. If you are sleeping just fine, then great! Keep doing what you are doing. But, if you have aches, pains, numbness, or other problems then try some of these tips and tricks.

 

This article was adapted from the full article found here.

 

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