Sleep Positions – Quick Fixes to Wake Up With Less Pain

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At Sleep Well we always ask if our customers sleep on their sides or back or stomach.  We’ve gotten a few strange looks, so I wanted to clarify it’s not to be nosey or get in anyone’s private life, we are trying to assess your support needs.  It matters what position your back will be in for the majority of your slumber. The stresses your back suffers during sleep cause soreness, or in some cases malalignment of your spine.  Getting the right mattress for your sleep position is essential for relief from morning back soreness. Here are the core sleep positions and the support needs you should look for when looking for a new mattress.

Back Sleeping

Back Sleepers spend the majority of their sleep time with their back down and spine elongated. This position can be a relief for some needing flat surface to relieve spinal pressure. However, back sleeping can be problematic in two ways, your spine and your breathing. 

In a back sleeping position your spine is straight, in most cases even your lumbar, which should have a slight bend, is elongated.  This can cause issues in the morning, as soreness can occur.  This can be alleviated by placing a pillow under your knees.  This helps in reducing stress on your lower back, letting you relieve some of the pull caused by having your legs in a straight position most of the night.  Other back issues can arise if your mattress is too soft.  Too soft of a mattress can cause your hips to sink in, this is an awkward position that if kept for an extended time can lead to lower back pain from not enough support for your spine.  The key here is a good feel with just the right amount of support.  Most of the time this will be in the form of a Medium Firm mattress, but NOT all the time, there are always exceptions to be made according to personal preferences. 

Back sleeping also may cause breathing issues.  During sleep your muscles relax, this includes muscles in your throat area.  These muscles relax in a way that can obstruct your airway, leading to issues called apnea.  Apnea can cause heart problems, lack of oxygen to the brain, and other dangerous health concerns.  This is not to say that back sleeping is entirely bad for your health; this is an issue that can arise if the circumstances are right.  Apnea can be treated by use of oxygen supplying machines, and if the case of apnea is not a dangerous level, it can be treated by simply raising your head high enough to free your airway of any obstruction.  This is one of the bigger benefits of a power base, raising ones upper body alleviates the obstruction, helps with breathing and lessens snoring.

Stomach Sleeping  

Stomach sleepers spend the majority of their sleep time with their face to the side and stomach on the surface. This position is helpful in digestion.  It is a hard position to reach continued comfort, however.  Most stomach sleepers speak about having to adjust often to keep their comfort level.  Other issues involve neck pain from the constant turned head.  Neck pain from too high of a pillow hurts as well, in this position it is best not to use a pillow or use a pillow with a very light loft.  Stomach sleeping requires a very firm mattress.  When we are approached by someone identifying themselves as a stomach sleeper we automatically know to show our firmer models, just so the customer sees what good back support can do for them, namely the pain it can relieve in their lower back.

Side Sleeping

Side sleeping is by far the most common of sleep positions.  Side sleeping is great for anyone with back issues.  Your spine spends most of the night in a relaxed phase, your hips in a neutral position, and your muscles relaxed.  Some issues we look for when asking about this position is if there are shoulder pains or lower back issues.  Either of these can signify too firm of a mattress.  A side sleeper has a wider range of acceptable sleep surfaces.  They can range from a medium firm to a plush mattress, all this is dependent on their body type and preferred feel.  Side sleeping also alleviates airway obstruction, leading to less snoring, better nighttime breathing.  Sleeping on your side can cause some hip discomfort caused by misaligned leg placement.  An easy way to fix this is to sleep with a pillow between your knees; this will straighten the line between your hips and your knees.  

The Sleep Well Process

I hope this has been a helpful insight into why when you come in for a new mattress at Sleep Well we ask a lot of questions before we even try placing you on a mattress.  We aren’t salespeople at Sleep Well; we are trained sleep experts.  You won’t be pressured into a sale; you will be shown your best options.  We will never try for a hot item of the month sale, that isn’t helping you.  Helping you is finding the right mattress that will support you for years to come!  

Please feel free to leave questions or comments about this article in the comments section below!

About the author:

Javier is the owner of Sleep Well, a professionally trained sleep store, specializing in specific mattresses for specific needs. He lives to give. He is an active member of his community and church. His hard work and efforts pay off for him when he can help others, and give to efforts for the betterment of others. 
His spare time is spent with his beautiful wife, Gretchen. They are craft beer hobbyists who enjoy making their own beers, visiting small breweries, and making new friends. Their lives revolve around church, family, exercising, four great dogs, and keeping up with their home in Alamogordo NM.