While there’s many techniques we use at Absolute Wellness Center to aid healing, reduce pain and improve overall wellness, what you do outside of the chiropractic office directly affects how well your treatment takes and how long it lasts. One of these factors is your sleeping position. A surprising number of people are shocked to learn that sleeping on their stomach is actually detrimental to their health. If you’re in that faction, just try walking around all day with your head turned to the side. It won’t take long for you to feel pain, soreness, dizziness and neck and shoulder tension. Your body doesn’t like this position standing up, nor does it like it lying down.
The fact is, wrenching your head and neck in this way for even just a few minutes while sleeping (or standing) applies mechanical stress to the cervical spine and can significantly strain the supporting muscles and ligaments. Doing so on a nightly basis for years slowly adds pressure to the joints and nerves, contributing to irreversible spinal degeneration and encouraging the development of a variety of health problems including chronic neck pain, headaches, and arthritic changes.
While the task of changing sleeping position may seem daunting, there are several tricks and tips to help train yourself to quit sleeping on your stomach. It generally takes time, and like developing any new habit, you have to persevere. You can expect changes any where from one week to several months. Keep in mind that sleeping on your back is the most supportive for your spine, but even side sleeping is a vast improvement from lying prone.
Here are four ways to stop sleeping on your stomach…
#1: Use a memory foam pillow : A contoured or memory foam type pillow is specifically designed to help you maintain back/side sleeping. The contour shape of it makes stomach-sleeping nearly impossible; you will definitely wake up if you move into the wrong position during the night.
#2: Willpower: This tip is inherent to any of these approaches and is appealing because it doesn’t cost anything. It can be effective if you share your bed with someone who is a light sleeper. Ask them to gently nudge you if they notice you’ve shifted positions during the night.
#3 Pillow Power: Tucking a pillow (or two! especially if you’re tall) beneath your knees will help relax the muscles that line your spine and can make sleeping on your back feel less vulnerable. Barricading yourself with pillows on either side can also help you stay in place.
#4 Solo Tricks: Solo sleepers can use a variety of tips to sleep supine. One method entails tying a ribbon around your wrist and anchoring it to a bedpost. Rolling over will produce a tugging sensation and prompt you to change positions. An alternative is taping or velcroing a tennis ball to the front of your pajamas. The idea here is to make lying flat on your stomach unpleasant.
#5 Body Pillow: Using a memory foam body pillow (or “pregnancy pillow”) can help transition from stomach sleeping to side sleeping.is considered a side sleep stabilizer. A long, cylindrical body pillow, it’s designed to help stomach sleepers transition to side-sleeping. If you need the feeling of warmth, support or pressure to fall asleep, this can help.
If you follow even a few of these tips, you’re sure to be sleeping better in no time, and your spine will thank you in the long run. In addition to implementing these methods, receiving chiropractic adjustments will help improve spinal alignment and can help ease the transition process from stomach-to-side/back.
Want to learn more? Call us at 843-416-8218 for a consultation or appointment. We are never to busy to help you and your loved ones.
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