July 3-9 is Sleep Awareness week and we thought we’d jump on board and discuss some of the effects on the way you sleep can have on your health and some tips to help you get the best nights rest!
You turn the lights off, jump into bed, alone or maybe not? Do you find yourself lying on your back, side or belly? Wake up in a different position?
The Belly Sleeper:
Do you find yourself on your tummy? Neck twisted to one side? You could be causing some serious damage to your muscles and spine. This is the least ideal position to sleep in – causing a lot of strain on the neck and lower back. Lying on the tummy causes some contortions of the spine and flattens the natural curve of the spine and create stress on the vertebra of the neck, causing pain, tension and possibly headaches. It also creates a loss of the natural lordotic posture in the lower back, causing pain and irritation – try using some pillows to lift your hips or to gradually train yourself to sleep on one side.
The Side Sleeper:
Majority of people report being side sleepers, whether it is lying straight on their side or curled up in the foetal position.
This is the best position for all the pregnant women out there – as it decreases pressure on the spine (as opposed to lying on your back) and lying on the left hand side improves circulation to the heart, benefiting both mother and baby.
However snuggling into bed with the arm behind the head is a common sleep position, but it may adversely affect your muscles and nerves. Resting the head on a single arm can restrict the blood flow and impinge on nerves resulting in a “dead arm” sensation. Also when in this position, the shoulder supports a lot of the body’s weight which can create tension in the neck and shoulders muscles leading to stress and strain.
The Back Sleeper:
Sleeping on your back is probably the best position for your spine and muscles, allowing the spine to be in neutral. Make sure not to use too many pillows or else you will prop your neck up too high. There are some cons to sleeping on your back, including snoring and sleep apnoea which present more often in populations who sleep face up.
Tips to help your posture in whatever position you sleep:
– Tummy Sleeper – Try using some pillow to lift your hips or to gradually position your body to lie on one side and restrict you from sleeping fully on your stomach.
– Side Sleeper – Put a pillow in between your knees, to stop you from rolling onto your tummy and also allow your pelvis to stay squared in ideal alignment
– Back Sleeper – Make sure you are sleeping on a softer pillow that accurately supports your neck (Have you seen our Ollie Owl- Chiropractic Pillows?) allowing the neck to be in its natural curve not too hiked up.
Need more information? Unsure about your sleep posture? Call the clinic on 9651 5559 to book an appointment with one of our qualified Practitioners.