I’ve been robbing you of sleep by not sharing this knowledge with you. It comes after years of listening to patient’s sleep woes and also experiencing my own. Getting comfortable in bed need not be an elusive quest. I will suggest the basics, you add the individual component by tuning in to what your body says is comfortable.
Sleeping position determines pillow choice
The video I am sharing covers the 3 most common sleeping positions and pillow choices to make them supportive. My sleeping motto: “You can never have too many pillows”. The 3 positions are sleeping on your sides, sleeping on your back (supine), and sleeping on your stomach (prone). Have a variety of pillows to test comfort for your unique body composition.
The 4 main areas of the body that suffer during sleep are the neck, lower back, shoulders and hips. In the video I also describe a few simple tricks to help specific problems in these areas.
So without further ado, here is the video (I’ve included times for specific positions if you want to skip ahead):
2:50 side lying
4:50 side lying for lower back pain
5:50 supine (lying on the back)
6:40 supine for lower back pain
8:00 lying on the stomach (prone)
Choosing a bed
There is one more thing that needs to be addressed and could be an entire video on its own (if a store will allow me in with a video camera). In the absence of video footage however, let me explain what to consider and what to do.
Set aside enough time to go look for a mattress. This is not a 5 minute decision. This choice impacts 7-9 hours of every day of your life. If you aren’t comfortable, sleep will avoid you. Lack of sleep adds fuel to the fire of many conditions especially those that are related to chronic pain.
Do not allow the sales representative to rush you. Find out which beds are foam, pocket coil and spring so that you know what is comfortable for you. Lie on the bed for an absolute minimum of 5 minutes in each position that you normally sleep. If you love your pillow, take it along and test the bed with that pillow. Take note of where you feel pressure and if any mattress alleviates it.
A firm mattress provides the most support to the spine but it must still give way at the hips and shoulders (the heaviest part of the body).
If the bed is very firm, get a soft topper to alleviate the pressure on the hip and shoulders. Memory foam works well but watch out for a very thick topper. It can act like a soft unsupportive bed. Thick toppers can also retain heat, so if you get hot easily at night, it probably isn’t the right choice for you. Eggshell foam works well too and is a cheap and easy way to make a hard bed more plush.
Some companies offer a 100 day trial policy. This is a good option if you’re uncertain of the comfort levels.
If your sleep partner is much heavier, consider a pocket coil mattress or 2 separate mattresses. Some shops will offer motion isolation mattresses (often the foam mattresses). Try it out but take your partner along for the test.
I think that about covers it but if you have any questions, post a comment and I will respond.