Positioning Yourself for a Full Night’s Rest

Sleeping istock photo FINAL 300x200 Positioning Yourself for a Full Nights RestDo you ever wonder why you wake up in the middle of the night? Or do you wake up feeling more stiff and sore than you were prior to going to bed? According to James Caginalp, PT, DPT, this can be easily explained by just looking at how you are supporting yourself in bed. “A skilled physical therapist can help you get a better night’s sleep by assessing and recommending your sleeping posture to allow you to find a comfortable and a healing position,” stated Caginalp. “The way that you position yourself for sleep can affect the quality and amount of sleep that you get each night.”

Getting a good night of sleep is extremely important for helping your body to heal. It is also important for feeling refreshed and focused at work, at home, or anywhere in between. If you have difficulty staying asleep during the night, experience pain at night, or feel worse when waking up in the morning than you did when you went to sleep the night before; then a change in how you support yourself while you sleep may be necessary and incredibly helpful.

For sleeping on your side: begin by placing a folded towel under your waist to support your lumbar spine in a mid-range loose packed position.  Next, place a pillow between your legs so that your thigh, knee, and lower leg are all supported.  Be sure to support your neck in a neutral alignment and make sure that your pillow is snug to your shoulder for full support.  If you feel the need to support your arm, take a large pillow and let your top arm relax on top of it for support.  After going through these steps, go back to your normal sleep position so that you can feel the difference in support.  If you happen to be pregnant, another optional support would be to put a small pillow or foam pad under the baby.

For sleeping on your back, begin by lying on your back with your knees supported by either one or two pillows.  Be sure that the pillows begin from under your butt bones and down to under the knees and ankles if possible.  Make sure that the pillow is also wide enough to prevent excessive rotation at your hips.  Next, place a pillow under your neck that doesn’t project your head too far forward.  Make sure that the pillow does not extend to underneath your shoulders.  If you happen to have a large curvature in your low back, place a small folded towel underneath to unload your back.  Again, after going through these steps, go back to your normal sleep position to feel the difference in support.

Enjoy your new well-supported sleeping position and feel free to experiment with the number of pillows and towels for different supports.  At some point, you may find that you no longer need as many supports as you once did!

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