Most people go to bed and don’t think twice about their sleeping position. But if you sleep in an awkward position and don’t know how to improve posture while sleeping, you might wake up feeling worse than when you went to bed.
The sleep positions we favor can make or break our quality of life. In the long run, finding the perfect pillow or using a firmer mattress won’t make a difference if you sleep in an unnatural position. Even if you use an older mattress, you may still get a good night’s sleep if you use healthy sleeping positions.
Let’s dig deeper into finding the perfect sleeping position and its impact on overall health.
Why You Should Improve Poor Posture
Improving sleep posture isn’t about jumping into a new, popular sleeping position. Instead, it involves finding the correct position for optimal results, even while asleep.
While maintaining proper posture is a given for many people, maintaining spinal alignment and natural curvature is harder in a sitting position. What’s more, the possibility of keeping the lower and upper spine in alignment goes straight out the window for most when it’s bedtime.
Yet, you risk joint pain, muscle weakness and increased muscle stiffness if you don’t correct these bad habits.
According to Medical News Today, this is even more imperative if you already have lower back pain. This is because sleeping in abnormal positions only places unnecessary strain on your back and worsens the pain.
Sleeping with proper posture is also extremely beneficial for overall health and offers multiple perks.
Health Benefits of Maintaining an Optimal Position While Sleeping
There are several benefits to keeping your spine neutral and maintaining natural alignment while sleeping. Some of them are:
Reduced Risk of Health Issues Like Acid Reflux
Proper sleeping postures minimize the risk of heartburn and acid reflux symptoms at night. Thanks to the proper alignment of your entire body, the acids in your stomach won’t be able to rise to your chest as easily.
Alleviation of Breathing Conditions
From obstructive sleep apnea to asthma, maintaining proper body positions while sleeping can positively affect several health issues. Your choice of sleeping positions can cause louder snoring, especially if you’re dealing with obstructive sleep apnea.
But, with better sleep habits, you can initiate better air and blood flow in your body, easing breathing and improving your sleep quality.
Easement of Muscle Spasms and Strains
Watching out for your spinal health can also result in lesser back, neck and joint pain.
For example, your neck muscles often suffer when you don’t assume a good position for sleeping. And, depending on how poor the position and sleeping conditions are, you could also suffer shoulder pain and discomfort in your leg muscles.
While it doesn’t qualify as an alternative treatment for aching necks, shoulders or abdominal muscles, good sleeping habits alleviate muscle tension and are great for preventing cramps.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of assuming a good sleeping posture, as identified by the University of Rochester Medical Center, is that doing so actually protects the back and facilitates healing during sleep.
All of this proves the importance of improving posture while sleeping. In addition to seeing a physical therapist or any other medical professional, here are a few things you can do to transform how you sleep at night.
How to Improve Posture While Sleeping
Find a Mattress With the Right Qualities
Changing the normal position you sleep in and getting better-quality rest is like a puzzle, and one of the largest pieces is your mattress. Although you may be able to find the right sleeping position with an older mattress, it may be tough to do so.
This doesn’t mean you need to lose your current mattress. As long as your mattress can support your weight, has the appropriate amount of firmness, and isn’t too thick, you should still be able to assume a proper sleeping position.
The mattress’s firmness and texture are important, as a mattress that is too hard or too soft can place excess strain on your cervical spine.
Use the Right Type of Pillow
Even if you don’t use a Sutera pillow, make sure you opt for a suitably-firm pillow that’ll offer the right level of support to your head, neck and spine. The best types of pillows ensure your neck slants at a proper angle while also working to relieve muscle tension.
In cases where a head pillow doesn’t seem to do the trick, you may want to switch to a cervical pillow. As these are specially designed to cater to the neck, you’re almost guaranteed to see better results.
Maintain a Neutral Position and Alignment When You Sleep
This is arguably the hardest thing you’ll have to learn if you want to improve your posture while sleeping. After a long or stressful day, your bed is the last place you want to do any kind of thinking.
Yet, being conscious of how you fall asleep is highly essential.
For example, lying flat on your back with an extra pillow below your knee is often enough to relieve back pain and improve sleep quality. You can also sleep on your side.
However, it’s easy to fall into awkward positions as sleep deepens, and you need to make sure you have enough room to roll around on your firm mattress. Otherwise, you could worsen your spinal health.
Feel Free to Move Around
Sometimes, lying on your back or either side just doesn’t cut it. Should this happen, don’t hesitate to change positions throughout the evening to see what works. The most important thing is to make sure you don’t fall into an awkward angle.
You can prop pillows under your arm or arms for support as necessary if it helps alleviate any discomfort.
Focus On Your Standing and Sitting Posture During the Day
When you assume the correct sitting or standing position during the day, accomplishing the same at bedtime is usually less of a challenge.
To gauge your position for posture, you can try a simple trick.
Stand with your back straight against a wall while ensuring the back of your head and shoulder blades are firmly touching the wall. If that position feels awkward or unnatural to you, then it means you need to adjust your posture.
One simple way to fix your posture includes standing more often and sitting with your shoulders back and head held high. Given time and consistent practice, you should see improvements.
Learning how to improve posture while sleeping involves some awareness. Even these proper sleeping positions might feel unnatural to you for a while.
However, with time and a little patience, you will see improvements in your comfort levels. Eventually, your mental health will improve as you get better sleep.
Until you get the hang of this, you may want to learn how to sleep with shoulder pain or severe neck pain.