We’ve all suffered through the nightly toss and turn. Sometimes, no matter how comfortable your botanical mattress is, you just can’t seem to find the perfect position to fall asleep. While everyone’s sleep preference is different, there are modifications we can all make in our sleep positions to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Spinal Health Care breaks down the sleep positions that are the best and worst for our bodies. The positions below are especially useful for those with lower back pain and sciatica.
Prone lying refers to sleeping on your stomach. Sleeping this way can force your back to arch down towards your stomach. This ‘arching down’ of the back is referred to as extension, and if your lower back pain/sciatica does not like extension based activities, you’re most likely going to have a poor night of sleep if you regularly sleep in this position.
For those of you who can’t stand the idea of not sleeping on your stomach, (yours truly included), try the suggested alternative method. It’s basically the same position with the addition of a pillow or two under your stomach. This will prevent the back from arching down as much and lead to a pain free sleep.
Supine lying is better known as sleeping on your back. In this position, your back can arch the direct opposite way of prone lying. while these positions are very different, the results are the same: pain and a poor night of sleep.
To adjust this position for back support, try lying with your knees bent, also known as crook lying. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of keeping your knees bent all night, put a few pillows under them for support.
According to Spinal Health, side lying is the most common and seemingly best position to sleep in. It puts less stress on the back and body in general than the previous positions we’ve discussed. A pillow or two will still come in handy for this position. There are still ways to aggravate your back in this position which you should be careful to avoid.
This position tends to put a twisting stress on the lower back as well as the soft tissues of the lower back, buttock and upper leg (which will include the Sciatic Nerve). If you were to sleep in this position, these increased stresses would potentially aggravate your pain, resulting in you waking during the night or waking in the morning with increased pain and stiffness.
On the other hand, if you were to place a pillow or two underneath your top leg for support…
This will help support the top leg and lower back in a more neutral position, which in turn will decrease the stress placed across the low back and associated structures, resulting in a better night’s sleep.
Of all the positions I have covered above, it is usually the last position, side lying with pillow(s) for support, which people find the most beneficial and comfortable. In the end, only you know which position is right for you. Try them out over the next week, see which one gives the best results, and let us know!
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