How Chiropractors View Sleeping Positions

On which side of your body do you sleep?

On which side of your body do you sleep?

On which side of your body do you sleep?

On which side of your body do you sleep? Perhaps you sleep on your back, side or stomach? In fact, many people will start their night’s sleep on different sides of their body, so there is no correct way to sleep. However, there are medical professionals who do carry recommendations as to the best position that you can put your body in for a proper night’s rest.

One recommendation that chiropractors will make is the proper use of pillows to create the best neck and head support so that you can sleep soundly and wake up without feeling pain in the neck and back areas. Of course, you will need to use the right type of pillow that properly cushions the head while still offering the best support, but first we will review the different sleeping positions that people use to get a good night’s rest.


The Most Common Sleeping Positions

While there are certainly many different types of sleeping positions available, the most common are on the back, side and stomach. With each position, the pillow and the body will need to be in the correct position in order to get the most amount of support while being comfortable. When you sleep, your body is still active and will move around in different positions as you rest. However, a lot is dictated by the position that your body starts in when it slips into unconsciousness, so knowing what position that you are commonly in when your sleep cycle starts will help you determine just how well your body will rest.

What follows is information that will help you get the best night of sleep possible based on advice from chiropractors who understand the mechanics of the human body. 


Sleeping on your back

Sleeping on your back

Sleeping on your back

Studies have shown that most people tend to fall asleep on their back. There are many reasons for this and one is that it is a very natural position, especially with the right mattress support and pillow. However, this position is also one that generates the most snoring as well. For those who start their sleep cycle on their back, you will need two pillows for maximum support.

Place one pillow under your head for the best support and the second pillow under your knees to help take the pressure off of your lower back. The pillow under your knees needs to be one that is firm so that it doesn’t give too much under pressure. Also, your spine will actually assume its natural shape so you will be less likely to wake up with a kink in your back or neck in the morning. The pillow under your head should be medium firm so that it provides enough softness and comfort. The back of your knees are generally much less sensitive than the back of your head to the firmness of a pillow.


Sleeping on your stomache

This is not a recommended position, but many people sleep on their stomach anyway and will do so at some point in the night even if only briefly. The one advantage of sleeping on your stomach is that if you have the right type of mattress, you will not need a pillow to support your head. However, it is recommended that you get a firm pillow to place under your hips or stomach in order to reduce the stress on your lower back. If you still feel the need for a pillow for your head, then you’ll want to place it in such a manner that it supports it while your nose is pointed downward. Sleeping with your head turned at a sharp angle away from your body can certainly cause neck and upper back pain when you wake up in the morning.

You can even benefit from a third pillow placed just under your ankles to help provide greater support for your spine. This means that you may actually use more pillows than sleeping on your side or back. 


Sleeping on your side

Sleeping on your side

Sleeping on your side

Although more people start on their back, most people will actually sleep on their side during the night. Sleeping on your side does offer benefits such as being less likely to snore and also being the best for your spine since it takes away the pressure of being on your back or stomach. If you start your sleep cycle on your side, then you’ll need two firm pillows. One pillow should go under your head and the other between your knees to not only keeps them separated, but to take away pressure from your hips and lower back.

In fact, if you sleep alone or have a large bed, then a body pillow can be a great investment since you can “spoon” with it as it supports your hips, legs and shoulders without moving around in the middle of the night.  Sleeping on your side does offer many benefits if you have the use of firm pillows and can keep the pressure off of your spine while keeping your head and neck aligned.


Choosing the Right Pillow

Pillows are not all the same as they range from very soft to very firm in their levels of support. In addition, the actual price of the pillow is no indication of its quality either as there are a myriad of materials that pillows can be made from regardless of their brand or price.

The most popular types of pillows include the following;


All four of these types can be used to support the head and neck, under or between the knees and the ankles as well. Since everyone has their own unique needs when it comes to the type of pillow that is used, the best advice is to get one that offers good support for the entire night.

It may take a bit of trial and error, but with a concerted effort you can find the right pillow combination along with sleeping position that will greatly reduce, if not eliminate neck and back pain when you wake up in the morning.


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