On average, over the course of a lifetime we spend one third of our lives sleeping. That’s a lot of time! Which makes me wonder, why don’t we take our sleeping position more seriously?
Let’s not turn this into a lecture about why sleep is important. Bottom line is – If you want improved performance, better mental clarity and a faster recovery, you need 8-9 hours per night. Do you think the sleeping position you adopt will have an overall effect on the quality of sleep you’re getting? Absolutely. Do you think the position you choose will also have a long term effect on your muscles, joints and posture? Ofcourse it will.
The majority of people will sleep on the front, side or back. Sleeping on your front isn’t ideal because of the way the head rises up on the pillow and as a result places excess stress on the neck and spine. Essentially crushing the cervical joints. The way the head twists to the side isn’t good either as this will effect the way you breathe during sleep.
Sleeping on your back would be a better choice. However some studies show you might be at higher risk of obstructive sleep apnea. So if you’re a back sleeper and always tired, despite getting 8-9 hours per night, this may be why.
So we’re left with the side lying position. If you’re a side sleeper, you’re probably in good shape (mechanically). A study published on The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice reported no neck or shoulder pain was experienced from the side lying position.
So sleeping on your side sounds like the best option. However, there is one thing missing. During the night, as your head sinks deeper into your pillow your cervical spine starts to sag. Again crushing the cervical joints. A simple solution you could try is to purchase an orthopedic pillow. Or improvise and create your own with a rolled up towel, like the image below. The rolled up towel placed inside your pillow will create an extra cushion which will support the cervical spine and neck all night.