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Is Sleeping On Your Back Better For You

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Why You Should Sleep On The Floor

We live an over-cushioned life, Bowman says. We sit in chairs at work, on sofas in front of the T.V., and we sleep on thick mattresses at night. All this cushiness, she argues, makes us soft.

Sleeping without a mattress, on the floor, as Bowman has done for 3 ½ years, has numerous benefits. Youll sleep better, achieve a deeper quality of sleep, and wake up feeling good, she says.

Wait, huh? Hows that?

Those super-pricey, memory-foam mattresses are movement restrictors, Bowman says. They lock you into one position. This prohibits the natural turning your body undergoes overnight. The aches and pains most people suffer after waking up are due to not moving for hours, she says.

By sleeping without a mattress, youll strengthen tiny muscles that build over time. Youre putting pressure on your body parts. Its like a massage all night. Bowman calls this dynamic rest that, coupled with daily foam rolling, will lead to a more robust muscle structures for athletic adventures.

Though I was skeptical I decided to give Bowmans suggestions a try. Recently, Id been suffering from annoying muscle knots bestowed upon me by a weight-training program that includes bench pressing, squats, and overhead presses. Maybe a thorough massage-via-floor would work them out?

Problem #2: Back + Flat = Pain

I did a little research on this one, and the general consensus was to stretch before bed. Apparently, if your hip flexors and hamstrings are tight, it can pull your lower spine out of alignment when you lie flat. Since I sit at a desk all day, it makes sense that my hip flexors and hamstrings would be tight, so I stretched. And⦠nothing. I still felt the pinch in my lower back. But most of my sources pointed to regular stretching as the solution, which, at first, I groaned at.

Oh, goodie, one more thing I have to do before bed, I thought to myself. But after five or six days, I was able to lie on my back without pain. So I’m safely and comfortably on my back, but I still manage to wake up on my side. At first, I think it’s a fluke, and I tell myself my body will get used to its new . When that doesn’t happen, I realize it takes more than simply overcoming the discomfort and pain issues to master this skill .

How Can Upper Back And Neck Pain At Night Be Treated

Upper back and neck pain can often prove quite complex to treat, but there are a few tips that you can implement to manage your pain more effectively. 

For instance, try switching to orthopedically designed mattresses and pillows, and if orthopedic products are out of budget or unavailable, opt for memory foam or feather pillows instead.

Also, pay attention to the loft size of your pillow.

I suggest back sleepers use a 45-inch-thick pillow, also known as a mid-loft pillow, and for side sleepers, go for a 57-inch-thick pillow, known as a high-loft pillow.

In addition to making changes to your sleeping arrangement, I also suggest you try passive and active forms of physical therapy in conjunction with appropriate medical management prescribed by a licensed doctor. 

Active forms of physical therapy like medically recommended exercises and passive forms of physical therapy such as applying ice packs to the area of concern, heat therapy, ultrasound therapy, electrotherapy, and massaging the upper back and neck can all be effective for pain relief.

The importance of medical management of upper back and neck pain cannot be underestimated. 

Is It Bad To Sleep With Your Arm Under Your Pillow

If you tend to sleep with your arms overhead, like hugging your pillow, you can easily pinch your lower shoulder. Instead of sleeping with your arm under your pillow, you can try sleeping with a pillow placed between your legs. This is a simple, but yet effective move to keep your legs accommodated for an extra strain to your back.

: Implement Good Postural Habits In Your Daily Routine

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It is vital to understand how your posture can substantially impact your long-term health. 

Try to implement good postural habits in your daily routine to help maintain the health of your spine and minimize the severity of your back and neck pain. 

Poor posture not only causes neck, shoulder, and back pain, but it can also severely misalign your musculoskeletal system, make your spine fragile by causing unnecessary wear and tear, and make it awkward for you to digest food.

To improve your posture while standing, make sure you stand up straight and tall by keeping your shoulders well back and pushing your chest forward and out, and put most of your weight on the soles of your feet by keeping them shoulder-width apart. 

Lastly, keep your head central, and your chin parallel to the ground for the ideal posture .

To improve your posture while seated, make sure you change your sitting positions often and avoid sitting down for long periods.

Aim to take breaks from sitting and do brief activities such as short walks or gentle body stretches to relieve muscle tension. 

Avoid crossing your legs in the sitting position and keep your feet on the floor with the ankles in front of your knees, and if your feet do not reach the floor, use a footrest for added support. 

Relax your shoulders when sitting and keep your elbows close to your body.

Lastly, use a back pillow for added comfort and to support your spine when sitting for extended periods .

Reasons To Sleep On Your Back

While most adults find the fetal position to be the most comfortable position for rest, sleeping on your back could be better.

Supine sleeping could be good for snoozers who want to:

  • Reduce heartburn. Sleeping on your back with your head and chest slightly elevated is the best position that could help eliminate nightly heartburn. Along with avoiding late-night snacks and other good habits, this sleeping pose can stop uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Get rid of acid reflux. This position might also be the best way to stave off acid reflux. Just make sure your stomach is lower than your esophagus so that food and acid cant crawl up your digestive tract while you sleep.
  • Stop neck pain. If you sleep on your side or stomach, it can be hard to keep your neck aligned with the rest of your spine. With the right pillow support, you can keep your neck in a neutral position all night long when you sleep supine.
  • Prevent shoulder stress. Sleeping on your side can mean you wake up with a lot of shoulder pain on the side against the mattress. Snoozing on your back eliminates this issue.
  • Put less pressure on internal organs. Sleeping face up may not only be good for your spine. As it turns out, you also put less pressure on your internal organs when you sleep on your back.

Sleep Positions For Sleep Apnea And Snoring

People with sleep apnea experience more light sleep and less deep sleep compared with people without apnea. A strong relationship also exists between a history of snoring and complaints of . Furthermore, many adults sleep with a partner, and snoring and symptoms associated with sleep apnea can negatively impact a partners’ sleep and daytime functioning. Poor sleep has also been linked to glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes, among other negative health outcomes.

Body position during sleep may reduce snoring and improve sleep apnea. One found that 50% of patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea and 19% with moderate obstructive sleep apnea both saw a 50% reduction in sleep apnea events by sleeping in a non-supine position. also has found that sleeping in the side position decreases the frequency and severity of these events in patients with obstructive sleep apnea and with central sleep apnea. Therefore, sleeping in the side position is recommended for people with both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

In addition to positional therapy, other treatment options for sleep apnea include:

  • Avoiding alcohol and certain medications such as sleeping pills
  • Using continuous positive airway pressure
  • Treating associated medical problems

Does It Treat Sciatica

is pain that involves your sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your hips, buttocks, and each leg. Its often caused by a bulging or herniated disc.

Like back pain, sciatica may be improved by sleeping on firmer mattresses. A softer surface can worsen sciatica because it rounds your back and stresses out your joints.

However, theres no hard evidence that sleeping on the floor treats sciatica. The reported benefits are anecdotal. If you have sciatica, talk to a doctor or physical therapist before trying floor-sleeping.

: Pair Your Mattress With An Adjustable Bed Frame

Pairing your mattress with an adjustable bed frame is an excellent way to reduce the chance of experiencing upper back and neck pain because you can adjust the angle of the bed to shift the weight away from your pain hot spots.

For example, increasing the angle of the upper portion of the bed can reduce the pressure on your upper neck and back whilst also helping to guard against snoring and acid reflux.

I recommend buying an adjustable frame with your mattress from the same manufacturer to prevent compatibility issues.

Both Puffy and DreamCloud offer compatible adjustable frames that you can bundle in at the point of purchase.

So How Can I Relieve My Back Painwithout Sleeping On The Floor

Side and back sleepers can put a pillow behind or between their knees to achieve proper spinal alignment, Solomon says.

While you’re at it, nix the pile of pillows at bedtimeyou only really need one or twoand make sure they’re not too fluffy and don’t prop your head up too much .

The 13 Best Pillows For Neck Pain

Something else to keep in mind: Pass on sleeping on your stomachit puts more pressure on your spine, says Solomon, making it impossible for your spine to stay neutral.

But your sleeping position aren’t the only things that impact your spine. According to Solomon, spine health is also determined by how much you exercise, how well you eat, and how you manage your stress. “There’s not one magic remedy,” Solomon says. “There are multiple factors that go into and sleeping is just one aspect of it.”

The bottom line: Proper spine alignment is crucial to relieve back pain, but you may need to try different positions and sleeping surfaces to find out which one feels best for you.

Caroline Shannon-KarasikCaroline Shannon-Karasik

Is Side Sleeping Bad For Your Shoulder

Some doctors discourage side sleeping because it can cause damage to the rotator cuff of your shoulder. Side sleepers place a lot of pressure on this group of tendons, so they need a pillow with good support.

Minimize left or right shoulder pain by making sure youve got your three pillows in check. Youll need one to provide proper neck support, one thin pillow between your knees, and one more in front of your stomach.

If you have shoulder pain from sleeping on your side, you can minimize the discomfort by wearing an arm sling to bed. The sling will keep you from sleeping with your arm in a strange and uncomfortable position throughout the night. Of course, you can always sleep on your good side to alleviate shoulder pain, but old habits are hard to break. To help, place a pillow at your back or sleep with your back to the wall to keep from returning to the bad shoulder side.

Make sure you have a mattress that hugs your curves in all the right places, and your pressure points will find sweet relief. A with a little give will provide just the right type of comfort to reduce shoulder pain.

Sleeping In The Fetal Position

Side sleepers who curl inward with bent legs are sleeping in the fetal position. Sleeping in the fetal position has many of the same benefits as sleeping on the side. also has found that sleeping in the side position significantly reduces the frequency of sleep apnea breathing irregularities.

Unfortunately, sleeping in the fetal position may cause joint pain or stiffness for some people. To reduce the risk of discomfort, curl in a relatively loose position or with a pillow between your knees.

Get A Pillow For Under Your Knees Or Lower Back

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If these steps havent worked and your mattress options are still slim, try putting a pillow under your knees. This will further help relieve the pain on your spine and may prevent your body from rolling over in efforts to reduce pressure.

Not sure what pillow to buy? Lie flat and have a friend check the distance between your knees and the floor and maybe even your lower back and the floor. The pillow you want is all about supporting your bodys natural curves, so you might not have to go all out. You could even stack two flat pillows, although I wouldnt recommend this for the lower back.

Pro Tips For Sleeping On Your Back

Changing your sleep position isnt easy, as our bodies have grown accustomed to our sleep ritual for years, Fish says. But using a pillow in different ways can help jump-start the change.

Here are some pro tips to consider:

  • Protect your lower back by tucking a pillow under your knees. This puts your spine in a neutral and supported position.
  • Sleep with legs spread and arms out, like a goalie. This way, youll evenly distribute your weight and avoid placing pressure on your joints. This posture has the added benefit of keeping you in place if youre training yourself to sleep on your back.
  • Try pillows on either side of you to aid as reminders. For your head, choose a pillow that offers support for the natural curve of your neck and keeps your spine in alignment. Fish says the key is to avoid pillow heights that tilt your chin to your chest.
  • Get elevated. For people with heartburn who cant sleep on their side, use a wedge pillow or elevate the head of your bed 6 inches with bed risers. Elevation can also help prevent sinus buildup for when you have a stuffy nose disrupting your sleep. It can also alleviate facial pressure and headaches.
  • Do You Sleep On Your Stomach

    Approximately 7% of people sleep on their stomach. This is sometimes called the prone position. It may help ease snoring by shifting fleshy obstructions from your airway. But sleeping in this position may aggravate other medical conditions.

    Your neck and spine are not in a neutral position when you sleep on your stomach. This may cause neck and back pain. Stomach sleeping can put pressure on nerves and cause numbness, tingling, and nerve pain.

    It’s best to choose another sleep position if you are a stomach sleeper. If you can’t break the habit, prop your forehead up on a pillow so your head and spine remain in a neutral position and you have room to breathe.

    The Best Sleeping Positions For Your Neck And Spine

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    • The Best Sleeping Positions for Your Neck and Spine

    Your body doesnt shut down when you sleep. The night is a regenerative time. Our bodies are mending and rejuvenating so that when we wake up we feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. Thats not always automatic, though. When it comes to back and neck pain, your body needs a little help from you to get things right.

    The position in which you sleep has a direct impact on your spine health. Most of us will wake up at some point in our lives with neck or back pain and oftentimes our sleeping position is the culprit. What can we do to fix it? In short, the way to ensure a happy spine is to keep it neutral. Neutral means that your spine is straight. This starts with your head and neck and goes all the way down. Even things like having your hips/pelvis tilted one way can in turn twist your spine.

    Below is a breakdown of the four most basic sleeping positions.

    The Overall Best: On your back. Sleeping on your back evenly distributes weight throughout your body and avoids unnatural or unnecessary curves in the spine. Use a small pillow underneath the head and neck to keep everything in alignment. Even better, a small cylindrical pillow in the crook of your neck supports your neck and keeps your head neutral on the mattress. Do note, though, that this sleeping position can cause some people to snore.

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    Is Sleeping On Back Better For People With Gerd

    Dr. Mark Sacher

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    Because It Will Benefit Your Neck And Your Back

    Sleeping without pillows will help your back extend, and you will rest in a natural position without any consequences or aches. Using a pillow that is too soft can strain your neck muscles and even decrease the blood flow to your head. If your head tilts downward on a pillow that doesnt provide adequate support for your head, then your airflow through the respiratory system will be . Because of this, you might wake up in the morning feeling light-headed or with a headache.

    On the other hand, using a thick pillow or even stacking more pillows underneath your head and neck will deform your position of the spine and induce pain in your back. Sleeping like this for long periods will only cause chronic back pain and frequent muscle strain. If you are suddenly starting to experience aches or pains in the morning, try sleeping without a pillow for a few nights to see if it helps.

    The Best Sleep Position For Your Spine: On Your Back

    Sleeping on your back is the best for putting your spine in a neutral alignment, but only 8% of people sleep in this pose.

    A few strategically placed pillows can boost the benefits of back sleeping. A small pillow underneath your head and neck will help keep your spine straight. Adding a pillow under your knees will provide even more support and comfort, as it encourages your spine to maintain its natural curve.

    Though back sleeping is the best for your spine, it has a few drawbacks:

  • Its not best for those with sleep apnea. Back sleeping may cause the tongue to block the breathing tube, so those with sleep apnea should not sleep on their backs. Instead, they should sleep on their side with legs straight.
  • Its not best for snorers. Back sleeping can worsen snoring. Those who snore should sleep on their side with legs straight.
  • Its not best for pregnant women. Pregnant women who sleep on their backs risk developing a myriad of health problems, from back pain to low blood pressure. Plus, the on-the-back position decreases blood circulation to the heart and the baby. The best sleep position during is sleeping on the side with legs bent.
  • Sleeping On Your Stomach Puts Unnatural Pressure On Your Spine It Forces Your Neck To Twist To Either The Right Or Left Side An Unnatural Position

    Stomach sleeping also puts the majority of your body weight on the middle of your back. This applies pressure to the natural curve of your lower back, causing it to bend more than it should.

    If you just cant come around to back sleeping, side sleeping or sleeping in the fetal position is preferable to stomach sleeping. Side sleepers who cant make the change to back sleeping are encouraged to use a pillow between their knees. Placing a pillow under your knees will align the hip flexors and neutralize the spine. Snorers should sleep on their side, as back sleeping can make snoring worse.

    What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Restful Sleep

    Is It Better To Sleep With Or Without A Pillow

    Fact-Checked

    The best sleeping position is generally the one that promotes the best slumber. This varies from person-to-person based on personal preference and physical and medical factors. While some studies suggest that sleeping on ones side is preferred, as well see below, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Read on to learn more about the benefits and risks associated with various sleeping positions.

    This Is How Your Sleeping Position Is Damaging Your Skin

    While we know that good quality sleep affects our overall health, it is also important to understand that our sleeping position has a profound impact on our skin health.Sleeping helps our skin rejuvenate after a long day and knowing the ideal position to lay down is important to aid in its recovery and to avoid fine lines, crow’s feet, etc.Here’s more.

    Side Sleeping: A Solid Runner

    Side sleeping with your legs straight is the second-best position for avoiding back and neck pain. Its also a good position for or anyone with sleep apnea because it keeps your airways open. If you can, stretch your legs out straight and tuck a pillow between your knees to keep your spine in a neutral alignment.

    Another type of side sleeping with your legs bent upwards is less ideal for your back. Known as the fetal position, it may be the most popular sleep style, but it promotes an uneven distribution of weight that can cause back pain and sore joints. Try straightening your body into a relaxed position by untucking your chin and adjusting your knees. If youre , its a comfortable way to take the weight from your back.

    Supports A Healthy Spleen

    The spleen, part of the lymphatic system, is also on the left. The spleen is much like a gigantic lymph node, except that in addition to filtering lymph, it also filters blood. When you lay on the left side, drainage back to the spleen is once again made easier by gravity.

    Remember, the lymph system drains all the cells in the body via movement and muscular contractions, rather than being pumped by the heart. Helping the lymph to drain to the spleen and heart with gravity is a good thing!

    Sleeping On Your Back Is The Most Recommended Sleeping Position Because The Vertebrae In Your Back Can Align Naturally In A Neutral Position Without Any Kinks Or Curves

    If you think about your spine as a line of string running through your head, neck, and back, you can visualize the way your body moves. Sleeping on your back keeps the head, neck, and back aligned as a unit.

    Back Sleeping and Sleep Apnea

    Back sleeping isnt best for everyone. Back sleepers who have sleep apnea or who snore are encouraged to switch up their sleeping position. Sleep apnea can be worsened by back sleeping. The tongue can relax and fall into the throat, creating breathing difficulties. People with sleep apnea are encouraged to or try or sleeping with the head of the bed elevated says Dr. Bhavik Sheth, Physical Therapist.

    For more information on side sleeping, refer to our article on the best mattress for side sleepers.

    Best Sleeping Position During Pregnancy

    Pregnant women should also be cautioned against back sleeping. Toward the end of your pregnancy, it might be the most comfortable position. Yet, its not recommended because the weight of a pregnant tummy can put too much pressure on your circulatory system. Pregnant women are encouraged to sleep on their left side to maximize blood flow.

    : Apply Sleep Hygiene To Aid Muscle And Mind Relaxation

    Following a good sleep hygiene routine can help to relax your mind and body which may in turn help to alleviate your upper back and neck pain.

    One of the best practices for good sleep hygiene is to minimize all types of distractions near bedtime, so you can fall asleep quickly and get an uninterrupted and sound nights slumber.

    9.1: Maintain a Silent and Calm Environment in the Bedroom

    For most of us, its difficult to fall asleep in a noisy environment, so my advice is to create a quiet bedroom atmosphere to help you relax and fall asleep easily .

    A calm sleeping space helps you unwind and destress, which, in turn, boost your overall health and well-being .

    9.2: Avoid Bright, Flashy, and Flickering Lights in the Bedroom

    Sleep disruptions are common in the presence of excessively bright lights, and overly bright or flashy lights in the bedroom can harm your sleep-wake cycle .

    Thus, I suggest you try to dim your bedroom lights at least a few hours before bedtime and switch them off before you go to sleep. 

    Also, ensure that your bedroom lights do not flicker, as flickering lights tend to trigger headaches in some people and make it harder to fall asleep .

    Try these 19 ways to make your room pitch black for better sleep.

    9.3: Avoid Electronic Devices for 2-3 Hours Before Bed

    I recommend you try to observe a period of no screen time in the evening hours. 

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