Poor posture can affect your physical and emotional well-being. In addition to increased tension, poor circulation to limbs and back and neck pain, you can suffer the emotional strains of chronic pain. Adjusting your sleeping positions can positively affect your posture, if you can minimize stress on your back, neck and shoulders during your 8-hour rest. Read below the jump to learn the simplest manner in which to improve your posture while sleeping.
Choose firm mattress support. Mattresses generally lose their support after approximately 8 years. If your mattress feels lumpy or soft, it may be time to upgrade to a firmer model.
- In the meantime, support an old mattress by sticking a large piece of plywood underneath it, above the box spring or supports.
- Turn your mattress regularly to keep the springs fresh. Some sources suggest turning the mattress so the bottom is near the top and vice versa every 6 weeks.
Begin improving your posture during the day. You may not immediately know what proper posture should feel like, so you should check your posture against a wall several times a day as you begin a back and shoulder strengthening routine.
- Stand against the wall. For most people with poor posture, their shoulder blades do not touch the wall. Pull your shoulder blades down and in so that they connect with the wall. Next, lengthen your neck as if someone is pulling the back of your head up. Move it back until your head touches the wall. Move your chin until it is parallel to the ground.
- Make sure you stand with equal weight in both legs. Move to a mirror and mimic the pose to ensure your neck and shoulders are straight. Pull your shoulders down as far as possible. Tighten your abdominal muscles.
Consider seeking the help of a physical therapist if this position is difficult to keep for very long. It is normal to go back into old postures; however, the use of the wall test and core exercises should make the posture easy to maintain over time.
A physical therapist can assign you a specific regimen for your body’s weaknesses. For example, people who have worked at a computer for years may have shoulders and a forward neck position that require a progression of exercises to strengthen. 4
Walk around for a few minutes before going to bed. If you have just risen from a seated position, then it is likely your pelvis is tucked forward and you have poor posture. Do the wall test and walk around your house to loosen your muscles.
Never sleep on your stomach. Unless you have a massage table that allows you to stick your head through a hole to align your spine, you will experience increased stress on the back and neck. People who have slept on their stomach for years may find it difficult to change positions; however, it is necessary for improving posture and decreasing stress on the spine.
Choose a side sleeping posture. This is recommended as the best posture, followed by sleeping on your back with your knees raised by a pillow. Try to adjust your body as if you were doing the wall test, while laying on your side before you get into position.
Use sleep supports to align yourself into a side sleeping posture. You can choose either side to sleep on, according to comfort. Bend your knees until your back is almost flat, keeping a slight natural curve of the spine.
- Add a pillow between your knees. This will support the top hip, keeping it aligned with the bottom hip. Consider placing a body pillow in the space between your ankles, between your knees and in front of your chest. Allow your upper arm to rest on the body pillow so that it can relax completely as you sleep.
- Place your head on the pillow. Choose a pillow that supports a straight spine. If the pillow is too thick, it will cause your neck to bend incorrectly toward the ceiling. If it is too thin, it will bend the other way. Experiment with your pillows, and seek a pillow of the correct height if you cannot find a good model in your home. Make sure your chin is parallel to the bottom of the bed, rather than resting near your chest.
Place a body pillow behind you to discourage rolling in the middle of the night. If you are changing from a stomach sleeping posture, this will help you to stay in a correct position. You can remove the body pillow as soon as you are sleeping through the night on your side.
Choose a back sleeping posture, if you cannot find comfort on your side. Place a pillow or 2 beneath your knees, so that your back flattens slightly into the mattress. Roll up a washcloth and place it in the curvature of your neck to support the curve.
Move around when you wake up. Walk around, swing your shoulders in their sockets and do very light stretches. This can ease pain and stiffness, improving posture during the day.
Wikihow Health – culled from http://www.wikihow.com/Improve-Posture-While-Sleeping