The importance of good posture is difficult to overstate. The body works best when it’s properly aligned, and is especially important to the health of the spine. It allows for nerves to develop stronger connections with each other, and removes unnecessary stress from the muscles, ligaments and tendons; freeing any physical restrictions the body may encounter.
The correct alignment also contributes to digestion efficiency, as the abdominal organs aren’t being restricted for space as they are when the posture is poor.
Unfortunately, those who work desk jobs, or jobs that require them to stand for long periods of time, form the highest number of victims to poor posture; a matter that has indeed been exacerbated from the increasingly familiarity of the work from home setup.
The once-usual run of the normal routine is feeling a lot closer to home these days, and it’s starting to show on skeletal health.
Sitting down/standing up for hours on end may seem like the most obvious culprit for the prolonged deterioration of the nation’s posture, and although it is a contributing factor, much more of the condition is associated to our experience of how we sleep.
When we fall asleep, the body is being kept in still positions for far longer than it usually would during the day. If the spine is crooked, the body is twisted, or one limb is pinned under another, the muscles and tendons that support that particular area are then placed under an enormous amount of long-period strain.
And this is when cracks in the posture will begin to emerge, evolving into a much wider concern for your overall health.
If you’re waking up in the morning to physical pain and discomfort that you usually wouldn't feel at any other point in the day, especially in the shoulder and neck region, it’s a good indication that you’re probably not sleeping in the best position.
If this is a common occurrence for you, here’s some alterations you might want to consider making to your sleeping arrangements.
Use A Pillow to Support your Body
Although everyone sleeps in a different position naturally, anyone can benefit from a strategically placed pillow when they sleep.
The neck is definitely the most important part of the body to support during the night, and a pillow should be placed so that the tip of the chin and the neck form a comfortable right angle; following the natural cervical curvature of the spine. In addition to this, if you’re a side-sleeper, your spine will benefit massively from a plush pillow placed between the knees.
This prevents the body from twisting, whilst keeping the hips in line with the rest of your back.
If you’re regularly feeling pain either when you wake up, or over the course of the night, it’s worth knowing that there are many options available to you that can help to ease the effects of physical strain and stress.
Nighttime helpers such as soothing body wraps and herbal aromatherapy sprays can act to dim the experience of pain, and their benefits are worth utilising if you’re trying to make changes to your posture.
Change your Mattress
The mattress forms the baseline for the amount of comfort you experience during the night, but if your mattress has already worn through its most beneficial state, it’ll be near impossible to garner any kind of good experience from it.
The telltale signs of an out-of shape mattress include creeks, squeaks, stains and a general lack of springiness; factors that can all contribute to bad posture. If you think this is you, do Goldilocks proud and reevaluate your mattress game; and your pillow game whilst you’re at it too!
As an often overlooked contributor to poor posture, sleeping with people and pets in the bed isn’t always the best choice for nighttime physical support. Not only does it increase the temperature of your sleep sanctuary, but bedtime neighbours often restrict the natural flow and position of the body.
So if you’re someone who’s frequently experiencing the likes of morning physical pain or nighttime insomnia, we’d strongly like to suggest that if you can, try to sleep alone.
Support the Breasts
For all of our fabulous female readers, we’re sure that all of you are tirelessly familiar with the physical drawbacks of the bust; not least the impact it plays out on your posture.
Women at all ends of the sizing spectrum will have at some point felt the effects of breast related injuries and strains, and these aren’t limited to just the sunlight hours. The breasts shouldn’t compromise the comfort of sleeping, which is why it’s highly suggested to find the right support for the job.
Readdress your Sleeping Position
They say that you currently sleep in the position that you were put in as a baby, and although this speculation might ring slightly true in some cases, it’s never too late to reevaluate the position you’re embracing when you sleep.
Although, ironically, this is no overnight switch, it is possible to introduce the body to the best sleeping position for you, and to slowing train it to embrace that position over a long term basis.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position for Posture?
Having taken in all of the above, thoughts about posture-positive sleeping positions will be swirling around in the air. So let’s bring that thought into the conversation, to what we believe are, in order, the best sleeping positions for posture:
1. Flat on your back: The best recipe for good posture and a night free from strain and stress is to sleep on your back. It maintains the natural alignment of the spine, and takes pressure off of the heart.
This is a very neutral position for the body to be in, and can also help to reduce snoring. Pillow-wise, you should place a single pillow just under your head, and another one comfortably under the knees.
This arrangement supports two pivotal parts of the skeletal frame, whilst also allowing for healthier digestion and lymphatic drainage to take place with ease.
2. On your side: Sleeping on the side comes in at a close second, which is good, because the position isn’t all that bad for posture if it’s done with as much care for comfort in mind as possible.
When sleeping with one shoulder above the other, the neck angles towards the bed, pulling the upper spine along with it. The lower back compensates for this strain, leading to the spine being twisted.
Sleeping with two pillows under the head will support the weight of the head and keep it level with the rest of the spine. Sleeping with another smaller pillow placed between the knees will help to add an extra level of support to the spine and especially the hips.
3. On your stomach: As the least favourable position from our trio of suggestions, sleeping on the stomach places the spine in an usual position, because with pillows, the head is pushed too far back, and without, the weight of the head draws the neck and upper back too far forward.
Internally, the position places pressure on the heart whilst restricting digestive activity, and it can also cause stress to nerves; resulting in a morning of numbness, tingling and nerve pain.
The most important take-away from this is that the body should be kept in a neutral and level position whenever possible during the night. The positions we adopt as we rest are set in over many hours, and therefore all levels of support should be embraced to avoid injury and the development of poor posture.
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