What is the right way to sleep?

Auf dem Ofen by Albert Anker

Auf dem Ofen by Albert Anker

I often get asked what the ideal way to sleep is: On your back? On your stomach? With a giant pillow or no pillow? Hard bed or soft bed? So I thought I would share a few insights on proper sleeping — until I found a wonderful illustrated resource that accomplished all that I was going to do. Follow this link for an illustrated guide to sleeping comfortably.  Here is a quick excerpt:

Proper pillow placement varies for different sleeping positions, but the principles are the same. Your body is probably used to sleeping one way, but you may want to try all the positions anyway, as pillow placement can make quite a change. It may feel unnatural at first, but when your body adjusts, it will end up thanking you

And for those still wondering about choice of beds, here is what the Mayo Clinic has to say:

What you sleep on can also affect how comfortably you sleep. If adjusting your sleeping position doesn’t help reduce back pain, try adjusting your sleeping surface. Mattress firmness is an individual choice. If you have chronic low back pain, you may benefit from sleeping on a medium-firm mattress. Consider trying out a medium-firm mattress before you buy. However, you may find your back pain is reduced with a softer mattress.

If you have bursitis in your hips, you may find that a foam mattress pad reduces pain. And sleeping in an adjustable bed or reclining chair that keeps your head and knees up may help with low back pain.

With this knowledge, you can count yourself ready for some better rest for your tired body.  A little Rolfing Structural Integration, as many of you know, can also help smooth out the rough spots that no amount of tossing and turning seems to help.


About the Author

Matt Hsu is a trainer and orthopedic massage therapist. He fought a long battle with chronic pain all over his body and won. He blends the principles he learned in his journey, empirical observations with clients, and relevant research to help others get their lives back.