The one-third of your life that should be spent sound asleep can cause serious harm to your back and your overall health. Whether you're a side sleeper, stomach sleeper or back sleeper, here's a breakdown of how to get in a prime position for better sleep.
Position Yourself for Success
Side Sleepers This is the best position for a healthy night's sleep. It helps protect the alignment of your back's 3 major curves: the lower back, middle back and lower neck. Improper side sleeping can result in the over-constriction of shoulder and neck muscles. To avoid pelvic rotation and lower spine contortion, place a fluffy pillow between your knees. A second fluffy pillow can also be used to fill the space between your ear and the outer edge of your shoulder to equally support both sides of the neck.
Back Sleepers Never use a fluffy pillow if this your favored sleeping position - it pushes the head forward in an uncomfortable reversal of your neck's natural curve, resulting in neck pain, headaches and decreased breathing capacity. Use a thin pillow under your head and a lumbar pillow to maintain the natural curve of your spine. Money-saving tip: create your own by rolling up a bath towel.
Stomach Sleepers This is the worst sleep position for your spine. Turning your head to one side distorts the alignment of the spine and neck, leading to chronic lower back pain, neck pain and headaches. In addition, your body weight compresses the lungs, impeding their ability to breathe fully and deeply. The best solution for stomach sleeping? Change to side- or back-sleeping if you can. If you can't use a very thin, flat pillow to minimize the above side effects.