We all do it! Most of us enjoy it! Not many of us do it well. I’m so excited to help you learn how to use your sleep posture to feed your parasympathetic nervous system (needed for quality sleep) and allow you to wake up feeling loose, relaxed, and rested!
#1 Sleep on your back
I hear a lot of reasons why patients can’t sleep on their back…..I can argue why they CAN with a few exceptions. It is possible, and it is best. Most people have a hard time sleeping on their back because they can’t get “comfortable.” I argue that the comfort is not a physical obstacle but an emotional one. Laying on your back is a very vulnerable position and our unconscious subconscious cues you to move to a safe position (most people choose fetal or stomach). You can train your brain – just mindfulness, as well as use a weighted blanket, pillows, etc to support your physical body in a way that allows you to find comfort!
#2 Support your spine
We have 5 curves in our spine that need support while you are sleeping. This is huge, especially if you are getting quality sleep – fully relaxing. To accomplish this, a pillow under your knees will create a supple low back by relaxing your hips. Palms face up while keeping a gentle bend in your elbows. Shoulders have a gentle external rotation – think of tucking your shoulder blades under you. You can use a pillow under your head but keeping your neck neutral is important. I talk about the chin a lot! The position of the chin determines if your spinal fluid is flowing freely, pulled tight, or compressed while you sleep. Tucking your chin is the worst – side sleepers beware! Keep your chin neutral as best you can. My favorite is using a TriCore pillow or several pillows to have support around each cheek to keep your neck neutral while your chin is mid-range of motion.
#3 Thought dumping and more
Prepare your body and mind for sleep. Allow 30-60 minutes before you want to fall asleep for your body and mind to transition from busy-day mode to heal-and-repair mode. This is more important than you might think. If you fall asleep quickly from exhaustion, your quality (and probably quantity) of sleep will be compromised. This time could include prayer, meditation, deep breaths, journaling away your thoughts (thought dumping), self-massage (only very gentle touch), hot bath, essential oils, gratitude, gargling water, BioMat, and much more. The concept is to initiate the conversion of function in your body to the resting state. You could look up ideas online that surround “activate your parasympathetic nervous system.”
I wanted to include reasons why sleeping on your back add to your health, but I’ll save that for another time 😉 Hopefully you can practice the posture, and then find those benefits all on your own! Until then, I hope your journey in healing and health is fruitful!
In Love and Service,
Taryn Lowery, DC