If you’re struggling to live with a chronic condition, you already know that it can be a real challenge. Surprisingly, sometimes all it takes to deal with a recurrent health issue is a change in the way you sleep. Certain sleeping positions can treat or even resolve harmful health conditions. Here’s a guide to different positions that may help you cope with three very common problems.
Sleeping Positions For Back Pain
You should not sleep on your stomach if you’re having trouble with back pain. Stomach sleeping has been linked in multiple studies to recurrent lower back pain. Your sleeping position should keep your entire spine as straight as possible. This means that you should change your pillows if they currently push your neck into an angled position when you sleep.
Try sleeping on your side, with a thin cushion or pillow in between your knees. This keeps your hips straight and minimises the amount of stress on your lower spine. Bend your knees just a little for comfort. Do not bend them too far as this may make your back too curved when you sleep.
The Problem: Acid Reflux / Heartburn
Heartburn is a health problem known by many names. It’s also called acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). No matter what you call it, heartburn can be an extremely painful issue. Chronic heartburn can cause insomnia (see below) and damage your stomach, throat and sinuses. You may find it difficult or impossible to eat certain foods if you have chronic acid reflux.
Sleeping Positions For Heartburn
The best change you can make to overcome heartburn is to start sleeping on your left side. This lets gravity help keep stomach acid where it belongs, not climbing up your throat. Sleeping on your left side also helps your lymphatic system work more efficiently. Your lymphatic system is responsible for purging toxins and it also regulates the acid in your stomach.
You may also get good results from propping up your head when you sleep. This can be done with ordinary pillows, specially-made ones, or foam wedges. This study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that both alternate sleep positions are effective at reducing heartburn.
Sleeping Positions For Insomnia
There are many different positions that can help prevent insomnia. Most of them work by preventing muscular strains and tensions which might cause late-night pain.
If you can’t sleep due to shoulder pain, try not to sleep with your head propped up on your arm. Instead, sleep on your side and extend both arms out in front of you. It may also help to hug a pillow to your chest.