Learn how to Sleep on Your Back
There’s no specific sleeping position that’s perfect for everybody. For instance, while it is recommended that newborns are laid on their backs so as to avert sudden death syndrome (SDS), pregnant women may find it uncomfortable when they relax on their backs as it is bound to cause more pressure on the stomach.
Also, a person suffering from back pain or sleep apnea may not find back sleeping to be the best as it can worsen their situation. However, there’s no denying the fact that back sleeping is one of the best positions to sleep. There are many benefits to be enjoyed when you sleep on your back. Some of these benefits include:
- Precise spinal alignment
- Helps minimize the chances of getting wrinkles, creases, acid reflux, and irritated facial skin
- Helps with the reduction of tension headaches
- Relieves sinus buildup
- It can help minimize chronic conditions by reducing compression and pressure.
Although medical experts say that sleeping on your back is one of the best sleeping positions, it doesn’t come naturally to most people. Unlike side, fetal, and stomach sleeping that comes naturally to most people, sleeping on your back may require some amount of training.
The ideal way to sleep depends on the current condition of your body. In fact, WebMD denotes that only about 13 percent of the population sleep on their backs. However, you can learn how to comfortably sleep on your back without developing any health issues.
Training Yourself To Sleep On Your Back
To become a back sleeper, you need to ensure that you have the right mattress, the best pillows, and you have created a relaxed sleep environment for yourself. Besides the fact that you’ll be able to sleep comfortably, these factors will also allow you get a deep and restful sleep.
So, how do you train yourself to become a good back sleeper? Below are the steps you need to follow:
Lay On Your Back
While this may be an obvious suggestion, it’s basically the right way to start. You’ll need to lay down flat on your mattress, keeping your head, neck, and spine in a neutral pose. Also, you’ll want to resist the urge to rotate your knees or head to the side.
Elevate Your Head
Pillows are the main tools you’ll need in this section. Ensure that your pillows are supportive and highly comfortable. Use a pillow to slightly raise your head while keeping your spine aligned.
Your pillows shouldn’t be too high or too flat as that will make your spine unaligned, paving the way to back pain. You can also put some pillows under your arms so as to get even support.
Support Your Knees
If you are not used to sleeping on your back, you may experience some discomfort, pressure, or pain on your lower back. Therefore, it is recommended that you put a pillow under your knees so as to get relieved.
Additionally, if you sit or stand a lot during the day, there’s a chance you’ll feel some pressure when sleeping on your back at night. How then do you make yourself more comfortable? You can do some light stretches before going to sleep so as to minimize your chances of feeling discomfort and pain.
Engaging in stretching exercises like “the pigeon” and holding it for up to a minute can relieve your hip flexors and hamstrings that may have become tight due to prolonged sitting.
The Starfish Position
The starfish position is a back sleeping position that’s extremely comfortable. However, it’s not the best position to sleep if you share a bed with a partner. This position involves you laying on your back and spreading your arms and legs wide, just like a starfish. While the starfish position is comfortable and helps relieve pressure and pain, your partner may not find it that exciting.
The Soldier Position
Unlike the starfish position, the soldier position is the best sleep position to engage in if you want to sleep on your back and you also have a partner. In fact, according to WebMD, about 8% of the population sleeps in this position. You lay flat on your back with your arms close to your body.
To make yourself more comfortable with this sleeping posture, you can add a pillow under your knees and arms. This will help minimize the risk of getting lower back pain.
Setup A Pillow Boundary
Doing this will ensure that you don’t roll over during the night. If you sleep with a cuddly partner, you can use pillows to create a fortress that helps remind them not to cuddle you during the night.
Keep At It
Sleeping on your back isn’t something that occurs to you naturally, and that’s why you’re training yourself to be good at it. Therefore, just as with any training, you need to be persistent. The first few nights may be daunting and uncomfortable, but if you keep at it, you’ll surely become an avid back sleeper.
You may find yourself rolling on your stomach or sides during the night, don’t let that stop you. Simply go back to sleeping on your back and with time, you’ll get used to it.
Is It Better To Sleep On Your Back Or Side?
According to Cleveland Clinic, it’s actually better to alternate between both positions during the night. Lying exclusively on your side can cause shoulder pain and sleeping on your back every night can increase the risk of developing back pain.
Switching between side sleeping and back sleeping allows you to remain comfortable during the night while supporting proper spine alignment. Both sleep positions are better than stomach-sleeping.
The fact that gravity keeps your body centered over your spine is what makes back sleeping the best sleeping position for spinal alignment. All you need it the perfect pillow and your neck will be able to maintain it’s posture.
A good memory foam pillow or a latex pillow is recommended. If you suffer from back pain but have gotten medical advice to sleep on your back, then you can simply add a pillow under your knees to reduce the pain.
On the other hand, when you’re side sleeping, you’ll want to keep your chin straight ahead and your head in a neutral position. Curving your chin down while sleeping on your side in the fetal position can cause a painful forward head experience.
How Should I Sleep With Lower Back Pain?
There are many ways to sleep comfortably if you’re experiencing pain on your lower back. According to a study carried out by the Global Burden of Disease, pain on the lower back is one of the leading causes of disability around the world.
Surprisingly, serious health conditions like arthritis and cancer are usually not the cause. Instead, this pain is often brought about by awkward sleeping positions, strain and stress from bad posture, and other lifestyle habits.
Below are some of the best methods to try if you’re experiencing pain on your lower back:
Sleep with a pillow in between your knees
This is a great method for side sleepers. If you can’t lay flat on your back and don’t want to worsen the situation by lying on your stomach, sleeping on your side and putting a pillow between your knees is a great way to reduce pain on the lower back. The pillow will keep your spine, pelvis, and hips aligned, thereby reducing pressuring and increasing relief.
Ensure that the side of you are resting on, as well as your shoulder, whether left or right, touches the mattress. Then place a pillow between your legs. Some people will feel a little gap between their waist and mattress. If you find yourself in this pose, add a small pillow for enhanced support.
It is, however, important to note that you must alternate between the left and right sides as you sleep. Don’t remain in one position for too long, or consistently sleep in one position every day. Doing so may cause health problems like scoliosis and muscle imbalance.
Sleeping in the fetal position
Many people fall asleep this way. It’s one of the best sleep positions for those experiencing pain on their lower backs. All you need to do is lay flat on your back, roll over gently to one side, and curl your torso towards your knees while tucking your knees towards your chest.
This is a good way to sleep especially if you have a herniated disc. Just as with the first recommendation above, remember to switch sides so as to prevent muscle imbalance.
Lying on your stomach
You may have noticed that we’ve said sleeping on your stomach isn’t a good way to sleep. How, then does it fit into this section? Well, if done right, this mode of relaxing can be one of the best ways to sleep.
Stomach sleeping causes stress on the neck and that is why it’s not the first sleep mode that will be recommended by experts. However, many people are used to this mode of sleeping and may find it quite difficult to adjust.
So, instead of forcing yourself into other positions, simply put a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis. This will help you relieve pressure on your back. Also, depending on how you feel, you may or may not use a pillow under your head.
Lying on your back with pillows tucked underneath your knees can be helpful in dealing with pain. When you back sleep, your internal organs and spine are well aligned in their correct positions. Also, your weight is evenly distributed and there’s typically less strain on pressure points.
To execute this method successfully, you need to lay flat on your back, keep your spine neutral and place a pillow under your knees. For added support, you can add a small, rolled-up towel below the small of your back.