4 Ways to Improve Your Posture At Home – Part 4

Woman sleeping

While getting checked regularly is important, posture care begins at home. Many of us have developed very poor habits that lead to chronic conditions such as upper cross syndrome (rounded shoulders and forward head carriage), increased lumbar lordosis/forward curve, and our old favorite, pain. Left alone long enough, poor posture helps arthritis develop and speeds degeneration of the spinal soft tissues.

Luckily, there are some things you can do about it! In this final part of our 4 part series, we’ll be discussing sleep habits. If you missed any of the other parts, you can read them here: Part 1 ErgonomicsPart 2 Home StretchesPart 3 Home Exercises

Sleep Right

Getting enough sleep is critical to maintaining regular health. But you probably already knew that—there are more than enough studies demonstrating how critical rest is to the mind and body. But not all sleep is created equal.

Poor sleeping posture not only reduces the effectiveness of your sleep, it can also lead to back pain, neck pain, headaches, and occasionally pseudo-torticollis, a problem that presents as sudden inability to turn the neck after “sleeping funny” (a real and legitimate mechanism of injury in most medical health records).

Side Posture

Because breathing problems (1 in 5) and GERD (also 1 in 5) are such common conditions, the side posture position is a reasonable choice for most people. It allows the airway to remain more open and reduces the likelihood of acid reflux. But it requires some modification to work right.

First, the pillow being used needs to be thick enough to prevent the neck from sagging, particularly in individuals with broad shoulders. Some prefer to use a cervical pillow, but they aren’t comfortable for everyone; just make sure your pillow is still alive (most pillows only last about a year or so). My personal preference is a water pillow as it can be inflated or deflated based on your personal needs. Unfortunately they are somewhat heavy.

Second, a body-sized pillow between the arms and legs helps the spine stay in alignment while keeping the top hip from falling. This is especially true for if you’re using a traditional mattress, as springs tend not to mold to shape as much as a memory foam mattress or low setting air mattress.

Avoid the fetal position as that reduces the ability for your diaphragm to push and pull air, making breathing more difficult and eliminating some of the position’s purpose.

Supine (Face Up, On Your Back)

Sleeping on your back is a naturally effective and posture friendly position, assuming you aren’t the 1 in 5 with sleep apnea. It prevents the spine from bending sideways and is generally preferred for those with scoliosis or other unusual spinal curves. A good pillow will help support the cervical curve and help reduce acid reflux by slightly elevating the head.

Those with tight back muscles can benefit from sleeping with a pillow beneath the knees and lower legs. Just be sure you’ve selected a mattress with the right firmness as failing to do so can leave the back muscles engaged all night long. My preference varies, so I use an adjustable mattress.

Prone (Face Down, On Your Belly)

This is generally not a recommended sleeping position. Sleeping on your belly increases the lumbar lordosis (the forward curve of your back) and makes it difficult to breath unless your neck is turned to the side, often resulting in cramps, pseudo-torticollis, and dysfunction in the cervical spine.

Although I recommend against sleeping on your stomach, if you absolutely must, a pillow underneath the belly will help reduce the curve in the low back caused by sleeping face down. Otherwise, this is not a good posture for sleeping.

General Considerations

While there are many variations to the aforementioned sleeping postures, there are some other things to consider regarding a good night’s sleep. These tips can be applied for any of the sleeping positions and have more to do with creating a quality sleeping environment.

 

This concludes our 4 part series on home posture. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time! Be sure to check out our other posts if you’re interested in more tips for self-care.

 

Need some extra help? Contact your Winter Park chiropractor today at (321) 972-2008 and request an appointment. We hope to see you soon!

 

About the Author

Dr. Orsino, your local Winter Park chiropractor, focuses on preventative health by utilizing a mixture of traditional chiropractic techniques, modern equipment, and wellness advice to provide long lasting results to his patients. He also enjoys writing, video games, and the occasional matcha frappe.

Author
Paladin Chiropractic

You Might Also Enjoy...

Safety Wear Etiquette

Minimizing risks during a pandemic through personal action is commendable; however, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Today we'll be discussing proper etiquette with PPE!

Can Chiropractic Care Improve Heart Health?

Heart health—a topic that ought to be on all of our minds—is the top focus of February. This is because each year, roughly 25% of all deaths in the United States are related to heart disease...

OUCH! 3 MAJOR CAUSES OF PAIN AND WHAT TO DO

Sooner or later, we all experience some kind of pain—most of us from the day we’re born! In many cases, pain comes and goes as we’re hurt and heal. Some types, however, are a little more troublesome to deal with.