THE way you sleep is not just a question of style, it can define who you are, writes Anthony Oluoch
Joan is a vibrant and energetic young lady belonging to the corporate class. Her commitment to work, competence, resilience and tenacity have earned her a couple of promotions in a relatively short period of time.
But besides her work achievements, she complains of not having adequate rest when she awakes from sleep.
In a futile search for a comfortable and relaxed sleeping position, Joan usually tosses and turns in bed for most of the night only to get out of bed with stiffness, soreness and at times back pain.
Just like Joan, many people go through the same experience.
If you sleep on a comfortable mattress and yet wake up sore and feeling pain all over, then there is a need to re-evaluate the positions in which you sleep.
Sleeping is a process through which the body rests and re-energises. People mostly sleep at night, though some do it during the day due to work-related conditions.
But for one to get the best from sleep, the need to adopt good sleeping positions should not be underestimated.
Due to ignorance or carelessness, some people sleep in a way that is unhealthy or that does not allow the backbone to maintain its normal alignment.
The backbone is not meant to be straight. It has three natural curves â€” one near your neck, one in the middle of your back, and one in your lower back.
When forced into an unnatural position it causes a strain on your muscles, joints and nerves. This is one of the reasons why people on several occasions wake up in the mornings with back pain.
Experts say there are different recommended sleeping positions that cause all parts of the body to feel comfortable so that you can find real rest and deep satisfaction.
sleeping on your side
One of the good positions to adopt is sleeping on your side. This is one position that has been adapted by many people and usually sends them faster into sleep. When sleeping on your side, it is preferable that you sleep on your right side because you avoid putting stress on your internal organs such as the liver. In order to reap the best results from this position, make sure you put your arms on the sides and bend your legs slightly towards the chest. Placing a pillow between your legs also makes your legs feel more comfortable. This position helps combat hip and spinal concerns.
sleeping on your back
Some people have accustomed themselves to sleeping on their back. Experts, however, discourage this sleeping position because it contributes to sway back.
To avoid developing complications when sleeping on your back, it is advisable to lie with your arms by the side or by the head. Placing a pillow under your knees helps to maintain the normal curvature of the lower back.
Also placing a small rolled towel under your back provides additional support. Remember to always provide support to your neck with a pillow. This position is especially helpful if you have lower back pain.
sleeping on the abdomen
Sleeping on the abdomen is another position that many people have made got used to. This position is not recommended at all. This because it strains the head, neck and lower back. This position also puts pressure on your internal organs and affects the process of breathing as it tampers with the normal movement of the rib cage.
If you need to sleep in this position for some specific reason, placing a pillow under your pelvis and abdomen helps to reduce chances of straining your back.
Use a pillow under your head if it doesnâ€™t place too much strain on your back. If it does cause strain, try sleeping without a pillow under your head.
On the contrary, doctors note that there are people suffering from specific conditions such as degenerative disc diseases that require them to sleep in this position.
Sleeping positions should be of particular concern to expectant mothers. To many, itâ€™s a challenge to get a good nightâ€™s sleep most especially as the baby grows.
The increasing size and weight of the baby causes many pregnant women to toss and turn through the night as they struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Choosing a sleeping position during pregnancy should not only be aimed at attaining comfort but also needs to focus on the need to avoid causing harm to both the mother and baby. It is always frightening most especially for those carrying their first pregnancy.
Doctor Josaphat K. Byamugisha, the head of Obstetrics/Gynaecology at Makerere University, College of Health Sciences, says it is recommended that a pregnant woman sleeps on her side â€” the left being the most recommended.
This position helps to improve kidney function for the mother, thus allowing efficient elimination of wastes, helps reduce swelling, allows for maximum blood flow to the baby and keeps pressure off the liver which is situated on the right side of the body.
Pregnant women who always tend to sleep on their backs and tummy are advised to develop the habit of side sleeping early during the pregnancy.
Need a good back? Mind your Sleeping position