"Hey Doc, what is the best way to sleep?"
This is one of the most frequent questions I hear at the office. If you sleep well at night consider yourself lucky, because trouble sleeping is a problem that plagues many Americans. If you are someone who tosses and turns all night, snores like a bear every time you lay on your back, or wake up so stiff you can barely move, then this blog is for you.
This is one of the best ways to sleep for overall body relaxation because your weight is evenly distributed throughout your skeletal system. Do you suffer from lower back problems? Sleeping in this position with a pillow underneath your knees, can help relieve pressure off your lower spine. Although this is a great way to sleep, many find it hard to do so. It also comes with one major downside. It may cause you to snore like a bear, as I mentioned above. Being on your back is the most unstable for your upper airway, which can cause many to snore as a result.
Side sleeping generally ranks as the most common way to sleep. It also creates little strain on your neck and spine, as long as they are supported correctly. Specifically, sleeping on your left side is best as it helps provide a normal flow of blood to your heart. Be sure to also sleep with a pillow between your legs to help avoid twisting of your lower body. Is there a downside to sleeping on your side? Research shows there can be an increase in acid reflux symptoms with side sleeping. It is also said to increase wrinkles as half of your face is smooshed against the pillow. But don't worry, nothing than regular chiropractic care can't help with....hahaha (see previous blog).
To be honest, there isn't much good I can say about this sleeping technique. It may help with snoring, but that comes at a price. Stomach sleeping puts an extreme about of strain on both you neck and spine in general. The neck being the worst, as it requires you to keep it at a 90 degree angle the entire time in order to breathe. With the nature of the skeletal system as it is, sleeping on your stomach also increases stress on your organs. If you are someone that loves to sleep on your stomach, it can be a very hard habit to break. Slowly transition to more and more side sleeping, and eventually you will break the habit completely.
In closing, always listen to your body as to which position is best for you. If you are waking up sore and/or tired, then it may be time to play around with a different sleeping position. If you are suffering from a health problem that requires you to sleep in one position, listen to your doctor. Good, restful sleep is what a healthy body needs for proper healing and overall function. Getting quality rest every night goes a long way towards living a healthy life.
LIVE well. BE well.