A third of our day is (or should be) dedicated to sleeping. That is about eight hours a day where your body is kept in a specific position, which can affect the curvature and stability of your spine. When we start putting ourselves in unnatural sleeping positions, it can lead to back pain as your spinal column is under more pressure. If you are already experiencing back pain, your sleeping position may be making it worse. So what are the best sleeping habits when you’re getting ready to turn in for bed?
Laying your back flat against the mattress is the best sleeping position for your body. Your weight gets distributed evenly, which puts less pressure on your spine, and your organs retain a proper alignment. On the other hand, sleeping on your stomach is the worst position, as it puts your neck in an unnatural spot and flattens your spine’s natural curve.
For those of us who prefer sleeping on the side, not all hope is lost. While there is evidence that suggests constant side sleeping can cause back pain and muscle imbalance, this tends to only be the case on poor quality mattresses. If you want to avoid back pain while keeping your side sleeping habits, put a pillow between your legs. Doing so helps keep the pelvis, spine, and hips aligned.
The quality of your mattress can greatly influences whether or not your sleeping position is to blame for your back pain. You have most likely seen commercials for how bad innerspring mattresses can be for your back. While this isn’t entirely false – a poor quality spring mattress won’t support the curve of your spine and can set off pressure points – a well made spring mattress can still be a good sleeping option. A foam mattress will still be a better choice if you can afford it, as it adjusts to your body’s shape and size. You can also buy a foam mattress topper on your spring mattress for more support.
You cannot sleep if you are not comfortable. If you are not getting enough sleep, you will be in a worse mood and more stressed the next day. Let this cycle repeat long enough, and you may be experiencing back pain not only from awkward sleeping positions, but from general stress. Knowing your habits and working around them is important in making sure that you keep yourself healthy. That might mean adjusting what time you go to bed, exercising in the day so you feel less stressed when you sleep at night, or adjusting your late night eating habits.
It can be difficult to determine what, exactly, is causing you back pain by yourself. If you feel as if you have taken all the right precautions with your sleeping habits and position, but your back pain is persisting, it may be time to seek the advice of an expert. New Jersey’s Garden State Pain Center specializes in all types of pain, and understands the needs of patients who want to start living a happier, healthier life. Contact us today to learn how we can help you recover.