By Dr. Shikha Jain
15th March 2019 is World Sleep Day, a day dedicated to celebrating both sleep and the important health issues related to it. Of all the problems related to sleep including medicine intake, the quality and quantity, and the effect on appetite, we usually neglect the most basic aspect which is sleeping position.
A poor sleeping position puts unnecessary pressure on the neck, hips, and back causing lower back pain. The persistent pain not only disturbs a person’s daily routine but also affects the quality of their sleep.
A good sleeping habit includes maintaining the natural curve of your spine and aligning your neck, back and hips when lying down.
Dr. Shikha Jain, Senior Spine Specialist, QI Spine clinic says, “There are good sleeping positions and bad sleeping positions. We recommend patients to sleep on their back or in the sideways position, of course, with some precautions. Sleeping on your belly and in the foetal position are a strict no-no.”
This World Sleep Day, Dr. Shikha Jain recommends the two best sleeping positions and why they are healthy for your back:
Sleeping on your back
When sleeping on your back, make sure that your head, neck, and spine are in neutral position. This is the best sleeping position as it helps reduce the pressure on your spine and at the same time relaxes the entire body. Placing a pillow under your knees will help take care of the natural curve of your spine and reduce the pressure on it.
For someone suffering from lower back pain, sleeping on the back will reduce the intensity of pain.
Sleeping on your back may not always be comfortable. You can turn side-ways, such that your legs are aligned. A good precautionary measure would be to place a pillow between your knees. This will help stabilise the posture. If you sleep without a pillow, your body will flop down or fall forward, putting more pressure on your spine.
Sleeping side-ways benefits those suffering from lower back pain, stiff back, and neck related issues.
The two worst positions to sleep in are:
Sleeping on the stomach
When you sleep on your stomach, the natural curve of your spine gets affected because the position puts your spine into an extension. It also affects the neck as it will be turned on one side. Being in this position for a couple of hours at a stretch can be extremely harmful to the neck and the spine.
If absolutely out of habit, you do sleep on your back, sleep with a pillow under your tummy.
Sleeping in foetal position
This is the unhealthiest position one can sleep in as it puts the spine in a flex, with an unnatural C-shape as opposed to the usual S-shape of the spine.
Spinal discs are jelly-like structures, if they receive pressure from one side, it bulges out from another side. This is called a disc bulge. In the foetal position, all the discs are pushed back, making the back highly prone to problems like a slipped disc.
There is no way to sleep healthily in the foetal position. You must keep your back straight and if need be, your legs at a right angle. Keeping a pillow between your legs can help stabilise the body.
Also Read: Why Women Are More Prone To Back Pain