Every year, March 15 is observed as World Sleep Day – a day that highlights the importance of sleep in our lives. Dedicated to celebrating sleep as well as the health issues related to it, it is organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of World Sleep Society.
Despite sleep playing an essential role in one’s well-being, most people neglect the importance of a good sleeping position. A poor sleeping position puts pressure on the neck, hips, and back, causing lower back pain and hence impacting sleep quality.
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 at QI Spine clinic recommends the two best and worst sleeping positions:
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 stomach, 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.
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