Dr. Steven Park, author of Sleep, Interrupted, told WebMD that “fatigue, sleep apnea, headaches, heartburn, and back pain are some complaints that can be aggravated by improper sleep posture.”
Luckily, there are also sleeping positions that can help relieve body pain. The Mayo Clinic writes, “By making simple changes in your sleeping position, you can take strain off your back.”
Five Sleeping Positions That Are Causing You Pain
1. Sleeping facedown can be causing you neck and back pain!
It is nearly impossible to sleep with your face directly in the pillow, as it restricts your breathing. As a result, sleeping on your stomach requires you to turn your head to one side. This can cause a large amount of strain on the neck, leading to pain throughout the day. Also, laying facedown means that your spine is completely unsupported, which can cause extreme back pain.
2. Sleeping like a starfish can be causing you shoulder pain!When you sleep on your back with your hands above your head, you are actually putting pressure on the nerves in your upper back. As a result, this sleep position can lead to shoulder pain. While sleeping on your back is good for spine support, the soreness comes from the starfish position created by the extended arms.
3. Sleeping on your left side with your arms extended can be causing you shoulder, arm, and back pain!When you sleep on your side with your arms out, you are actually restricting blood flow and putting a large amount of pressure on your nerves. This can leave you with soreness in the shoulders and arms. Your back is also unsupported, which can lead to upper and lower back pain. In addition, this position can put a strain on your internal organs like your stomach and lungs.
4. Sleeping on your right side with your arms extended can be causing you shoulder, arm, and back pain, as well as heartburn!When you sleep on your right side, specifically, you are going to experience the same soreness as on the left side in terms of shoulder, arm, and back pain. However, laying on the right side can also increase acid reflux. Doctors also recommend avoiding this position on the right side if you are pregnant, because this position restricts blood flow to the fetus.
5. Sleeping in the fetal position can be causing you back and neck pain!The fetal position is actually one of the worst sleep positions because of its complete lack of support for the neck and spine. Neck and back pain is common with this position, particularly as a result of the curvature of the spine. Curling up in a ball like this also can restrict your breathing, which can keep you from getting enough oxygen and a good night’s sleep.
Five Sleeping Positions That Can Help Relieve Pain
1. Sleeping on your left side with your arms at your sides can help reduce back and neck pain!This sleep position, on your left with your hands down by your sides, actually supports the spine in the position of its natural curve. As a result, back and neck pain can be largely reduced. And as an added bonus, this sleep position is great for reducing snoring.
2. Sleeping on your back with your arms at your sides can help reduce back and neck pain!When you sleep on your back, your spine is much more supported, which can cut down on soreness in the neck and back. Keeping your arms by your sides reduces strain on the shoulders as well. This position has been known to lead to snoring, but at least you won’t be in as much pain.
3. Sleeping on your back with a small pillow under your knees can further reduce back pain.Sleeping on your back with your hands by your sides is already great for your spine’s health. However, if you continue to have soreness in your lower back, you can sleep with a small pillow under your knees. This helps your body to maintain a healthy curve in the lower back. If need be, you can also use a rolled-up towel under the small of your back for even more support.
4. Sleeping on your left side with a pillow between your knees can help reduce back pain!Placing a thick pillow between your knees can keep your torso from uncomfortably twisting when you are sleeping on your left side. Just draw your legs up slightly with the pillow between your legs to take strain off of your lower back. Be sure not to extend your arms out, though, or you will put strain on your shoulders and arms.
5. Sleeping on your stomach with a small pillow under your hips can help reduce lower back pain!Sleeping on your stomach is not ideal for your neck because it can cause strain. However, if you aren’t experiencing neck pain but are experiencing lower back pain, try placing a towel or small pillow under your stomach and groin. This will help you to maintain proper lower back alignment, which will reduce your lower back pain in the long run. If this position causes you to feel any upper back strain, you can try sleeping without a pillow under your head.
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