by Dr. David Williams
Last Reviewed 12/23/2013
Has anyone ever told you how you should sleep? We spend at least one-third to one-half of our life in bed and rarely has anyone been taught proper sleep positions. I know that this will be disappointing to a lot of people but, if you sleep on your stomach you’ll eventually have a lot of back problems. You should train yourself to sleep on either your side or your back. Now, if you sleep on your side, your knees can be bent, but you should keep them together and not throw one leg up toward the chest or to your side. If you have to sleep with one arm under the pillow, then make sure it is fully extended or straightened out, not bent at the elbow and tied in a knot under the pillow.
If you sleep on your back, don’t sleep with your arms above your head, but rather at your sides or on your stomach or chest.
I know sleeping habits are hard to change, but in the long run, making a few changes may keep you from experiencing the terrible, debilitating pain associated with low back problems, numbness in the shoulders and arms, neck stiffness, and a host of other problems.
If you have a problem staying off your stomach, start off with a small pillow on each side; if you start to roll over on your stomach, it will wake you and remind you to reposition yourself on your back. Also, you can use a small pillow between your knees if it is uncomfortable to keep them together.
The results can be quite dramatic. Most people begin to feel a noticeable improvement within five to seven minutes. More stubborn problems, like severe headaches, may take as long as 15 minutes.