Most people know that good posture is important when we are standing, sitting or performing activities throughout the day, but having good posture while asleep can help to prevent or reduce chronic back pain.
Sleep Posture Tips
It is best to try to sleep in a position that maintains the natural curve of your back where your ears, shoulders and hips are in alignment. Here are some tricks for every type of sleeper:
Back – While on your back, tuck a pillow under your knees or place a lumbar roll or a small, rolled towel under your lower back.
Side – If you sleep on your side, sleep with your knees slightly bent. Try not to pull your knees all the way up to your chest (fetal position). Placing a pillow between your knees will help you maintain spine alignment.
Stomach – If you sleep on your stomach, place a small pillow under the stomach/pelvis area to help keep the spine in better alignment. You may also find that sleeping on your stomach with a pillow under your head puts too much strain on your back; therefore, you may want to sleep without a pillow.
Choosing the Right Mattress
A firm mattress and box spring set that does not sag provides the best support for your back. If you are used to sleeping on a soft mattress, it may be too difficult to get used to a new firm mattress. So before you spend the money on a new set, try placing a piece of ply board under your soft mattress to make it firmer. This is an inexpensive way to see if a firm mattress will work for you.
Turning in Bed
When turning in bed, do not bend or twist at the waist but move your entire Healthy Body as one segment (logroll). Tighten your stomach muscles and bend your knees toward your chest when you roll.
Getting Out of Bed
To stand up from a lying position, log roll onto your side, draw both knees up and swing your legs on the side of the bed. Sit up by pushing yourself up with your hands. To prevent injury, avoid bending forward at your waist. All of these suggestions should help decrease back pain and help you get a better night’s sleep. If you have questions about the proper mattress or sleeping position, a physical therapist can help.