WASHINGTON, February 8, 2017 – Our body stance plays a vital role in our physical and emotional well-being. Being able to stand tall, with shoulders squared, head held erect not only makes us feel better, but it helps us to breathe better, and by getting more oxygen into our lungs and bloodstream, our concentration and ability to think increases.
Our posture affects our physical health as walking in a perpetual slouch can cause backaches, pressure on your chest and lungs that keep you from deep breathing, and can lead to disc or spinal injury.
Conversely, good posture makes us appear more attractive and helps you to project feelings of competence. You appear taller, thinner and you appear to be more healthful.
If we have bad posture while awake, we may also have bad posture while we sleep, disrupting your healing rest. Adopting good day, and nighttime, posture can go a long way to get rid of back pain, muscle pain, and even headache. Those who suffer the most are people who sit lazily or slouch in front of their computers for several hours per day, without taking walks and realigning their spines and shoulders.
Those people also have bad sleep posture because it’s not solely about how we stand or sit. It’s way more than that.
Good posture includes your sleeping position and while teaching your body to stand, sit, walk properly, it takes work to teach it to sleep in a healthy posture that allows deep breathing and eliminates disruptive tossing and turning.
One of the first steps you can do is make sure your bed is firm and comfortable and that it does not cause pressure points.
Some of the newer mattresses with a gel topper can fit the bill. If you think that your bed is the at fault, it would be best to change to a firmer one but if you can’t change it, try the old-fashioned repair of sliding some sheets of plywood beneath the mattress to create a firm foundation and purchasing a gel bed topper and cushioned mattress cover.
Some of the newer mattresses, with a gel layer, can fit the bill, but you want to check the pressure density. The higher the pressure density, the firmer and more supportive the mattress will be.
If you think that your bed is the at fault, it would be best to change to a firmer one but if you can’t change it, try the old-fashioned repair of sliding some sheets of plywood beneath the mattress to create a firm foundation and purchasing a gel bed topper and cushioned mattress cover.
Beyond the bed, you can improve your posture during the day, and night, by analyzing and adjusting your sleeping body posture as well, avoiding neck pain, backaches, and headaches by assessing and adjusting your position at bed time.
- Check your sleeping position.
The best way to improve your body posture is to be able to find a sleeping position that would make sure that your spine is in a straight line. Pains such as neck pain, back, and muscle pain, fatigue heartburn, and even sleep apnea can be the result of poor sleeping position. When you lie down you want your neck to be comfortable supported and your chin facing up to the ceiling, not down to your chest. Your spine, neck, and nose should all be in line.
- Do not sleep on your stomach.
To improve body posture, sleep on your back or your side. Sleeping on your stomach is highly discouraged as when you sleep on your stomach, your spine is not in a straight line position, your stomach pushes down into the mattress, causing your spine to bow forward which can cause backaches, and it hinders your ability to breathe as your ribs and sternum push into your lungs.
When you sleep on your stomach it is inevitable that you will turn your head to the side which eventually creates a twisting pressure to the neck and spinal cord. Aside from that, if you use a pillow beneath your head, this elevates your head making your spine unaligned with it.
If you’re a side sleeper, a pillow between the knees will keep your hips properly aligned and help keep you from pushing one knee forward, twisting your body at the waist and hips. Aside from that, it will also stop you from tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable, non-pressure space, for your knees.
Back sleepers can also benefit from putting a pillow between or just under your knees to remove some of the pressure from your lower back.
But if you are sleeping on your stomach and you don’t want to change it, it would be best to put a pillow under your pelvis and your stomach to alleviate the pressure on your neck.
- Change your body position from time to time.
We understand that it’s not easy for you to change your sleeping position because you’re already at home in your normal sleeping position. But nevertheless, try to change how you sleep to see if you can find a better way to get maximum rest.
- Use a couple of pillows.
Cradle yourself with pillows, under your arms, underneath your knees and if it’s possible, one pillow each on the side of your torso to help support your body and alleviate pressure points.
For those who sleep on their side put pillows behind your back and in front of your torso to prevent yourself from rolling our of alignment. Using pillows is an efficient way for you to stay in a steady yet comfortable new sleeping posture.
- Practice good posture in the morning.
Aiming to improve your posture in the evening also requires awareness in the morning. Stand against the wall, evenly balanced on both of your legs, and determine if you are standing straight, square and tall. Do you shoulder blades and the back of your head and rear all touch the wall equally.
If you can, stand in front of a full body mirror and visually check that your shoulder and neck are in alignment, and straight. Raise your hands above your head, palms together, fingers pointing to the ceiling. Are your shoulders are in a straight line with your neck. If you find out that you’re having an issue with your body posture, it would be best to seek the help of a physical therapist who will teach you exercises to assist in strengthening your core.
Your posture today is the result of your physical activities and sleep habits over your lifetime. If you feel that your posture is poor, try to find ways to strengthen your core strength and increasing your posture to avoid the strangling blood vessels and nerves. And then get a good night’s sleep.
NOTE: For those who may have a sleeping disorder like sleep apnea, or physical challenges please talk to your doctor or physical therapist for the best position for your body to achieve healthful and restorative sleep.
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