First, let’s talk about the one we shouldn’t be doing. It’s your stomach. Stomach sleeping unfortunately puts strain on your spine in the wrong way, which can cause, over time, back and neck pain. For all you stomach sleepers, I am sorry. I know sometimes this can be a comforting position for people, but unfortunately, structurally for your spine and for your health, if you’re a stomach sleeper, you may want to reconsider and restart to retrain your body to sleep either on your side or your back. Here’s why.
Side sleeping is for some people the best position, and specifically, we’re going to talk about the left side of the body and why is the left side? Well, the left side helps us take pressure off some of our organs. It also helps aid in digestion because the way that our bodies are positioned, they’re not actually asymmetrical, meaning that there is some differences in either sides of our body. Studies have found that sleeping on your left side can aid in digestion, can help with heartburn. It’s also a good position because it reduces the chances of snoring and sleep apnea. If you’re somebody who’s overweight or if you’re somebody who has sleep apnea or is a snorer, you’re probably going to want to consider trying to retrain your body to sleep on your left side because of that specifically.
Now, some of the downsides of side sleeping, it can put more pressure on your shoulders, it can put more pressure on your jaw. If you don’t have the proper pillow, it can also put more pressure on your neck. If you don’t have the proper surface that you’re sleeping on, let’s say you’re sleeping on an old mattress or a mattress that’s not suited for your body, it also can put more pressure on your lower back and hips.
Now, here’s a couple tips to help improve side sleeping. The first one is find a pillow that fits your collarbone structure. Having the proper pillow is important. And so, we all have different bodies. You can see here, this is my collarbone right here. Having a pillow that would fill this area in to support my head and keep my spine in alignment here would be really important. Everyone again has different body structures, so finding a pillow that properly supports your head and neck and is really a way of doing that is measuring your collarbone, and then finding a pillow that can comfortably support that head to keep the spine in alignment would be a good idea.
The second tip here is place a pillow between your legs. Now, what this does is it helps support the lower back and hips. For those of you that are not doing this that have lower back pain or hip pain, this alone can be a game changer. You’re in bed one-third of your life, so it does have an impact on our structural health. If you can put a pillow in between your legs, preferably a firm pillow, that again would keep your hips in alignment, would support your lower back and ease the pain that you have.
Hugging a pillow or your bed partner is also a good idea. Again, this can keep the alignment of your shoulders in a good position. And so, you can experiment with hugging a pillow or going to sleep hugging someone, but probably a pillow because people move and then that can create some difficulty during the night.
Back sleeping. Let’s talk about back sleeping. Now, some people argue that back sleeping is better than side sleeping. I really think it depends on the person, depends on their age, depends on their health history. Do they have sleep apnea? Do they have GERD? Are they a snorer? There’s so many factors. What surface are they sleeping on? What type of pillow do they have? A lot of factors here. It is important to understand who you are and what you’re dealing with as far as your health history and also what your goals are. But let’s talk about back sleeping.
Back sleeping is really amazing for spine alignment, spine alignment. It creates less pressure in the shoulders and the jaw because you’re on your back. It’s also been found to help with the glymphatic system, which is the lymph system in the brain, lying on your back, especially in an elevated position. If you elevate your bed on bed risers or you have a bed that can elevate itself, this has been shown to help that glymphatic drainage. The glymph system is like the lymph system for your brain. It drains out the beta amyloid, the plaque that builds up that create Alzheimer’s and dementia. Sleeping on a angle and sleeping on your back has been shown to help with that glymphatic drainage. That’s definitely a plus for back sleeping.
Now, you can put a pillow between your knees, I mean, under your knees. If you’re on your side, between your knees, under your knees, and that can create a little bit of less pressure in the lower back as well. But again, it depends on the structure that you’re sleeping on, the mattress that you’re sleeping on, the quality of the mattress. We’ll do a video on mattress recommendations and what I recommend in the future. But for now, try experimenting putting a pillow between your legs and see if it’s more comfortable, and also can help you train your body to stay on your back. Having a pillow between your legs or having two pillows on either side of you can help retrain your body to become a back sleeper if you want to experiment with that posture.
Again, you want to make sure that you have the proper pillow. This is really important. There’s a great pillow, it’s called the Neck Nest. I’ve been using it for about a month now. I love it. It was actually developed by a chiropractor, I forget his name, but if you just Google the Neck Nest, it’s a pillow that’s specifically structured to keep your cervical spine, the spine here, in alignment. It has this little roll on it and he goes through how to use it. But essentially what it does is it keeps your spine, your cervical spine in alignment and it’s meant for back sleeping, although it is pretty comfortable if you end up on your side as well. But go ahead and check that out. I’ll put a link here below this video or you can just Google the Neck Nest pillow if you’re interested in getting a new pillow and keeping the spinal alignment of your cervical spine healthy.
You can also elevate, I spoke about this a little bit, elevate your bed. Now, there’s some very interesting research coming out around sleeping in an elevated posture for, again, the purposes of that glymphatic system, that drainage. This can also help if you’re someone who experiences GERD or heartburn. And so, I recommend you can try it out. I’m a big believer in experimentation. Try different things out and see what works, really give it a chance and see how your body feels. Until you do that, you really don’t know. Again, if this is something that you’re interested in, if you’re going to experiment with it, let me know in the comments below what position you currently sleep in. Let me know what you find is the most comfortable position for you. If you like this video, like it. If you’re new here, welcome. Please subscribe, and I will see you in the next video. Take care.
Some research even suggests that the wrong sleeping position may cause toxins to filter out of your brain more slowly.