Individuals spend around one-third of their life sleeping or resting. Every person has their own preferred sleeping position. However, not all sleep positions are comfortable and supportive to the body, especially the spine. Individuals that sleep on their side or stomach that experience back pain might want to consider switching to sleeping on their back. Changing preferred sleeping positions can seem impossible, however, learning to sleep on your back is possible with a little training and adjustment period.
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Learning To Sleep On Your Back
After side sleeping, back sleeping is the second most common position. Individuals that are stomach or side sleepers that suffer from:
- Body and back soreness.
- Pain symptoms.
- Tension headaches.
- Heartburn or acid reflux.
- Aches in the joints and ligaments.
Learning to sleep on your back is recommended because its health benefits can potentially solve all these problems and more.
- Adapting this sleeping position can help maintain proper spinal alignment.
- Relieves waking up with tension headaches.
- Relieve sinus problems.
Individuals that are not natural back sleepers understand how difficult it is to force oneself to adapt to a new sleeping position. There are ways to condition the mind and body to fall and stay asleep on your back, resulting in healthy rest. These include:
A Pillow Under The Knees
- It may help to place a supportive pillow under the knees.
- The knees should be slightly bent and feel comfortable.
- Check to make sure that the neck and spine feel comfortable and are in alignment.
- Make adjustments as needed.
A Pillow Under The Low Back
- In the beginning, switching to back sleeping can increase discomfort in the low back.
- Placing a pillow under the lower back can help.
- Using too large or thick a pillow could create added discomfort.
- Try a few different pillows to find what works best and feels right.
- Individuals that are active sleepers and tend to roll onto their side or stomach soon after falling asleep, can place pillows around the midsection and hips.
- A small barrier of pillows around the body can assist in learning to sleep on your back.
- The pillows help prevent the body from rolling.
- It’s recommended to place pillows closely against either side of the body.
- Using the pillows as an enclosure will force the body to remain in a neutral position throughout the night.
Sleeping On The Right Pillow
- Individuals will want to make sure they are using the right sleeping pillow.
- In addition to supporting the spine’s alignment, a quality pillow will also support the neck.
- The recommended pillow for back sleeping should cradle the head and ensure it stays elevated.
- A pillow that is too flat or too thick can cause the head to become unlevel with the body leading to:
- Neck and upper body pain
- Restricted airflow, which may cause you to snore or suffer from sleep apnea.
- Digestive issues like acid reflux and heartburn.
- Consider a pillow that’s made out of some type of memory foam to assist with learning to sleep on your back.
- The thickness and hugging sensation can help to stay on the back and prevent inadvertently flipping over.
Sleeping On The Right Mattress
A positive back sleeping experience begins with the right mattress. There are so many mattress types to choose from. It is recommended to consider the materials, the firmness level, and the size. For comfortably sleeping on your back, the firmness level is essential.
- Consider the positioning of your spine.
- The objective is to keep the spine as straight as possible, which is achieved with the proper firmness.
- A mattress that is too firm will create unwanted pressure and tension on the shoulders and the pelvic region.
- A mattress that is too soft will cause the hips to sink, throwing spinal alignment off and causing back pain symptoms.
- A medium-firm mattress is recommended.
- Memory foam is a great option for learning to sleep on your back.
- Memory foam cradles the natural curve of the body, and hugs the body during sleep, which helps avoid accidentally rolling onto your side or stomach.
- Memory foam mattresses with integrated gel can provide cooling and ventilation to keep the body refreshed throughout the night.
- A medium-firm memory foam mattress will make sure the body stays straight, with the proper cushioning around the pelvis and hips.
Training To Sleep On Your Back
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Skarpsno, Eivind Schjelderup, et al. “Sleep positions and nocturnal body movements based on free-living accelerometer recordings: association with demographics, lifestyle, and insomnia symptoms.” Nature and Science of Sleep vol. 9 267-275. 1 Nov. 2017, doi:10.2147/NSS.S145777
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