by | Ask the Doctor

Q: I do not get restful sleep and I don’t want to take a medication for this. It might be that I cannot get comfortable. Can you offer some tips on proper sleeping position?

A: With all the emphasis recently placed on sleeping problems, it is important to know some of the physical ways to improve your nights instead of taking over-the-counter medications. Chiropractors, who are musculoskeletal experts, regularly make suggestions to their patients on how to have a restful night’s sleep. For example, once a baby is born and begins to grow, sleeping in the fetal position is no longer appropriate… this is contrary to the common practice of many of us.

Once a person develops curves in the spine after beginning to walk, it is essential to maintain these back shapes during resting periods. It is best to sleep with your knees and hips only partly flexed, almost as if standing. The healthiest position is on your back with a pillow under your knees and a small pillow to support your neck and allow your head to be back some to allow a gentle curve of your neck. The second best position is on your side with a pillow between the knees. It usually helps to have a body pillow that you can also hug as it is easier on the upside shoulder. In the side posture, it is very important to use a pillow of proper thickness so your neck is not able to drop to far down for too small a pillow or be pushed up into your ear by using too think or too many pillows. Of note…Side posture can lead to shoulder and hip pain more commonly. I can say nothing good about sleeping on your belly. Biomechanically, it makes no sense to sleep this way. Try to have your pelvic bones parallel to your shoulders. Keep your spine straight and do not permit it to sag into the mattress, which frequently causes nighttime sore backs.

When awake, injuries occur most often when people are bending at the waist to pick up a package, slouching in a chair, stooping over a table or even sneezing. Traumas are common as well when sitting down, because the lumbar spine is flexed and vertebral and disc injuries can more likely occur. The potential for these injuries can be reduced simply by supporting the spine in good sleep postures.

If you are not sleeping soundly – exercise and make yourself tired, don’t eat sweets after 3 pm, or have coffee after noon. Turn off the TV and lights and get some soothing sounds to listen to while you relax and wait for sleep to come. See your chiropractor for more sound advice and to get an adjustment which can help with some of the aches that keep you awake!

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Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!

Voted Best Morgantown Chiropractic Office 2018, 2019, and 2021!