There is nothing quite like a good night’s sleep to get you back on form when things aren’t going well. Adopting the right sleeping position can sometimes help make pain and tension a thing of the past. By contrast, a poor position can make the problem even worse, and increase pain. Here is how to solve a few problems by adopting the right sleeping position.
1) If you have back pain
The ideal position: To follow the natural curve of your spinal column, roll a towel and place it under your lower back, lying on your back and keeping your arms by your sides. Using the towel can support and soothe the back, which often becomes painful due to its slightly arched shape.
If you find it impossible to sleep on your back, and you are used to turning on your side, put a cushion between your knees so that the spine stays straight. And if you sleep on your stomach, put the cushion under your abdomen to reduce the curve.
Game changing bonus tip: try a few yoga exercises to soothe your body of tension. Find a few examples here, or alternatively try the ‘cat’ position, which is great for increasing flexibility in the spine, or the half-bridge for strengthening the lower back.
2) If you have stomach problems (stomach ache, difficulties with digestion, etc.)
The ideal position: Sleep on your left side in as much as possible. The stomach and the pancreas are on this side, so this position facilitates digestion. Avoid curling up too much (as this position can compress the organs), and ideally keep your legs stretched out well.
Game changing bonus tip: If your stomach ache is not simply due to what you had for dinner, but started beforehand, or if you would like to avoid digestion problems, eat a light evening meal. Avoid anything that is difficult to digest (heavy foods, sugar, fat, red meat, etc.) and eat two to three hours before going to bed. Go more for carbohydrates (cereal based foods, fruit, veg, etc.) and foods rich in magnesium and calcium (for better relaxation of the nervous and muscular system). Consider doing an oil massage, drawing circles around the bellybutton in a clockwise motion.
3) If you have tension in the neck and shoulders
The ideal position: In terms of your bedding, avoid pillows that are either too flat or too bulky, which could put pressure on the cervical spine. To relieve the neck, sleep on your back and put two firm pillows under each elbow. For people with shoulder pain, lie on your back and place a pillow on your chest. Hug it to your chest. Never sleep on your stomach, as this stops your shoulders from relaxing.
Game changing bonus tip: Massage your shoulders one by one, or get someone to give you a massage. Ideally start near the jaw and slowly work your way down to the shoulder joint, making circular movements. The ideal of course is to use a vegetable oil mixed with an essential oil (mint, lavender, etc.).
4) If you have heavy legs
The ideal position: The ideal solution is to raise them! To do so, lie on your back and place two firm cushions underneath your calves or your feet. This will boost circulation.
Game changing bonus tip: Don’t wear tight pyjamas or underwear, and monitor the temperature in your bedroom. 19 to 20°C is the ideal.
5) If you have a bad cough
The ideal position: Put a large towel, folded over itself, underneath the mattress at the level of your head, so as to raise it. This will help reduce coughing during the night.
6) If you snore (and not just a little, if your partner is to be believed!)
The ideal position: In this case, it is always better to sleep on your side or on your stomach. These positions allow the air to circulate more freely than when you lie on your back, and the snoring will be less intense. Keep your pillow fairly high so that your head will be well supported, and fold it in two if you can. It is important to keep the head aligned with the axis of your back, in order to avoid pain.
Game changing bonus tip: As well as leading a healthy lifestyle, avoiding alcohol, heavy meals and smoking, you can also try some of the tips we previously shared with you here and here. Finally, don’t be afraid to play around with essential oils (lavender, thyme, etc.).