Do you ever wake up from a nap and feel a crick in your neck? Feel like your sleeping posture isn’t helping your back/neck/shoulder pain?
There doesn’t seem to be the “best” sleeping position, but there are changes you can make that can help with the aches and pains you already have… and can help prevent you from developing even more aches and pains upon waking. Note: Sleeping is a habit, so some of these changes may be hard getting used to!**
Image from Wall Street Journal's "Find the Perfect Sleep Position"
If you have…
Shoulder pain –
Sleep on your back, and try to avoid sleeping on the side with the shoulder pain. You can put a small pillow under the shoulder with pain if you sleep on your back. If you sleep on the side without the pain, try hugging a pillow so that your shoulder isn’t drooping down.
Neck pain –
Stick with back or side sleeping, and try not to sleep on your stomach.
Pillow choice is also important. You want one that will fit in the hollow of your neck above your shoulders: one that isn’t too high or too low.
You want to keep your spine in a neutral position, so try sleeping on your back. If you have lower back pain, you can put a pillow under your knees or feet so that your spine is more aligned.
If you are more of a side sleeper, you can bend your knees put a pillow between your legs so that your hips aren’t sinking
Your head should be more elevated than your stomach, so that gravity will work against the acid reflux coming from your stomach into your esophagus. So: avoid sleeping on your back. Instead, try sleeping on your side or elevating your head up with a slightly bigger pillow. (Don’t prop your head up too high! If you do, it can cause neck problems.)
Obstructive sleep anea/snoring…
This is often caused by your tongue somewhat blocking your airway, so try to avoid sleeping on your back.
* Tips came from Wall Street Journal article: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424127887324595704578241642030220064
* Neck pain information from Harvard Medical School Health Publicsations: