ts of us suffer from painful conditions without understanding that how we sleep may be a significant contributing factor. It’s not unusual for proper diagnosis to be delayed because how we sleep and sleeping position is often initially overlooked as a potential cause.
How you sleep can have can cause more than just back or neck aches. Did you know that sleep apnea, muscle cramping, impaired circulation, headaches, heartburn, tummy troubles and even premature wrinkles can be caused by poor sleep posture?
Sleep is vitally important. When discussing good sleep habits with my patients, we talk about sleep hygiene and which sleep position might be best for them.
First, understand that there is no sleep position that works best for everyone – life factors and health conditions must be considered.
Stomach sleepers are rare – about 7% of adults sleep facing down. While it may ease snoring, stomach sleepers are in an unhealthy position for their back and neck with their head turned to one side. I encourage patients to try a different position. Even if they are comfortable sleeping on their stomach, experience has taught me that eventually they’ll experience morning back or neck pain – symptoms of the tension caused by this poor position.
Side-sleeping and back-sleeping positions put most adults in a safer position. With the right pillow, your back and neck are in a neutral position.
Side-sleeping is the sleeping position recommended most often as it allows your back and neck to rest in a neutral position and it’s very adaptable to individual needs. Stretching your legs out and placing a pillow between the knees helps achieve optimal body alignment and comfort. Side-sleeping may help reduce symptoms of those suffering from sleep apnea, heartburn or acid reflux. And, sleeping on the left side is recommended for pregnant women because it may improve circulation to the baby.
Back sleeping is good position too – particularly when a good pillow is placed under the knees. The pillow helps restore the natural curve to your back making this position more comfortable for some while reducing the tendency to over-extend your back when sleeping in this position. One note of caution – avoid the sleeping on your back with your arms over your head as this can cause back pain.
Proper sleep position and a good sleep routine can keep you feeling your best. A consultation and wellness exam from Dr. Dukes can help you get the good night’s rest that you deserve and your body needs. Make your health your top priority, call Dr. Dukes at (813) 752-2524 and schedule your wellness consultation today.
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