Posture Basics: B is for Bed
How much time do you spend in yours?
How many hours per day do you spend in your car? Your lounge chair? Your desk? Now, compare: how many hours do you spend in your bed?
People spend a great deal of time with doctor Google finding just the right desk chair... and the lounge chair to watch a movie at home... and yet, setting up the bed for optimal comfort and body-care is often of less concern. Even if the mattress gets a little attention when buying one, is it maintained well? That said, there is a BIGGER problem lurking in the bedroom: the pillow.
Over the years, I've heard it all. Side-sleeping pillows, body pillows, and the worst of the bunch: the stomach sleeper's pillow. There is nothing revolutionary about this blog post. You know this yourself, you've heard it before, haven't you? You should be supported when lying down in the VERY BEST healthy posture you would have if you were standing up. Somewhere along the line, you've met your enabler. That sales person who convinced you that your perfect dreamy pillow can and will allow you to sleep guilt-free in perfectly great posture on your stomach, or your side... I'm not even going there with the body pillow emotional support pillows.
Okay, I will go there. By all means, hug that body pillow. Whisper into its soft folds. Make yourself happy - no judgment here. But unless you're pregnant, I'm not buying that your most healthy sleep position is possible with that giant marshmallow of a pillow.
If you doubt me (and of course you do, because you will try every argument in the world to avoid letting go of what is familiar - we are creatures of habit) so I recommend the following test:
- Get someone to snap a few picks of you sleeping with your old pillow in your typical position. Make sure the camera is level with your body in general.
- Now tilt that picture to the 12 o'clock vertical upright position
- Is what you see the image of an excellent standing posture?
Are ears equally away from shoulders? Are the hips level?How are the shoulders?
- If you were photographed lying on your stomach, I'm good with that IF:
you generally go thru your day looking to the far right (or L) all day long
I know what you're going to say next. (Yes, I'm psychic.) I know because I've heard it dozens of times: "I can't sleep on my back because I don't fall asleep." Or, maybe you tried it once, and without the proper neck (not head as much as neck) low back, and knee support. Maybe you have foot and ankle complications, or sciatic concerns. In truth, there isn't a one-size fits all to sleeping position, but I can tell you that in 20 or so years, I've seldom met anyone who can't improve their sleep posture. If you are that exception and the photos of your sleeping position are optimal, then you are a rock star! Post them!
If your photos were a real eye-opener for you about how bad your sleeping position is for you (and by eye-opener I mean to include the countless moments you aren't sleeping soundly as you flail about in an attempt to get comfortable) then I applaud you for getting out of denial. By all means, enjoy those old cuddly funky positions for a few moments when you wake up in the morning, or for a few before turning off the light... but don't make the choice to put your body to rest for the night that way! You can do this. Yes you can.
If you need help in learning how to make it all the way thru the night in fabulously restorative good posture, then you know where to find me. At first, you'll likely hate me. Maybe even more than for the bra fitting or even the Birkenstock posts. I get hate email - usually about 2AM when clients can't sleep because they "just can't sleep on their backs or other positions w/props we identify for them..." but then like magic, one morning they awake in the exact same position they went to sleep in! They stretch a bit... roll over to some crazy hitched hip stomach-sleep position for a moment of nostalgia, and then they get on with their day. Oddly, they find they can better turn their head when backing out of their driveway that morning. Huh.