Many of us put waking up with back or neck pain down to our daytime habits – hunching over a computer or lugging a heavy handbag. But should you be more concerned about the posture you adopt while you sleep?
Experts believe that sleeping in a position that compromises posture and puts strain on certain areas of the spine could worsen – and even cause – back and neck pain. But don’t worry – you don’t necessarily have to abandon your customary sleeping position, because something as simple as where you pop your pillow could make all the difference.
The take-home message? Whether you prefer to sleep on your side, back or front, your head, chest, shoulders and spine should be aligned as they would be if you were standing upright with good posture. Additional pillows can be used to promote good alignment by filling any gaps between your body and your mattress.
If you sleep on your back…
Placing a pillow under your knees can reduce strain on the spine.
Placing a pillow between your knees will reduce stress on the lower back and help to stop your upper leg twisting your spine out of alignment. Side sleepers often need two head pillows, whilst back and front sleepers need just a single thin one. A body pillow is a good alternative to separate head and knee pillows for side sleepers. Don’t make the mistake of assuming they’re only of benefit to pregnant women!
Experts suggest sleeping on your side, using an orthopaedic or cervical pillow designed to keep the neck in alignment with the spine. Slipping pillows between your knees and under your upper arm may also help.
Place a pillow under your knees (try experimenting with roll or contoured ‘knee’ pillows) if you sleep on your back, between your knees if you sleep on your side, or under your hips if you sleep on your front.
And finally, if you suffer with a lack of sleep due to snoring…
A snoring partner that keeps you awake every night is a living nightmare. Not only does it put a strain on your relationship, but a lack of sleep can also lead to health problems.
However, putting up with snoring could soon be a thing of the past, following the development of a mattress that is specifically designed to adjust to a person’s sleeping body. The mattress, aptly named the 360 Smart Bed, was unveiled at the CES technology show in Las Vegas, and could be on the market very soon.
The high-tech mattress works by inflating or deflating to contour your stomach, back and sides, as you move in your sleep. If snoring starts, the bed will gently tilt your head upwards to open up the airways. The smart mattress also comes with a range of other features to drastically improve your quality of sleep.