Correct sleeping posture

Is your bed a pain in the butt?

Written by Dr. David Howard – B.Sc. (Clinical Sci.), M.H.Sc. (Osteopathy), B.App.Sc (Human Movement) from Pascoe Vale Osteopathy located in Pascoe Vale, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

As most people spend about the same time sleeping as they do sitting at a desk, your sleeping posture is just as important  as your sitting posture. Research has indicated that 41% of people sleep in the foetal position. This posture, however, isn’t optimal in maintaining correct spinal alignment.

The best spinal alignment when sleeping is the same as when sitting, but obviously lying down – click onto this previous article for more detail. The triple C-curve of your spine is maintained and there is no excess pressure on any part of the spine. I know bad habits are hard to change but try going to sleep correctly and hopefully your sleeping body eventually gets the picture. We will start from the top…

*Neck straight with your chin away from your chest
*Good supportive pillow filling the gap between your head and shoulders – click onto this previous article for more detail
*Arms in front of you or hugging a pillow
*Maintain the curve in your low back or lumbar spine by having your knees below the level of your hips
*Both knees should be together so that the back is nice and straight. (Many people, especially women with larger hips will find this uncomfortable or impossible. Placing a pillow between your knees will remedy this).

Your bed may be the culprit…

Goldilocks wasn’t wrong… your bed shouldn’t be too hard or too soft, it should be just right. A bed that is too soft will not support your spine enough and a hard bed will not allow your pointy/bony bits to sink into the bed to enable correct spinal alignment.

A bed lasts 7-8 years before the internals start to fail – How old is yours?

Your bed should be at least 15 centimetres longer than you are

If you sleep with a partner, don’t settle for anything smaller than a queen size bed. The average sleeper turns 40-60 times a night – if there is not enough space, you will keep waking each other up.

Buy the best bed that you can afford – there seems to be a strong correlation between cost and quality.

If your current bed is too hard and not very old, consider buying a pillow top in latex or memory foam to save buying a whole new bed.

Some tips for sleeping posture when pregnant

Silk, or other shiny PJ’s, will allow you to slide when turning rather than having to lift your whole body weight

Invest in a pregnancy pillow. There are full length ones or those just for under the belly – and they really do make a difference!

If you are suffering from hip region pain at night or when you get up, your bed may be too hard with your change in weight distribution. Regular egg carton foam underlay can drastically improve your symptoms.


Disclaimer: Information provided in this post is of a general nature and should not be used solely in place of individual advice from either myself or another medical professional. Pascoe Vale Osteopathy and Dr. David Howard will not take responsibility for any injury resulting from following information in this post.

Pascoe Vale Osteopathy provides osteopathic services to patients from a wide number of suburbs such as Pascoe Vale, Essendon, Essendon North, Moonee Ponds, Strathmore, Niddrie, Keilor, Coburg, Brunswick, Oak Park, Glenroy, Airport West, Travancore, Melbourne, Australia.