We all need a good night’s sleep. I cannot stress how important sleep is for our body and health. Almost half of the diseases and conditions that occur result from poor sleep: poor sleep leads to stress, and stress leads to half of the autoimmune diseases. Diabetes, heart problems, cardiovascular diseases, and poor immune function are just at the top of the list. Your sleep suffers when you are stressed and overworked.
And while stress is often a factor, there are other factors that can affect your sleep as well. For example, back pain, shoulder pain, or any other aches can disrupt your sleep. What I want to show you today is that by changing your sleep position, you can fix your sleep. As a result, you’ll get pain-free sleep.
Let’s start with something many people experience due to the office lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed to. Most of us work in offices. Sitting in front of a computer for six to eight hours per day puts a lot of pressure on your back; you want to stretch and do some exercises. But back to the sleeping position. The best sleeping position for back pain is sleeping on your back. In addition, place a pillow just under the knees to restore the natural curve of the spine. You know, that “S” shaped curve we need for reducing tension.
Now, I know some people prefer to sleep on their stomach. I must say, that is arguably the worst position if you have back pain. But nevertheless, if you want to sleep on your stomach, I can help you. This time, place a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis. This way, you improve the curve of your back and reduce the pain.
If you are sleeping on your side, curl into the fetal position and place a pillow under your lower back. But I must stress that sleeping on your back is the best position for back pain. And always use a pillow under your head and neck.
If you have shoulder pain, sleeping on your back is again your best option. You can also sleep on your side. But let’s talk about sleeping on the back first. Place a thin pillow under your head. Add a pillow on your stomach as well. Make sure to hug the one on your stomach. This will stabilize your shoulders.
Never sleep on your stomach if you have shoulder pain.
For side sleepers, lie on the side that is not causing pain. Then, draw your legs up toward the chest. Place a pillow between your knees to reduce tension.
The most important aspect for reducing neck pain is a proper pillow. I recommend getting an anatomic/orthopedic pillow for neck pain. Your neck should be supported at all times while sleeping. You need a pillow that serves a “tailor-made for you” purpose. Like the suit that looks “glued” to you.
The best position for neck pain is sleeping on your back. Place a pillow under your head and one under each arm. A roll pillow is also a good option for your neck.
For side sleepers, the most important aspect is that the pillow is not high. The pillow should match the width of your shoulder. This will ensure that your neck is always in the correct position. As a general rule of thumb, look for a pillow that is under six inches in thickness.
One of the biggest problems for people is snoring. I remember when I was in high school, I had a friend who snored. Whenever we were on a trip or something, and we slept in the same room, we told him to wait for us to fall asleep. But that didn’t fix his problem.
To relieve snoring, you need to sleep on your side. Sleeping on the back can cause your tongue to fall back into the throat. So, sleep on the side to allow airflow. Another important aspect is the pillow. Stay away from soft pillows like those filled with feathers. You can even add an extra pillow to prevent your tongue from falling back over the windpipe.
Leg cramps usually occur in the feet and thighs. But they can happen in any part of your legs. The best way to prevent cramps is to stretch your calf muscles before going to bed. Yoga and massages also help. However, there is no sleep position that will prevent cramps. If you have regular problems with leg cramps and muscle spasms, I recommend taking a magnesium supplement before going to bed.
Can’t fall asleep
There are so many factors that affect your ability to sleep at night. Start by putting away your phone and computer away one hour before you go to bed. I would also like to share some common mistakes:
- Do not drink coffee one hour before going to bed.
- Do not drink alcohol two hours before going to bed.
- Do not smoke an hour before going to bed.
- Try not to watch horror movies before going to bed.
- Do not perform active exercises, like lifting weights, before going to bed.
If you want to improve your ability to fall asleep, here are some things you can do:
- Read a good story – even just few pages – from a book or a short story.
- Drink a glass of water an hour before going to bed.
- Open your window, if possible, to get fresh air in the room.
- Do some yoga stretches that will relax your mind and body.
- If all else fails, try the old-fashioned counting sheep.
Cannot stay asleep
Some people have trouble falling asleep, others have trouble staying asleep. I must say, there was a time I was waking up at three in the morning and couldn’t fall asleep for an hour afterwards. But those times are history. One of the reasons people have trouble staying asleep is because they have electronics in their room.
I know some people love having a TV in the bedroom, but electronics and their vibrations can affect your sleep cycle. Even your smartphone should be put away, unless you really need that alarm.
Try not to eat just before going to bed, as you will disrupt your bowel movement and you will probably wake up during the night. The same applies for water. As I said previously, a glass of water an hour or two before going to bed is great. But if you drink a glass of water and go to bed instantly, you will wake up.
Last, but not least, try to adjust your room temperature. The ideal temperature to support your sleep is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 21 Celsius).
Cannot wake up
I know a lot of people who have trouble waking up. Me, personally – I’m programmed to wake up just minutes before the alarm goes off. But it took years and years of training to get there. When I was younger, my stereo system played my favorite music as a wake-up alarm.
To train yourself to get up and out of bed in the morning, set your alarm for the same exact time every day. And that applies to the weekend as well. Yes, I know that after a while it will be irritating to wake up at 7 or 8 am in the morning on the weekends. But you will also wake up on time during workdays. And most importantly, you need to get enough sleep. So, if you need to wake up early, go to bed early. As simple as that.
There are many reasons why you might feel heartburn at night. But most of that comes back to the food you eat. If you consume food that causes inflammation, you’ll feel heartburn at night. One way to fix this problem is to sleep on your left side. This sleeping position will prevent the contents from coming back up into the esophagus. If the heartburn is consistent over a few days, visit the doctor for a checkup.
Another problem that can disrupt your sleeping is aching legs. Some of the causes for aching legs are poor circulation disorders. But diabetes can also lead to damage to the nerves in the legs. Spine problems like herniated disk also cause soreness of the joints and muscles.
To solve the problem, use a roll pillow to keep your legs lifted while sleeping. You can also use the foot of the bed in the same way. The goal is to allow blood circulation to your legs. Rubbing or massaging your legs before sleeping helps as well. But most importantly, avoid caffeine for at least four hours before going to bed.