The Right Sleeping Position for your Body Pain or Injury
If you are injured or experience pain lying down, you are probably having a difficult time falling and staying asleep. Not being able to sleep well will then make it harder for your body to heal. It’s a vicious cycle that can result in a worsened physical condition. Sleep deprivation can also negatively affect what you do in the daytime as well, as it can make you lose focus.
It’s clear that if you are experiencing pain, there is a greater necessity to get a good night’s sleep. You may already have been given pain medication by your physician; follow his or her instructions about it and take care when sleeping. You should also take a look at your mattress – if it’s been more than 10 years since you bought it, it may be time to look for a new one that would provide the right support and allow you to sleep more comfortably.
There are certain sleeping positions that can alleviate pain depending on the kind of pain or injury that you have. The following positions can help you fall asleep faster and with less pain.
For a headache or a toothache
Use two pillows to elevate your head and sleep on your back. This will decrease the flow of blood to the head and reduce headaches and tooth pain.
For neck pain
If you don’t have a headache or tooth pain but still sleep with two pillows behind your head, try to sleep using just one pillow to keep your spine aligned. Check the height of the pillow to make sure it keeps your head in a neutral, not tilted, position when you sleep on your back. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Use a pillow that contours to the shape of your head and relieves pressure on the neck. A memory foam pillow comes highly recommended.
For leg pain
If you have a sprained ankle, lie on your back and elevate the injured ankle slightly using a pillow to prevent swelling. If one or both hamstrings are paining you, sleep with your knee/s extended and use a pillow under your thighs to elevate the injured area. You can also apply some ice on the injured parts of your leg before going to sleep to reduce swelling.
For lower back pain
The best sleeping position for low back pain is actually sleeping on your back. Use just one pillow to elevate your head and keep your spine aligned. If using no pillow at all for your head feels more comfortable for you, then you may skip the pillow – place the pillow under your knees instead. You can also try sleeping on your side with a pillow between the knees. If there is a gap between the mattress and your waist, use a small pillow there to keep the spine in alignment. This position is also recommended for those with knee or hip pain.
For upper back pain
For upper back pain, the recommended sleeping position is on your side, with one or no pillows under the head and a pillow between the knees.
For shoulder pain
Sleeping on a recliner, armchair or adjustable bed can help in alleviating shoulder pain. On a flat mattress, you can lie on your uninjured side with a pillow under your head and another between the knees. Next, use a large pillow under your injured arm and rest your arm at chest height. You can use extra pillows so you don’t roll over and land on your injured shoulder.
For rib pain
As with shoulder pain, a recliner or adjustable bed with the upper part elevated can help you sleep better if you have an injured rib. On a regular mattress, you will need several pillows to keep you in a back-sleeping position and prevent tossing and turning. One pillow goes under your head and another under your knees. Place more pillows on both sides of your body so you don’t move.
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