A good night’s rest is essential for your daytime well-being. And your sleep position is one of the first things to investigate if you’re not getting enough rest. Have you been told, “It’s not good to sleep on your stomach,” or “It’s best to sleep in the fetal position”? You may wonder what is your “correct” sleeping position.
Actually, it doesn’t matter what position you sleep in because, once you’re asleep, your comfort dictates what your body will do. In other words, there is no “right” position in which to sleep. How you do sleep, though, tells a lot about your body.
For example, assuming you have a good supportive mattress that doesn’t sag, you should be comfortable on your stomach, side, or on your back with a small pillow under your head. But if your hip flexors (muscles at the front of your hips and thighs) are tight, the only comfortable way to lie on your back is with a pillow under your knees.
Suppose you have too much sway in your back—then you will find lying on your stomach is most comfortable.
People who have had a twisting fall or have been in a car accident in which they were thrown around will toss and turn trying to find a comfortable position. These are people who typically say, “I wake up in the most contorted positions,” or “I need to hang my leg off the bed to get comfortable.”
This means that imbalances in the muscles and fascia control your sleeping position. The position you sleep in tells you the position your body is “locked in.” If you have a slouch-type posture and a forward head you will be most comfortable with two pillows under your head. Your body craves support in this abnormal position. But, when your posture is corrected through myofascial release techniques and exercises, you no longer need two pillows.
The next time you’re wondering if you are sleeping “correctly,” be assured that if you wake up rested and pain-free, your body is properly aligned. If you wake up stiff or find it difficult to get comfortable, be aware that your body is trying to tell you it needs attention.