Chronic Pain? The Way You Sleep Could Make It Better (or Worse)

by Holly on Feb 19, 2016 1:35:23 PM

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Oh, my back! These three words are about as helpful as a dial-up modem these days. Back pain often makes it harder to sleep. Bad sleep makes chronic pain worse. Wouldn’t you like to get off this demented merry-go-round? Stop it now by adding proper support to your sleep routine, based on your preferred sleep position.

Sleep Positions- The Creator and Solution to Chronic Pain

Unless you were born yesterday, you have had a night where you woke up and realized that you were sleeping in a really bad position all night. This is more likely to happen when you've had a little too much to drink, are exceptionally tired or a combination of the two. Of course, many people have the one-two punch of bad posture at work and bad sleep positions at night. You feel stiff when you wake up, so you sit hunched through your work day. Then you continue the downward spiral that night. Many doctors will tell you that the only viable sleep position to have to avoid back pain is side sleeping, preferably on your left side. However, there are ways you can decrease your risk of back pain, regardless of the sleep position you choose.

Pillows and Blankets for Better Sleep

Think back to your teenage days. Remember how you used to crash right on your desk in the middle of third period history? Even if this was not you, you can certainly see how teenagers have an easier time sleeping pretty much anywhere. They’re like cats. You are not. The older you get, the more you realize that your approach to sleep makes a difference in how you sleep, as well as how you feel throughout the day. It is high time to invest in the right kind of pillows for support. Avoid using too many blankets, as well. If you get overly warm during the night, you might twist and turn to get cool. That can lead to cricks and kinks in your back and joints.

Side Sleeping

All sleep position politics aside, side sleeping is probably the best choice. However, the comfort you have while sleeping on your side is predicated upon your choice of a good mattress and supportive pillows. You do not want to keep sleeping on Grandma’s 20-year-old mattress that sags in the middle and stinks of old cheese. You are a grown-up and can buy your own mattress. Look for a mattress that is sufficiently supportive, but is not so stiff that it puts pressure on your shoulder and hip. If you find that you often wake up with hip pain, consider putting a firm pillow between your knees while you sleep.

Back Sleeping

When you stand up really straight (like that teacher in fourth grade told you every day), you will notice that your back is not naturally straight as a board. With proper posture, you have a natural curve in your lower back that bends slightly inward. If you lay flat on your back, you fight this curve. The position has the ability to compress nerves, aggravating conditions like sciatica. No one wants to wake up ten minutes before their legs do. If you like to sleep on your back, consider adding a pillow beneath your knees to give you added support and keep that curve in your spine. That way, you will wake up without that uncomfortable feeling of pins and needles.

Stomach Sleeping

Some sleep experts imply that people who sleep on their stomachs are begging for trouble. Seriously, people hate this sleep position. But if you love it, you know that there’s nothing like it. The trouble is that stomach sleeping causes the same problem that back sleeping does, only in reverse. The good news is that pillows can help. Just don’t pick super fluffy ones, unless you want to feel like you are perpetually doing the upward dog in yoga. Select a pillow for your head that gives support to your head AND neck. Add a pillow under your pelvis to put that curve back in your spine.

No matter how you sleep, there are two undeniable truths about sleep position and back pain: the right kind of support is crucial, and no one position is the only good choice. Most sleep experts will tell you that switching positions is a great way to minimize stiffness and soreness while sleeping, on top of using good pillows based on your sleep position choice. You simply cannot beat the benefit of a soft, supportive 4Sleep mattress and pillows to accompany it. With this combo and tips on sleep positions, you can bid back pain goodbye.

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