The quality of your sleep will impact various facets of your lifestyle. How you sleep will affect your hormones, metabolism, cognitive abilities, focus, mood, and even your physical comfort.
Back pain is a common occurrence among adults in the industrial world, mainly in part to the prevalence of desk jobs. However, your sleep may also impact whether you feel back pain and how severe the issue will be.
Here are some helpful tips for getting better sleep and combatting back pain.
Invest in a High-Quality Mattress
The best thing you can do for your back while sleeping is to invest in a high-quality mattress. If you bought a high-quality mattress eight years ago, it’s time for an upgrade. Even the best-made beds experience natural wear and tear that will impact how they support your back over time.
Choosing the best mattress for you depends on a few factors, including your preferred sleeping style, your body type, and if you have any underlying conditions (like arthritis). Here’s a great place to get started when trying to choose the best mattress to support your back.
Use Pillows for Extra Support
Everyone’s body is different. Sometimes, even the best mattresses aren’t quite good enough for your unique contours and sleeping style. If this is the case, you can always use extra pillows for support.
If you sleep on your side, consider putting a pillow between your knees to help keep your spine aligned and remove pressure points. It’s also beneficial to hug a pillow to prevent tilting, leading to upper back and shoulder pain.
If you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees to aid in spinal alignment and lessen the pull from your legs as you relax.
Finally, if you sleep on your stomach, consider putting a thin pillow under your belly and pelvic region to keep your spine from dipping. Without ample support, stomach sleeping will put undue pressure on the spine and lead to low back pain.
Change Your Sleeping Position
If you’re a stomach sleeper, it’s worth trying to shift to a different sleeping position, as this is the worst position for back health. While it’s challenging to shift sleeping positions after a lifetime of laying the same way, it’s well worth the effort.
Try starting in a back or side sleeping position, using pillows to offer additional support and structure. Over time, you should be able to change your habit of stomach sleeping and learn to be comfortable in other positions.
Choose the Right Pillow for Your Head
Your spine is a mechanism that connects the top and bottom of your body. That means that the legs or the neck cause some of our back pain issues. So, when trying to diagnose the cause of your back pain, start at the top and work your way down.
The first consideration is your neck alignment. If your neck isn’t appropriately supported for your sleeping position, your spine won’t be aligned and supported.
If you’re a back sleeper, you need a medium to thin pillow to keep your neck and spine in alignment. Stomach sleepers need a thin pillow under their heads to keep everything aligned. Finally, side sleepers require something thicker and more supportive to keep the neck from tilting toward their shoulder.
Remember to replace your pillows biannually to ensure continued support and structure.
Keep a Sleep Journal
Finally, consider keeping a sleep journal to help identify any issues contributing to your restless sleep and back pain. Note how long you slept and what activities you did throughout the day. You may find that your back pain flares up when you’ve missed a few days of physical activity or that you toss and turn more after eating late at night. A sleep journal will help you correct your issues with a scientific approach.
With these simple tips, you can perfect your sleeping habits and reduce your back pain