Inappropriate posture can affect a person's well-being, both physically and psychologically, in addition to disturbing sleep. Adopting a bad position increases tension, interferes with good body circulation and causes stiff neck, which can also affect the person psychologically due to chronic pain. Fortunately, analyzing whether sleeping posture might be having a negative effect is one of the most important steps in tackling these problems. By finding a better lying position, you can minimize the strain on your back, neck, and shoulders.
Part 1 of 3: Improving Posture During Sleep
Step 1. Assess posture when lying down
The most important thing to do is to choose a position that keeps your spine aligned. Disorders such as chronic headaches, back pain, heartburn, sleep apnea, or tiredness may be related to the position during sleep, which exacerbates these symptoms. So it's a good idea to sleep on your side or on your back.
- When sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned and avoid having to squirm all the way to rest your knee on the mattress.
- If you sleep on your back (back), place a pillow under your knees to get your back in the best possible position. Be aware, however, that people who snore or have sleep apnea will only get worse in this position.
- If you like to sleep on your stomach, you will probably need to change your posture at bedtime, as this is generally considered the worst way to sleep. This position causes the head to turn left or right, creating pressure on the spine, leading to pain, numbness and tingling.
Individuals who like to sleep on their stomachs can place a thin pillow under their pelvis and stomach to take some of the pressure off the neck
Step 2. Change your sleeping position
In the beginning, it is normal to face difficulties in getting used to another posture when lying down; however, as time goes by, you will become more comfortable and comfortable.
Step 3. Use lots of pillows
If you want to start sleeping on your back, place more pillows under each arm, one under your knees, and even one on each side of your torso. If you prefer to lie on your side, place one between your knees and another one or two behind your back to prevent you from returning to the supine position. Pillows can help the body stay in this posture.
Step 4. Be patient
Since it is difficult to control your body position after falling asleep, it can be difficult to get used to changing your posture. However, over time, such a position will improve the quality of sleep and even make the individual much more comfortable than when he had the old habits.
Step 5. Improve posture during the day
In order for the position during sleep to be improved, it is necessary to do the same during the day, as the pain that arises during work, for example, also contributes to the person adopting a certain posture when sleeping. It can be difficult to immediately figure out which posture is right: to do this, lean against the wall and stand up straight several times a day and do stretches for your back and shoulders.
- Keep leaning against a wall. Most people with awkward postures will not be able to touch their shoulder blades to the wall. “Pull” the shoulder blades down and in so that they “attach” to the wall; then stretch your neck as if someone were pulling the back of your head up. Move it backwards until its head touches the wall and adjust the chin so that it is parallel to the floor.
- Check that the height is equal in both legs. Stand in front of a mirror and mimic the posture to make sure your neck and shoulders are straight. “Pull” your shoulders down as far as possible and flex your abdominal muscles.
- Seek treatment from a physical therapist. If you are having difficulty maintaining proper posture, you may need to seek expert assistance from a physical therapist, who will teach you exercises to strengthen your core body.
Part 2 of 3: Improving Sleep
Step 1. Assess the condition of the mattress
In most cases, mattresses must be replaced every 10 years. However, if it is lumpy or sagging, or if the individual finds that they sleep better outside the home than in their own bed, it's time to start looking for a new mattress.
Step 2. Learn how to choose the right mattress
There are several aspects that must be taken into consideration when purchasing the right product for the situation. Therefore, it is important to look carefully when choosing a mattress to buy.
- Firm mattresses are always better as they provide much more support for the body structure.
- If you can't afford to buy another mattress, take the one you're using, turn it over and place a piece of plywood under it for more support.
Step 3. Observe the condition of the pillow
There are several factors that influence the frequency of changing the pillow, including the quality and type of filling. However, the same thing that applies to the mattress goes for the pillow; when waking up with headaches or neck pain, buy a new one.
- To help determine whether or not your pillow is worn, test it. Fold it in half and hold it in this position for 30 seconds. Leave the; if it does not quickly return to its original position, it is necessary to purchase another model.
- Finally, when you notice that the pillow also has bulges or is sunken where you put your head, it is a sign that it is well worn.
Step 4. Know how to get the right pillow
Just like when looking for a new mattress, several aspects should be taken into consideration when buying a pillow. Choose carefully and buy the most suitable model for you.
- As you will need to learn to sleep on your side or on your back, you will need to purchase a medium or thick pillow to give your neck a lot of support.
- Make sure – regardless of which pillow you buy – your neck is in a straight line with your spine. If the pillow makes you higher or lower than the rest of your spine, the pain will get worse.
Step 5. Analyze the room temperature
The room should be cool but not cold. Most people sleep better when the temperature is around 18°C.
Step 6. Eliminate noise from the bedroom
Although this is something that is not always fully under the person's control, try to make the whole environment very quiet. Invest in ear plugs or even a fan to muffle external sound.
Part 3 of 3: Sleeping better
Step 1. Avoid heavy and fatty foods before bed
This is even more valid for those who sleep on their back, but the ideal is not to have a heavy meal before bed, leaving at least a two-hour break to digest the food. If the meal is large and fatty, you will probably feel uncomfortable in your sleep.
Step 2. Walk for a few minutes before bedtime
If you've just got up from a sitting position, your pelvis is probably tilted back and your posture is inadequate. Take the “wall test” and walk around the house to relax your muscles.
Step 3. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time
To get the best sleep possible, it's important to create a “sleep routine” that can be followed every day of the week (including Saturday and Sunday). Sleeping and waking up at the same time helps the body know when to get ready to fall asleep.
- If you end up going to bed later one night, try to wake up at the same time as usual. That way, the routine will not be so messed up.
- If you feel very tired, take a midday nap to help you sleep later or earlier.
Step 4. Do a “ritual” before bedtime
Every night, before going to bed, do a "ritual" in the same order to "signal" to the body that it's time for bed. A good routine, for example, is brushing your teeth, washing your face, putting on your pajamas, doing a little stretching or yoga, lying down and reading a little so that sleep comes naturally.
It is best not to use electronics – such as televisions, computers, tablets or smartphones – during this routine. Although fun, the rear lights of such devices stimulate the person, even suppressing the production of melanin in certain cases
Step 5. Upon waking up, walk and stretch your body
Walk, shrug your shoulders, and do light stretches. This can reduce pain and tension in the body, improving posture for the rest of the day.