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Sleeping positions: what’s the right answer?!


Some of you are going to read this and not be thrilled by my lack of response and opinion on sleeping positions…

The reality for me, is that sleeping position and the devices that you use (pillows, mattresses etc) need to drive towards comfort rather than towards a particular product.

Therefore, I don’t professionally recommend any particular pillow or mattress….other than the right one for you!

There you go, how much of a fence-sitter can I be 😉 . But there’s a reason for the lack of response. Let me explain.  Personally, I use a relatively hard mattress, and a very thin pillow (very thin).  I typically sleep on my side (both sides) and do roll from one side to the other throughout the night.  To be perfectly honest, I’m not really “on my side” but rather slightly rolled forward towards my chest.   Basically, rolled forward slightly, but not far enough to force me to rotate my neck (which I’ll talk about later).

I sleep very well, wake up refreshed and comfortable with no aches or pains.  Good for me.  That doesn’t (in my mind) mean that EVERYONE should use the hard mattress, thin pillow combo that I use, because it might not produce the same results FOR THEM!  It’s unfortunately a trial and error process for finding the right fit for you.

I think that trying thicker or thinner, harder or softer pillows and mattresses is the right idea. I also understand it can be a difficult & expensive to find the right ones. See number 2 below; being able to “take a pillow for a test drive” is becoming an option for people before having to buy.

6 specific things to consider about sleep:

1. Keep doing what’s working

If your sleep rocks and you have no issues, I wouldn’t change much.  Sleep is all about recovery and getting to sleep, so if that’s working, congrats and stick with it!

2. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t

The pillow and mattress industry is an industry first.  They are selling you on the best of the best and supporting their products with research into why.  Many stores now have a 30-60 day trial period with a mattress purchase where you can take it home and see if you like it. At the end of the day, with all the technology and all the research on a mattress, if it doesn’t FEEL right, it’s not a good purchase.

3. Don’t stress about your sleeping position

Your posture is not affected much in a lay down position so don’t stress too much about your sleeping position.  Again, comfort should be your guide.  My only concern for some people is stomach sleeping where you are flat on you stomach with your head rotated fully to one side or the other.  This rotation could add strain into the neck and may not be the best position for everyone.

4. Aches and pains have to do with daytime posture more than sleep

Sometimes issues with muscles and spines in bed has a lot to do with the tension and position that you’re using for your body during the day…and you’re just taking it to bed with you.  Inability to get comfortable at night, may be a reflection that your day time (upright) posture is a major source of irritation and you just aren’t going to bed with a relaxed body.  This can be checked.

5. Heat can help

Consider adding in some heat to the areas that typically irritate you before bed.  Hot water bottle on the low back or a heat pad on the neck for 10 minutes before bed may help. 

6. Consider supplementation

Univera (the supplement line that we carry in our office) has some great products to support joint & muscle discomfort that may help settle things down, so that a solid night’s sleep is a possibility.  People also report improved sleep when they are taking Xtra, a liquid formulas we stock in the clinic, and/or Anti-Stress. Pick up some Xtra next time you are at the clinic, or order these products online with a 20% discount and free shipping.

If you’re at your wits end about sleeping positions and sorenesses that come on when you’re trying to get some rest, let’s also take a look at your posture and see if there’s something we can help with there.

Thoughts or questions?


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