PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When it’s time to get some shut-eye, you already know to darken the room, power down electronics, and turn in at the same time each night. However, could your sleep position undo all your good work?
According to Dr. Bob Yakovac, a chiropractor in Mt. Lebanon, it could.
There have been several studies and research articles published recently on the importance of the position in which you sleep. It can affect your joints and muscles, your mood, weight and overall health.
Dr. Yakovac says it all starts with the spine.
“The less stress you have on it, the less stress you have during the day,” Dr. Yakovac said. “And you have to remember, one-third to one-fourth of your life, you’re sleeping.”
The best position is to lie on your back. The good?
It neutralizes the spine, minimizes back and neck pain, keeps organs aligned and reduces wrinkles.
The bad? It may cause snoring.
Sleeping on your side is the second-best choice.
The good? It alleviates back and neck pain.
The bad? It can cause shoulder and hip pain, and wrinkles on the face and chest.
The worst position for your overall health is sleeping face down.
“This is the biggest problem with sleeping on your stomach, the breathing aspect. Decreasing oxygen flow – that’s not healthy,” said Dr. Yakovac.
Stomach-sleeping puts pressure on the spine, joints, and muscles. It also restricts breathing.
Dr. Yakovac retrains some patients to sleep on their back or side using specially designed pillows that are measured to fit each individual.
He also recommends “wedging” yourself in with pillows to prevent movement throughout the night.
KDKA also got some expert advice from a specialty sleep store in East Liberty.
Relax the Back Owner Jane Peterson stocks her business with the latest technology in sleep comfort.
“Probably, the basic is you need to have a good mattress. If your mattress is eight, 10, or 12 years old, [you may need a new one.] In here, we prefer memory foam or natural products,” she said.
The store also sells a variety of pillows to accommodate each sleep position.
KDKA’s Kym Gable: So, these products are going to help align your body?
Peterson: Correct. You want to keep your back and neck in alignment because if you twist and turn them, you’re going to have back and neck problems.
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