Research shows that sleeping on your stomach has numerous health benefits. Sleeping on your stomach causes you to slightly extend your neck, supporting the natural curves in your spine and opening the air passages. This is a great position for individuals who have snoring or breathing problems or for those who have a difficult time getting a restful sleep at night.
Sleeping on your back tends to flex your neck forward and places undue stress on your spine and airways. Research indicates back sleepers have a higher incidence of snoring, sleep apnea and cardiovascular problems like heart attacks and strokes.
A chiropractic doctor can evaluate your nerve system and may order x-rays to determine if there are any signs of stress on the spine. We may also educate you on correct sleeping positions and supports as well as provide specific, gentle adjustments to help you restore proper function of the spinal joints. Alleviating nerve stress in the neck can enhance communication from the brain to the muscles of the neck and upper extremities, the throat structures including the thyroid and parathyroid glands, your heart and your digestive organs, to name only a few. Since the neck also contains nerves responsible for calming your stress, chiropractic care may help with insomnia challenges and lowering your blood pressure as well.
Healthy individuals do not need to use pillows unless they sleep on their side. A common mistake for side sleepers is to use a pillow that is not tailored to support their spine. Check your pillow – when you sleep on your side, is your neck tilted up or down? Side sleepers need to support their neck so their spine lies like a straight line from their neck to their lower back. Putting a pillow between your knees will also help maintain proper side posture when you sleep.
If you currently sleep on your back, make sure your neck is extended back so your chin and forehead are parallel to the ceiling. Often people do not use their orthopedic pillows correctly and sleep with their neck in a flexed posture. Adjust your pillow and seek professional advice for custom fitting and positioning. The solution need not be expensive; sometimes a rolled towel is all you may need.
If your child uses a pillow, transition them to sleep on their side with a very flat pillow that offers good neck support.
If you are unsure about your family’s specific needs, contact us for a no charge sleeping consultation.