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Your pain, mood and sleep are all connected

Are you someone who finds that they go to sleep in a comfortable position only to wake up struggling with aches and pains? This is unfortunately a very common problem for many people.

It causes a lot of frustration and confusion because we’ve been sold by many bed manufacturers, for years and years, the idea that we can achieve a perfect night’s sleep if we’re comfortable in bed.

Manufacturers claim that their mattresses will deliver a truly restorative and comfortable night’s sleep. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this is simply not true!

Are you sitting comfortably?

There’s clearly a problem if you’re waking up with aches and pains after falling asleep in a comfortable position. However, there’s little education around the subject – unlike our sitting postures. So let’s first look at some of our bad daytime postures.

People often sit slouched on the sofa or hunched over the desk because it feels comfortable. However, we’re all aware that this is not an ideal position, despite it being comfy. In fact, businesses spend a lot of resources supplying ergonomically designed desks, chairs and educating their workforce on how to optimise their working position in order to avoid long term health problems.

Therefore if it’s understood that a comfy slouching position isn’t benefiting you in the long run, you need to consider addressing your comfy yet potentially damaging sleeping position, too.

“Comfortable” sleeping positions

Are you someone who finds that they are waking up with lower back pain, hip pain or neck pain? It’s most likely that your sleeping position is to blame. These are some of the common, so-called, comfortable sleeping positions that are definitely no-good for you.

The starfish

Illustration of woman lying on her front

The starfish: Research has found that front sleeping is not good for back pain and posture at all. This starfish position could cause you plenty of problems, including shoulder pain and instability, not to mention lower back pain.

The heavy lifter

Illustration of woman lying on her side

The heavy lifter: One in five of us sleep in this comfy position, however, sleeping this way will cause you problems such as sacroiliac joint pain, knee issues, and shoulder instability.

What do to instead

There is a reason that we lie or sit in comfortable positions that are potentially bad for us and this is due to developing an association with it. We’ve become so used to this position that it’s second nature to us – meaning comfort is simply what we’re used to.

So it’s important to now create a new association with a position that won’t lead to you waking up with a bad back and neck ache. Remember this is going to take some practice, as you’re so in tune with your old position. Instead, see this as a life’s work – it’s going to take some time to develop a new association.

Don’t feel guilty, either – it’s likely that no one has ever told you that your sleeping position could be connected to the pain or issues you’re experiencing!

So try;

  • Going to sleep in the new position
  • Try it out for 30 mins at first
  • If you can’t sleep go back to your old ways – at least you had 30 minutes more of optimised sleep than the previous night
  • Repeat every night – you can change the bad habits of a lifetime!

Develop a new sleep association with The Dreamer

Illustration of woman lying on her side with a pillow in between her knees and ankles

We recommend transitioning from your current sleeping position to The Dreamer position.

This position optimises your sleeping posture. See if you can accommodate side lying – lie on your side in a semi-foetal position and do these two things.

  1. Choose a pillow that fills earlobe to scapula. It should lift your head of the bed keeping your cervical spine and neck nice and neutral
  2. Put a pillow between your knees and ankles. This allows your legs to be nicely positioned so that you’re not bringing your knee over causing rotation and potentially twisting your spine

If you can’t lie on your side then lying on your back is ok too. Just make sure to take a pillow and tuck it underneath your knees. Eventually, after persisting with your new position, it will become the thing you associate with sleep and this will feel comfortable. 

Your mattress matters too

Now that you’ve got to grips with your new sleep association it’s important to also highlight how your mattress could be contributing to poor sleep posture. Mattresses are often sold as being comfortable, and many are, but how many are actually providing enough pressure relief as well.

From our perspective you’ve had this bad posture all day, you’ve sat at your chair, at the desk or in the car, actually these 6-8 hours you’re sleeping, is the time to forget the terrible postures of the day and actually fight against it.

It’s for this reason that we developed a foam that doesn’t soften and mould to the shape of your body (like memory foam), whilst still maintaining the pressure relieving qualities.

This means with sufficient pressure relief you get all the benefits of being comfortable in bed without sacrificing body shape. This will allow you to enjoy a better nights sleep and reap additional benefits such as;

  • Reducing your lower back pain
  • Improving your digestion and circulation
  • Boosting your energy levels
  • Lessening the tension in your neck and shoulders
  • Increasing your lung capacity
  • Improving your core strength
  • Improved postural management
  • Feeling more stable in your environment (proprioception)

What about your pillow?

We all have our favourite pillows allowing us to drift off to sleep, but are they also contributing to a non optimal sleep posture? There are certainly a plethora of type of pillows on offer from;

  • Feather
  • Fibre
  • Memory foam
  • Ergonomic

Choosing the correct pillow for you is vital to help with your sleep posture, pressure and proprioception. If your comfy pillow is too soft it can lack the necessary resistance properties that help maintain a neutral neck and spine. Over time this can lead to neck and back ache.

A pillow that’s too small or too high can also lead to neck ache through the overextension of the neck muscles. So, finding the correct pillow size for you, one that provides pressure relief for comfort and resistance for support, is key to a comfortable and optimised sleep.

Different sized pillows stacked on one another

Some of these steps mentioned may feel uncomfortable at first, but persist with it and we’re sure you’ll start to reap the rewards of a comfortable and posture optimised sleep.