Getting a good night’s sleep shouldn’t cause you pain.
Learn how to sleep better and get chiropractor recommended mattress and pillow suggestions.
The phrase “good night, sleep tight” shouldn’t refer to how your muscles feel when you wake up in the morning!
Good rest is important for feeling our best as we work, play, or just relax. But the quality of your sleep doesn’t just depend on your REM stages. Your mattress, pillow, and sleep position all play a crucial role in the health of your spine.
As your Oviedo chiropractor, it’s important that you get enough sleep to be restored and refreshed when you wake in the morning, but that can’t happen if you’re not sleeping correctly.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to make sure your spine is properly aligned while sleeping, the best sleeping position, the best pillows, and chiropractor recommended mattress suggestions to help you wake up pain-free.
Is Sleep Causing Your Back Pain?
Don’t assume that your back pain is due to sleep.
A number of factors in your lifestyle are capable of causing chronic back pain, including your posture, work station, and activity level.
If your pain starts off low or nonexistent and gets worse during the day, it’s probably not due to your sleeping habits. But if your pain is worse in the morning or constant throughout the day, changing the way you sleep may help.
Proper Spine Alignment
When it comes to proper sleep, putting your spine in the right alignment is more important than simply Googling “best mattress for back pain” and buying whatever pops up. So let’s take a few minutes to look at your spine.
A healthy adult spine has an S curve that gives your back the perfect blend of support and flexibility.
The ideal spine curves inward (known as lordosis) at the neck and lower back, and outward (known as kyphosis) at the upper back.
Any significant deviation from this position will begin to cause discomfort if held long enough. And when you’re sleeping for eight hours a night, it’s easy to see why the wrong position can easily mess up the rest of your day.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position?
Most chiropractors and sleep experts agree that sleeping on your back is best, as it keeps the neck and back in the best alignment. (It’s also the ONLY recommended sleep position for babies.)
Back—or supine—sleeping evenly distributes your body weight to reduce pressure spots and give your muscles and ligaments a chance to rest.
Not everyone should sleep on their back, however. Those with sleep apnea, snoring issues, acid reflux, and women who are pregnant should not sleep on their backs. For these individuals, side sleeping is the next best option.
You should avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this position puts too much pressure on your torso. As a result, your spine and your breathing can suffer.
We understand that it can be difficult to switch to an unfamiliar sleeping position. (Women who have been pregnant may find that they still sleep on their side long after giving birth.) But ultimately, getting any rest is better than tossing and turning all night in an uncomfortable position.
If you find that you just can’t give up sleeping on your side or stomach, make sure you do what you can to keep your spine aligned (more on this later). Overall, the best sleep position is one that keeps your spine in proper alignment.
Getting a chiropractic adjustment can help you sleep better, too.
Best Pillow For Neck Pain
Sleeping with the wrong pillow can contribute to chronic neck pain (which is often exacerbated by all those hours on your phone). If you frequently find yourself waking up with a crick in your neck, it’s likely your pillow that’s to blame.
To find out if your pillow is offering enough support, fold it in half. If it doesn’t unfold by itself, it’s probably time for a new one.
Chiropractors tend to prefer a chiropractic, or cervical, pillow when sleeping on your back. These pillows have an indentation in the middle, so that your neck is supported but your head is not lifted at an unnatural angle. At Oviedo Chiropractic, I recommend a memory foam pillow with a water core that conforms to any sleeping position.
Side sleepers should look for a thicker, firmer pillow to keep the head and neck in line with the back. (If using the water core pillow, simply fill it with more water.) Your pillow should be tall enough to accommodate the width of one shoulder. You may also benefit from having a pillow between your knees.
Stomach sleepers do not need as much support, so they should use a very thin, flat pillow (or no pillow at all).
Best Mattress For Back Pain
By now you’ve probably figured out that there’s no one mattress for a bad back that’s right for everyone (no matter what the commercials say). Every individual will have different needs when it comes to mattress size and firmness. A 6’4” pro wrestler, for example, will have very different requirements than a fourth grader.
Your mattress should be firm, but everyone will have different opinions of what “firm” means. A good rule of thumb is: the more you weigh, the firmer your mattress should be. But there is such a thing as too firm. Your mattress should provide support while also conforming to the natural curves of your spine.
Another problem may be that your mattress is simply too old. Most mattresses have a lifespan of 6-8 years before they need to be replaced.
The best chiropractor recommended mattress is not a specific model or even a brand. Rather, you should be shopping for mattresses based on the type of construction.
If you can afford one, adjustable beds are a great investment in your sleep quality. This is the best way to get exactly the right level of comfort for you (and avoid buyer’s remorse). If you share a bed with someone who has different mattress needs, you can even find versions where each side can be adjusted separately.
For the rest of us, hybrid mattresses made of an inner spring core surrounded by memory foam is the next best thing. Opt for a medium-firm model for the best level of comfort and support.
Pro tip: If you’re in the market for a new mattress, go shopping during the holidays, as this is when you’ll get the best deal. For even bigger savings, get a referral from your chiropractor. If you’re experiencing or being treated for active pain, your mattress qualifies as a medical device and you’ll get it tax-free!
Getting a good night’s sleep is paramount to your health and wellbeing.
When you’re asleep, your body gets rid of toxins, plumps up the discs between your joints, and helps your muscles rest and recover. Most Americans aren’t getting enough sleep, but there are a few things you can do to ensure you get proper rest.
If you can, sleep on your back. This will keep your spine in proper alignment. Whatever sleeping position you prefer, make sure your pillow and mattress provide enough support. Remember that a firmer mattress is usually better than a softer one but the best mattress for back pain is one that keeps your spine in alignment.
Lastly, get regular chiropractic adjustments to train your body to maintain good posture.
If you have additional questions on your sleep quality or how to position your body during sleep, we’d love to help! Schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable doctors and get chiropractor recommended mattress and pillow suggestions.