If Only I Could Get a Good Night’s Sleep!


Sleeping soundly is vital for restoring the body’s energy and health.

The quality of your sleep is directly related to how well you recover from an injury and how well you perform during the day.

Sleeping with poor posture can have the same effect as having poor posture with daily activities. Your body has increased biomechanical stresses that can produce pain and stiffness. Your sleeping posture can contribute to neck, back, and shoulder pain, as well as cause headaches. This also prevents you from having enough sleep and doesn’t allow for the healing your body requires at night. It’s important that your body is supported in a good spinal position and you’re able to fully relax in a pain-free position.

Here are some tips on posture support and positioning while you sleep. These positions help the body relax and to move away from pain or discomfort. You’ll be able to use less support when you are pain free, but  it’s always important to try and use proper support to keep your head, spine, and pelvis in neutral alignment.

Good support will allow you to have relaxed, pain-free sleep, letting your body heal and rejuvenate for the day ahead. Sweet dreams!

On Your Side
Your pillow should be thick enough to support your head from tilting too much toward the bed and not too thick that your head is tilted up toward the ceiling.

Support the natural curve in your low back by folding a small towel and placing it under the curve in your low back.

Place a pillow between your legs from your body line to your ankles to keep your spine and pelvis in good alignment.

Place a pillow in front of your body to hug and support your arm from hanging across your body.

On Your Back

Use a soft or flat pillow for your head. Scrunch a feather pillow on top of your regular pillow to support your neck curve, or use a small folded towel.  Make sure your head position is neutral and not hanging back over the pillow or tilting your chin towards your chest.

Place a small towel under the curve of your low back for support.

Place a pillow under your legs and knees. It’s important to place the pillow starting at your hips and sit bones going down to your knees. This will better support your pelvis and spine.

On Your Stomach

While it might feel comforting, this sleeping position is not recommended because it’s difficult to keep good spinal alignment. A partial prone position may be an option.

Roll to a 45-degree angle with a pillow support along your body (place a pillow between your legs from your hips to your ankles).

Your head should be over the corner of your pillow in a minimally-rotated and flexed position.

By Susan Hourigan, Physical Therapist at PRO Medical

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