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Sleep Posture

Posted by [email protected] on April 21, 2014 at 1:30 AM

Sleep Posture

Some people sleep better in a soft, supportive bed; others are more comfortable in a firm, hard bed. I read one paper about how hard beds are actually less comfortable, but may lead to a better night's sleep since the discomfort makes you shift positions often (avoid stiffening up and keeping the blood flowing). You need to find what works for you; if you wake up stiff or sore, it is likely that you are sleeping in a position that is causing the discomfort. Ideally, you want to sleep in a neutral position, with every joint neither stretched nor curled.

If you can, learn to sleep on your back! It is the most neutral position (least strain on muscles), and keeps you in good posture (chin tucked, shoulders back, back straight). You want the back of your head to come as close to the bed as possible so your head is not bent forward; sometimes, a thin roll under your neck (or no head pillow at all) will be comfortable. Placing a thin pillow under your knees can help. In fact, if you have tight hp flexors, you may need 2-3 pillows under your knees at first to avoid low back pain and rolling over as soon as you fall asleep. It took me 5 months to learn how to fall asleep and stay on my back, so persistence is the key. More pillows under your knees or placing your arms around a pillow on your chest helped me, as did "practicing" when I didn't have to get up early the next morning. But now, I can easily stay on my back for 6 hours, and the pain in my arms and shoulders has vanished.

 

Side sleeping tends to roll you into a fetal or "desk" posture, that twists the hips, shortens the hip flexors, and rolls the shoulders forward. With 4 pillows, you can almost turn side sleeping into perfect posture! Place a thin pillow under your side, and a thick enough pillow under your head to keep your head level- this makes a hole for your shoulder, to stop it from rolling forward as much. Place a pillow under your top arm, and try to keep it straight. And place a pillow between your legs to level your hips, pulling up your knees as little as possible. For as complicated as all this sounds, it makes me feel like I am curled up,and is comforting for the nights that excessive thinking or sinus issues stop me from falling asleep on my back.

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