A Good Night's Sleep: Mattress, Pillows and Sleeping Position
I don't know about all of you, but I typically have trouble falling
asleep at night - my mind is racing with a million thoughts, or I
exercise too close to bed, or I just can't sleep. I've spent years
battling with mattresses, pillows, and trying to find a comfortable
sleeping position, all that are comfortable, don't leave me barely being
able to walk in the morning, and that will allow me to actually sleep.
I know that a lot of us in the Bay Area live our lives rushing from one
thing to the next, stressed at jobs, and just about life in general,
trying to squeeze in all of our activities, so we all really need to be
able to at least get a good night's sleep! I've heard from a lot of our
patients that they've been having similar problems - they don't know
what to look for in a mattress; they can't find a pillow that works for
them; the position that they sleep in makes their back/neck ache in
Sleeping in a poor position or on an unsupportive mattress places a lot
of stress on the back neck and shoulders and can lead to pain. This
article explains how to choose the correct mattress and pillow and the
best sleeping positions. Frequently back and neck pain can be eased by
the use of an appropriate mattress and pillows.
What's the Best Mattress to Stop Low Back Pain and Neck Pain?
The best position for the spine at night is to be gently supported in
spine neutral, this means that the spine maintains its natural curves.
If using a spring mattress, lie down on your side, you need the hips and
shoulders to sink in a little so the spine stays straight. If the
mattress is too hard, the hips and shoulders won't sink, which means
your waist drops down onto the mattress curving the spine. If the
mattress is too soft, then your spine doesn't get enough support.
What's the Best Sleeping Position to Stop Low Back Pain and Neck Pain?
What's the Best Pillow to Stop Low Back Pain and Neck Pain?
- Sleeping on your side: This is generally considered to be the
healthiest sleeping position for your spine. Use a pillow between your
knees to stop the top leg dropping down and causing rotation at the
- Sleeping on your back: You may wish to place a pillow under your
knees. This tilts the pelvis and takes some pressure of your spine.
- Sleeping on your front: This is the position most likely to
cause neck problems. Avoid sleeping on your front if you can. If you do
sleep on your front try not to turn your neck too far to the side.
Placing a pillow under your chest may help you to achieve this.
How do I Choose a Mattress to Stop Low back Pain and Neck Pain?
- A quality pillow of the correct size will make a huge difference in the amount of neck pain suffered.
- If sleeping on your side the pillow should be thick enough to
support your spine in a neutral position. Look for a pillow that is
fills the depth from your ear to shoulder without pushing your head up,
or letting it drop down.
- When sleeping on your front its best not to use a pillow
- Get the best quality mattress that you can afford – your spine will spend a lot of time on it in the years to come.
- A quality spring mattress is a good option. The amount of
springs is one of the key factors. The more springs there are the more
individual support each area of the body will get.
- Don’t rush into buying a mattress take your book and pillow along to the showroom and don’t be shy to lie down for a while.
- If you are not going to be sleeping alone make sure you and your
partner try the bed out together. If one partner is significantly
heavier than the other, consider a two part mattress that zips together
in the middle
How Often do I Need to Change my Mattress to Stop Low Back Pain and Neck Pain?
What about Memory Foam for Low Back Pain and Neck Pain?
- If you start to get a more uncomfortable nights sleep, or wake
with increasing amounts of back pain or stiffness it may be time to
change your mattress.
- Look at the mattress without sheets on, if there are big hollows
that don’t recover when you take your weight off then it may be time to
change your mattress.
- A good sprung mattress will have a lifespan of around 10 years.
Memory foam is a substance that conforms to your body weight and heat to
provide all areas of the body in contact with the mattress with equal
support, a quality memory foam mattress should support the spine in a
comfortable spine neutral position.