Get Better Sleep Tonight

photo of a woman sleeping in her bed, by Merrill Physical Therapy, promoting proper sleeping positions for a pain free rest.

Healthy Sleep Tips

Settling in for a good night’s sleep isn’t just about counting sheep – it’s crucial for both your mental and physical well-being. Discover why sleep matters for overall health. But for many, achieving restful sleep is a challenge. Tossing and turning can lead to daytime exhaustion, impacting every aspect of life. That’s why prioritizing healthy sleep habits is essential. From sticking to a bedtime routine to creating a comfy sleep space, these practices can help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

The National Institutes of Health suggests that school-age children need at least 9 hours of sleep daily, teens need 8-10 hours, and adults need at least 7 hours.

Everyone tends to have their preferred go-to sleep position that always helps them drift into slumber. For some, it’s the classic back position, others find comfort curling up on their side, and some prefer sleeping on their stomach.

Sleeping for hours on end in the same position can have its pitfalls if your body is not properly supported. While favorite sleep positions differ, some key principles apply to almost everyone. See which sleeper you tend to be, and think about the tips that apply:

How to Get a Better Nights Rest in Your Favorite Sleeping Position

The Side Sleeper

Put a pillow between your legs to get alignment for your hips to your knees, and make sure the pillow you rest your head on provides alignment with the height of your spine.

The Back Sleeper

Make sure the pillow under your head is not too high and provides support for your neck so that your head and your spine are in alignment. If you find that there is pain in your lower back from the curvature of your body, you can put a pillow under your legs to lessen the curvature in your back and relieve stress.

photo of a man sleeping on his side, promoting Merrill Physical Therapy's blog about sleeping positions for a pain free rest. The Stomach Sleeper

Not recommended for long periods. This position overextends your neck because it forces you to turn your head to the side while the rest of your body faces the bed. Your arms may also be over-extended if you have them above your head causing stress to your back.

Choosing the Right Pillow for Sleep

While there are many things you can do to try to get a good night’s rest, the solution may be lying right beneath your head. A pillow that adequately supports the head helps maintain proper spinal alignment, and prevents stiffness and soreness in the neck & shoulders, minimizing discomfort. Proper head support can alleviate issues such as snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux by promoting optimal breathing patterns and reducing pressure on the airways.

Here are some factors to consider when you’re out shopping for the perfect pillow:

  • Your ideal pillow should let your head rest so that it’s aligned with your shoulders, hips, and heels, forming a straight line from your head to your body.
  • If your head tilts back (or to one side when side sleeping), your pillow is too thin and might cause stiffness in your shoulders.
  • If your head tilts upward and disrupts the straight line, your pillow is too full or thick. This can reduce the size of your airway causing you to snore.

Take advantage of the return policy on your pillows and try it out for a few days. If you’re uncomfortable, return it and find another. Keep in mind the right pillow for you depends on your sleep position(s). Here are some suggestions to get it right the first time!

  • BACK SLEEPERS: Try thinner pillows or pillows with more volume in the bottom third to cradle your neck.
  • SIDE SLEEPERS: Look for a firmer pillow that fills in the space between your ear and shoulder.
  • STOMACH SLEEPERS: Opt for a very thin pillow to keep your back from arching or even sleep without one.

Experiment with different pillows and sleep positions to find what works best for you. Remember, the key is not only in the position itself but also in maintaining proper alignment and providing support where needed.

If these tips don’t improve your sleep or if you’re dealing with lingering pain, it may be time to consider physical therapy. Our team at Merrill Physical Therapy will work with you to create a tailored exercise routine to improve your mobility and address any neck issues affecting your shoulders or arms. They’ll work with you to identify the root cause of your pain and facilitate your body’s healing process. Ready to prioritize your well-being? Give us a call at (715) 539-2740 and schedule an appointment with us today to start your journey toward better sleep and improved overall health. Here’s to nights filled with sweet dreams and days brimming with energy as you embrace these healthy sleeping habits.

Skip to content