How you position yourself while you sleep has a big impact on the comfort of your back. Depending on your spinal alignment, your sleeping position can determine whether you wake up feeling refreshed or groaning in pain.
As we spend over a third of our lives tucked away in bed, this can have a large impact on our overall back health. Luckily, you don’t need to change your preferred position, just tweak it slightly to ensure your back remains supported.
Keeping your spine in a neutral position is key, even if you prefer sleeping on your side. To do this, draw your legs up toward your chest slightly and then place a thin pillow between your knees.
This stops your top leg from falling over your bottom leg and prevents unnecessary spinal curvature. If you find the pillow moves throughout the night, why not try a body pillow, which maintains its position better.
Sleeping on your back is widely acknowledged as the best for back health, but it’s still important to ensure your spine is properly aligned. Try a pillow placed under your knees to help maintain your lower back’s natural curve. (This has the added benefit of working to prevent or reduce lower back pain.)
If you find you need extra support, try rolling up a small towel to place under the small of your back.
Sleeping on your stomach is one of the hardest positions on your back as it flattens the natural curve of your spine. However, a few small changes can improve your back health.
To prevent lower back strain, place a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis and to prevent neck strain, try sleeping without a pillow under your head. If you find this impossible, choose a thin design to minimise the misalignment.
Another way you can improve your spinal health in this position is by switching which side you turn your head too every other night, to ensure you are not straining one side unduly.
Sleeping Propped Up:
If you need to sleep propped up, for health or comfort reasons, be sure that your spine remains in a neutral position throughout the night. If you’re using pillows to prop yourself up, ensure your entire torso is lifted, as many only raise their chest, putting unnecessary strain on your spine.
An adjustable bed is the ideal choice, as they allow you to choose your ideal level of incline while ensuring your back can remain in the best possible position.
If you find your back is still aching after changing your position, it may be time for a new mattress or bed. On average, a mattress stops supporting you adequately after 7-10 years. Be sure to replace your pillow often, as these also have a large impact on your back health.
To find out more on which pillow is perfect for your position, check out this pillow guide on The Natural Sleep Company website.