When one considers that we can spend up to eight hours out of every 24 sleeping posture during this time becomes extremely important.  Businesses thrive as people struggle to find the “perfect” pillow for them from the many products on the market. From contoured pillows to specialized body pillows one can spend a fortune on these products never quite knowing what criteria to base their selection on. Trial in a store for 3-5 minutes can’t possibly predict comfort over a 6-8 hour period and so the market continues to thrive.

From a Clinical Standpoint

From a clinical standpoint the most important aspect of sleeping posture is alignment. Ideally, the head and other joints should remain in a neutral position, whether the person is sleeping on their back or side. The pillow should be at a height in which it fills the space between a persons’ ear and their shoulder when their head is fully relaxed and compressing the pillow. When side sleeping, if the pillow is too thick or thin, the neck becomes side flexed with one side being compressed while the other side is stretched;  this can lead to discomfort caused by tightened muscles to compressed nerves.

“Head forward posture” which is a jutting forward of the chin, is becoming more prominent with increased cell phone and computer usage. Add to that a back sleeper with more than one thin pillow, the neck muscles are in a constant state of contraction trying to return to their normal length.

Physiotherapy Treatment

Left untreated, headaches and even numbness or tingling into the upper extremities can result.  If you’re unsure what a neutral position is or how to achieve it, come and see us at Prairie Trail Physiotherapy Winnipeg for professional assistance. Being pro-active could save you from a real “pain in the neck” later.

Susanne Robson, BMR-PT