Sleeping Posture – Is There an Optimal One?
As a physiotherapist, one of the most commonly asked question that my patients ask me is “What is the best sleeping posture?”. This is a somewhat difficult question to answer because it depends on what mattress you use, your weight, if you have any injuries, and many other variables. However, we will attempt to answer this question in this article by discussing the different factors.
What is the best position?
The best sleeping posture may differ for everyone depending on your preference. In general, we recommend sleeping in the a position that maintains your spinal curve. One of the easiest position where you can achieve this is sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knee or on your side with your knees slightly bent.
These general guideline changes if you do have some back condition. Though the foetal position is not recommended normally, if you have some back conditions, it is actually the preferred sleeping posture. Sleeping with a lumbar roll may also help you. You should seek some advice from your physiotherapist if you have doubts.
Lastly, you should avoid sleeping on your stomach especially if you have an old mattress. This puts undue stress on your lower back and may cause aches and pain the next morning when you wake up.
Does my mattress matter?
Yes! So many of my clients are using mattress that they’ve been using for 15 to 20 years just because that’s the one they bought when they moved into the house. Mattresses lose firmness over time. This causes the mattress to sag and not able to maintain your spinal curve. Regardless of whether you sleep on your back or your side, a saggy mattress causes your spine to adopt a ‘C’ shape which is not good in the long term.
The general guideline is, the heavier you are, the firmer your mattress needs to be in order to take your weight and still allow you to maintain the natural spinal curve.
What about my pillow?
The best pillow is one that is neither too high nor too low. Your ideal sleeping posture depends on your normal posture when you’re upright. Most people have a slight forward head posture due to their desk bound jobs. As such, a slightly higher pillow is recommended in order to support your neck enough during your sleep.
Another thing to note. A lot of us use our pillow wrongly. The pillow should only support our head and neck, but not our shoulders. If you find that your shoulder is on your pillow, it would already cause your head to be in an abnormal position.
We hope this article answers your question about the best sleeping postures. Below is a video where we explain how to use a contour pillow properly. Contact us if you have any questions. Follow our Instagram account for more videos of useful exercises.