You may be aware that good posture is essential for overall health and well-being, but you may not realize just how important proper sleeping posture can be. After all, you spend roughly a third of your life in bed. Fortunately, following a few simple tips can dramatically improve your sleeping posture, giving you a boost in feeling your best while you are awake.
Avoid Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach makes it impossible for your spine to get into a neutral position. Side sleeping and back sleeping are far better for your posture. It may feel strange at first, but most people can adapt fairly quickly to a change in sleeping position. If you are absolutely unable to fall asleep on your back or your side, at least place a cushion under your pelvis to relax your spine.
Get a Supportive Mattress
It doesn’t have to be uncomfortably firm, but your mattress should provide even support for your entire body. Most mattresses have a lifespan of just seven years, so if you have an older mattress, it is time for an upgrade. If a new mattress isn’t in the budget, try flipping yours over (if possible) and adding a piece of plywood beneath it.
When shopping for a new mattress, lay down on each mattress you are considering. Avoid any mattresses that make you feel like you’re sinking, and any that feel like they cause pressure points. You should feel comfortably supported on the mattress from head to toe in the sleeping position you normally prefer.
Choose the Proper Pillow
Find a pillow that truly fits your body and your chosen sleeping position. It should not be too thick or too soft, and it should be supportive enough to hold your neck in a neutral position. When sleeping, keep the pillow under your head and neck, not your shoulders, and try to avoid turning your head.
Relax Before and After Bed
Take a hot shower, do some light stretching, or simply walk around the house a bit before you go to bed. Sitting for a long time can push your pelvis forward, while using a computer or cell phone can tighten your neck and shoulder muscles. Loosening everything up will make it easier to find a neutral position in bed. When you wake up, do some gentle stretches to work out any kinks and prepare your body for the day.
Check Your Daytime Posture
It will be nearly impossible to achieve a good sleep posture if you spend the day slumping or hunching. Periodically stand with your back against a wall, ensuring that you can comfortably touch both your shoulder blades and your head to the wall. Use an ergonomic work setup and take frequent breaks to walk around and gently stretch. Consider adding yoga or another light stretching routine to your day.
Founded by physical therapy innovator Dr. Joseph Simon, the Manhattan Physical Therapy and Pain Center is a leader in pain relief and injury recovery conveniently located in Midtown New York City. We offer several dedicated programs for different conditions, along with the latest innovations in physical therapy for all. If you are ready for the latest treatments for your pain or injury, we invite you to call us today at (212) 213-3480 to learn how we can help.