Hey Dr. Meg what type of mattress and/or pillow should I buy?
I get this question all too often and my response is usually, “one that you can return!”
What I mean by that is it is very difficult to tell what type of mattress and pillow suits everyone of us and our assorted back and body issues. So, let me review some helpful hints to help alleviate stress on the spine and body while sleeping (Or trying to sleep).
How To Sleep Properly
There are certain sleep positions that are better for your back and the overall alignment of your spine than others. Truth is, to keep your spine in perfect alignment, you SHOULD sleep flat on your back. But few of us do it right.
Sleeping on Your Back Correctly
Roll up a sheet or towel. Tie the towel around your waist to provide support for your lumbar spine. A lumbar support allows your spine to retain its neutral and proper alignment.
Lie on your back on a comfortable and supportive mattress. Place a pillow or small bolster under your knees. Bend the knees slightly. Relax and let your thighs and feet turn out.
Place a buckwheat or sobakawa roll under your neck in lieu of a pillow (or just a roll a comfortable towel), as recommended by chiropractors. Use a roll that is the same thickness as your neck.
Sleeping on Your Side Correctly
Lie on either your right or left side. Rest your head on a standard pillow that is the correct thickness so your face points straight ahead. Avoid a thicker pillow that will cause your neck to rotate up or a thinner pillow that would turn your face toward the bed.
Bend your knees slightly and place a pillow between your knees to keep your pelvis stable. Do not twist your pelvis or your spine will not be in the correct alignment. Keep your knees away from your chest and avoid sleeping in the fetal position.
Switch sides occasionally so that you do not always sleep on one side during your lifetime. Sleeping on one side causes your chest and spine to eventually shift to one side.
- Special pillows such as neck pillows may help you sleep with better posture. Ask your chiropractor what she recommends.
- Place a board under your mattress if your box spring isn’t offering enough support to keep the mattress from sagging. If you are experiencing back pain, you may try placing the mattress on the floor.
*On Your Stomach*: Apparently, it’s a real no-no to sleep on your stomach, due to the increased amount of stress placed on your spine (specifically your neck and low back). Who knew? But if you must, then you should raise one leg up slightly and prop a pillow under that knee. It’s sort of an enhanced side sleep position.
Poor posture can affect your physical and emotional well-being. In addition to increased tension, poor circulation to limbs and back and neck pain, you can suffer the emotional strains of chronic pain. Adjusting your sleeping positions can positively affect your posture, if you can minimize stress on your back, neck and shoulders during your 8-hour rest.