One of the ways you can support your spinal health is by making sure that you are sleeping correctly. You spend about a third of each day in bed, so how you sleep has a large impact on your overall spinal health. If you are working with your chiropractor to get your neck and spine in alignment, one of the best ways you can support your treatment is by making sure you are sleeping correctly.
As a side sleeper, there are specific ways in which you should support your body in order to keep your spine in the right alignment. Side sleeping is a great sleeping position, as it allows you to really support your lumbar curve.
Before you fall asleep, you need to make sure you that everything is aligned. To do that, you need to check the position of your head, shoulders, and hips.
The Position of Your Head
Switch out your old pillow for one that is made from gel or some type of foam. Gel and foam pillows are designed to be soft and firm at the same time and customize to your head. Your pillow should also be a cervical support shaped pillow; these pillows ditch the old pillow format and are specifically made to support your neck and head.
As you sleep, the one thing you need to be careful about is how you position your chin. You want to keep your chin out and even -- don't tuck your chin in toward your body. It can be natural to tuck your chin in toward your body when it is cold; however, this can cause tension at the base of your skull, leading to a headache.
The Position of Your Shoulders
When sleeping on your side, you need to carefully check how you position your shoulders. The shoulder or side you are laying needs to be directly under your body, with your arm pulled in close to your body.
Avoid having your bottom shoulder extend out in front of you with your arm extended away from your body. When you position your shoulder like this, you are more likely to wake up with upper back pain around your shoulder blade.
The Position of Your Hips
How your hips are positioned matter as well. Many people naturally turn their hips towards the mattress when sleeping on their side. Turning your hips towards your mattress causes your spine to not be properly aligned, which can lead to pain in your lower back in the morning.
Instead, try to keep your hips straight up and down so your hips make a straight line with one another. Add a pillow under your knees if your hip muscles feel strained at all.
Before you fall asleep on your side, check the position of your head, shoulder, and neck. Although you may shift as you sleep, making sure you fall asleep in the right position will help your overall spinal health.