By Ryan @ Fitness Goals
Back pain can make it extremely difficult to get through the day, and it can also affect your ability to get a good night's sleep. Back pain is the leading cause of disability across the globe, and most health experts point to bad lifestyle habits like bad posture and awkward sleeping positions as the main culprits.
We've assembled 5 sleeping positions to reduce stress on your lower back so that you can get through the night peacefully and have enough energy to follow through with your fitness goals.
- Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees
If you find it difficult to sleep on your back you can try shifting over to your side and place a pillow between your knees. Make sure your shoulder is placed firmly on the mattress, and if you feel a gap between your waist and the mattress, you can place a small pillow there for support.
When you do find a comfortable position on your side, remember to switch to your left or right side every now and then. Sleeping on the same side every night may cause problems in the long term. By placing a pillow between the knees, you'll be able to relieve pressure on your lower back and your hips, pelvis, and spine will be more aligned.
- Sleeping in the fetal position
Lying on the side with your knees tucked into the chest straightens up the spine a bit and also helps to open up the joints. It's also a great way to relieve pressure if you have a herniated disk. To get into this position, start by rolling over to one side and tuck your knees toward your chest, curling your torso toward your knees.
This position allows you to open up the space between the vertebrae in your spine. Remember your disks act like soft cushions between these vertebrae, and herniation occurs when a part of this disk pushes out of its normal alignment, causing severe pain or weakness. The fetal position rebalances the disks in your lower back.
- Sleeping on the front with the head face down
The main reason sleeping on the front is discouraged is because we tend to turn the head to one side, and this twists the spine and puts pressure on the neck, shoulders, and back. One way to avoid this is to use a small pillow or a rolled-up towel to prop up the head while allowing enough room to breathe.
To get into this position, get into bed and roll to your front, place a pillow under your abdomen to raise your midsection; and then place a pillow or a rolled-up towel under the forehead to create room for breathing.
- Sleep on your back in a reclined position
If you like sleeping on your back, then this is the best way to relieve pressure on your lower back. Start by lying flat on your back, and try to keep your spine neutral. Place a pillow under your knees to maintain that natural curve in your lower back - you can also use a rolled up towel under your lower back for added support.
Sleeping on your back allows your weight to be distributed evenly across the wider area of your body; and not only that, it allows your spine to keep its curve when you place a pillow under the knees.
- Sleep on your stomach with a pillow under your abdomen
It's hard to break this habit especially if you've been sleeping on your front for most of your life, however there is a way you can relieve pressure on your back while maintaining a good night's sleep. Place a small pillow underneath the abdomen and hips - this will raise your midsection slightly - and use a flat pillow for your head.
Try to keep a regular sleeping pattern and avoid things that are known to interfere with sleep such as:
- Stimulants in the evening
- Heavy exercises right before bedtime, and
- Watching TV late into the night or using your computer before going to bed
Prepare for sleep by listening to soft, relaxing music, or doing gentle yoga stretches, and make the bedroom environment more sleep-conducive. If you experience severe or worsening back pain, you should see a doctor.