The importance of good spinal alignment during sleep is often overlooked, but it can significantly impact your health. Many factors contribute to poor spinal alignment, and that list includes the mattress you use, pillows you sleep on, and even how you position yourself in bed.
Getting good spinal alignment during sleep can be achieved fairly simply – by making sure your pillow is right for you. Pillows vary in height (called loft) and are one of the main factors in how well your neck is supported.
Other types of pillows can help relieve pressure from your back. Proper alignment can help to reduce pain and discomfort as well as improve the quality of your sleep.
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Why is spinal alignment important?
One of the main reasons that spinal alignment is important is that it helps to reduce snoring. A good alignment will help you to maintain a more neutral head position while sleeping. This helps your body breathe better. When your airways are not blocked, you snore less. On the other hand, a poor alignment can constrict your airway and lead to difficulties breathing and snoring.
A good spinal alignment is also greatly beneficial for how well you sleep. Did you know that people sleeping on their back tend to have higher quality sleep than those sleeping on their stomachs or sides?
If you are not a back sleeper and want to explore your options, the best way to start sleeping on your back is to use a lower loft pillow so your neck does not get pushed too far forward when lying down.
You can also use a knee pillow under your knees if you feel tightness in your back when while sleeping on your back. Once you are comfortable sleeping on your back, you can gradually remove the additional supports. Eventually, you will be able to sleep on your back comfortably without the use of extra support.
The benefits of a good spinal alignment go beyond physical discomfort. Proper spinal alignment improves the quality of your sleep by allowing you to breathe better, allowing you to wake up feeling refreshed. If you have tried numerous pillows and still face the same issues, you can look into other factors, such as your mattress. You can also consult sleep experts or a doctor for advice.
Common signs you are not sleeping right
1. Feeling stiff when waking up in the morning
If you feel pain in your neck, arms, or back after waking up, it could be due to bad spinal alignment, which is a common sign of poor alignment. Stomach sleepers are especially likely to get this pain.
Most people snore because their airway is blocked due to poor spinal alignment. Getting a proper pillow could help with aligning your neck better during sleep.
3. Feeling tired after enough sleep
If you have been waking up groggy every day, even if you had the recommended 7 or more hours of sleep and feel like you lack focus in the day, a poor sleeping posture may be the cause. You should try different pillows to find one that suits you.
4. You like sleeping on your stomach
Although sleeping on the stomach can be comfortable, it is not highly recommended as you put your spine in a strained position when laying on your stomach. If you still love sleeping on your stomach but want to get good alignment, you can try a low loft pillow.
How to improve spinal alignment during sleep
The first step is to find the problem. You can try sleeping on different pillows or mattresses and observe how you feel when you wake up in the morning.
Then, you can start to experiment with different sleeping styles. Your sleeping style may evolve over time, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
After sleeping positions, the most common culprit would be your pillow, as it determines how high your head and neck are during sleep. Choosing the right loft for your pillow can make a big difference.
You can also consider the other pillows, such as a bolster, orthopedic pillow, or knee pillow. These pillows all act as additional support for your body when sleeping.
For side sleepers, a knee pillow or bolster to alleviate the pressure from your knees and back.
For back sleepers, you can get a round pillow to lift your knees up when sleeping.
For front sleepers, you can get an orthopedic pillow that has additional arm space underneath your head.
A good spinal alignment is important to ensure we are resting at our best. The key to learning the best sleeping setup for you is by experimenting. Through trial and error, you will be able to understand what suits you and what doesn’t.
Good spinal posture plays a big role outside sleep. Your back pain could also stem from your daily life, such as how you are sitting on your chair during the day, or physical activities you do, so be sure to keep that in mind!