Good posture is essential both when we are awake and when we sleep. Regardless of the positions in which we fall asleep and which we assume during sleep, it is essential that our spine remains in a neutral position, maintaining the natural curves of the body.
Here’s how different sleeping positions can affect our rest:
Supine position (lying on the back)
Sleeping lying on your back is considered the best position for sleeping as it avoids the onset of back pain and any muscle contractures; it also counteracts gastro-esophageal reflux. To sleep on your stomach it is sufficient to have a pillow of the right height, which keeps the head in a neutral position, that is, not too bent either forward or backward. The network and the mattress are also important to maintain the right physiological curves of the spine .
But be careful not to sleep on your stomach with your hands behind your head: in addition to the appearance of annoying tingling in the hands, the nerves of the brachial plexus are also tense.
Lateral position (lying on the side)
This is the recommended sleeping position for those suffering from reflux, acidity or heartburn . Alternatively, it is best to avoid it as it causes pressure on the stomach, liver and lungs. Furthermore, on older generation mattresses, pressure points can be created where the blood does not circulate well; these cause annoying tingling, resulting in sleep interruption. However, it is always advisable to keep the back in a neutral position and the legs rather elongated ; on the other hand, positions that are too tightly packed should be avoided as they put tension on muscles, ligaments and discs. Finally, the bed system suitable should not be too rigid, but must accommodate the shape and weight of the body, allowing the shoulder and side area to adapt to the mattress, for optimal anatomical support.
For those suffering from back pain, a pillow placed below the knee helps to relieve the weight of the pelvis.
Prone position (lying on the stomach)
This is the most not recommended sleeping position as it is potentially damaging to the spine. In this position the head is rotated to one side creating tension in the muscles and ligaments of the neck. Furthermore, if the bed is too soft, an excessive arching, and therefore stretching, of the lumbar area is created. However, if this is the only position in which you can fall asleep, check that the head is not too flexed or extended, opt for an anatomical pillow and place a low pillow under the pelvis.
This position can be harmful even if we flex the hip more than 90 °; this is because a torsion of the pelvis is created which stretches the lumbar tissues.
And in particular situations what is the correct position to assume during sleep
The best position for sleeping during pregnancy?
Specialists advise pregnant women to sleep on their left side, with their legs bent and surrounded by pillows. These will help not to turn around during the night and, therefore, not to assume a supine position or on the right side; by doing so, in addition to resting better, the weight exerted above all on the liver, kidneys and intestines is lightened.
Also, to feel more comfortable and be as comfortable as possible throughout the night, you can put a pillow behind your back, one under your belly and one between your legs. In this way, in addition to preventing the appearance of hemorrhoids, the sense of nausea also subsides.
Do neck pains give you no respite?
The most correct sleeping position for cervical sufferers is the one that keeps the neck line naturally curved and aligned with the rest of the spine. Therefore, the advice is to sleep on your back with a low pillow; this must support the neck without being too soft and accompany the natural curvature of the same and the shoulders without forcing its rigidity.
Alternatively, you can also sleep without a pillow as long as the mattress is able to mold itself perfectly to the shapes of the column.
What position can you sleep in if you suffer from sciatica?
The best position for sleeping with sciatica is on the side, in the fetal position, perhaps with a pillow between the legs to reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. As a pillow, on the other hand, opt for a model that is sufficiently high (13 – 14 cm) and compact so that the cervicals are aligned with the spine.
Alternatively, you can try sleeping on your back; in this case, place the pillow under the knees to lift them and thus also reduce the pressure exerted by the body on the sciatica.
Does reflux wake you up at night?
Recent research has shown that sleeping on the left side keeps the junction between the esophagus and stomach above the level of gastric acid, thus limiting gastric reflux. Alternatively, a valid and effective solution is given by the “anti reflux” network; this type of support is specially designed to tilt the entire support surface of the head and shoulder area by about 20 ° so as to help and promote normal digestion and to counteract the rise of gastric juices with the force of gravity.
Finally, as a third solution, there are triangular mattresses on the market, called “wedge”, to raise the mattress in the cervical area and, therefore, sleep with a slight slope.
How is it best to get out of bed?
To many, getting out of bed may seem like an irrelevant thing but, in reality, it is very important. During sleep, the discs of the spinal column are filled with liquid and, therefore, getting up is a delicate moment for our back. For this reason, before jumping out of bed, it would be a good habit to “warm up” your back with light movements. However, the best way to get up is to roll over on your side, bend your knees and take them out of bed, then push with your hands to get up.
In conclusion, each of us has our favorite sleeping position and to be able to fall asleep. In the case of incorrect postures, the use of small precautions, in addition to a bed system (network, mattress and pillow) suitable for the person and their sleep, certainly helps to improve the quality of rest, thus being more active during the day.