Sleeping is essential to our wellbeing. As human beings we spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping so we might as well be doing it correctly. Our sleep posture can determine our spinal wellness. It may affect whether we are experiencing back pain currently or deteriorating our spinal curvatures over time causing countless future spinal issues.
Stomach sleeping promotes terrible posture. It flattens and compresses your low back. Stomach sleeping also puts a lot of added stress on your upper back and neck causing the cervical spine (neck) to be strained and twisted in unhealthy spinal positions, which dehydrate the disc and forces a kyphotic (reversed) neck curve.
Side sleeping is better but still not ideal as it can torque your pelvis and put added stress on your body’s lateral curvatures. Side sleeping also puts pressure on your stomach and lungs and may cause you to sleep on one of your arms, which impedes blood and nerve flow.
The best sleeping position regardless of spinal curvature is face up in the supine position. Sleeping on your back allows for your mattress to maintain your spine’s overall neutral position with out adding any extra curves or stress to your spine, discs or joints. Most patients with scoliosis have a decreased or reversed curve in their neck so it is important to have proper support while sleeping. A single cervical pillow while sleeping will help to maintain and improve the cervical curve.
It is evident that the best position regardless of spinal curvature is on your back. This will allow your body to maintain it’s natural blood and nerve flow with out adding extra curves to your spine. If you are used to sleeping on your side or stomach it may take some getting used to and re-training to change your sleep habits. A trick that can help is to tape an uncooked pea to your shirt in various spots so that if you do roll over the discomfort from the pea will either wake you up or cause you to roll onto your back. You can also sleep with barriers (pillows) on either side of you to prevent you from rolling onto your side or stomach.