June 2011
Proper Sleep Positions
It is estimated that the average American sleeps 1/3 of their total lifetime. For someone who is 75 years of age, this is a total of 25 years spent sleeping! Considering this huge percentage of our lives spent sleeping, it is crucial to understand why the way in which we sleep is so important.
Many people are concerned with their posture during their waking hours, but have no idea that the way they sleep can have a negative effect on their posture and overall health. If you are a side sleeper, there are two key things that you should consider. The first being support for your neck and head and the other being support for your pelvis. Let’s start with the neck and head support. The ideal side sleeper pillow accomplishes two things:

1 ) It supports the cervical spine in a neutral position.

) It supports the musculature between the neck and shoulder on the side you are laying.

There are some companies that make pillows specifically for side sleepers, however it is important to have a qualified retailer or healthcare professional assess which size is right for you. The second thing to be aware of if you are a side sleeper is that you need some sort of support between your legs to keep your pelvis in neutral as well. Because of the biomechanics of our pelvis and lower extremities, when we lay on our sides without a support between our legs our pelvis becomes torqued due to the gap and gravity. This torsion can lead to severe back pain and unfortunately most people would never look to their sleeping posture as the culprit!
To sum up, I would like to reiterate the importance of taking steps (if you haven’t already) to improve the way in which you sleep. A number of problems can be prevented, alleviated or at the very least greatly reduced simply by making sure your body is supported correctly while you are sleeping. 
Written by Kayla Smiley, D.C.

Performance Life Chiropractic & Wellness
Oklahoma City, OK
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