If there’s one activity you do more than any other throughout your whole life, it’s sleeping. Life. You’re taking it lying down with your eyes shut. Perfectly vulnerable. Sure, you are awake a fair bit of the time but for the most part you’re sleeping so it makes sense to figure out if you’re doing it the right way. There are all sorts of factors to consider such as doing it for long enough. Reducing your exposure to blue light. Being relaxed. But before all of that, your starting point should be your body position. To help you along the way, we roped in the expertise of Dr. Mike, a chiropractor influencer and CEO of MoveU to help us understand.
- Comfort is evolutionarily new
Cavemen still got a good night’s rest. “A thousand years ago we weren’t sleeping memory foam,” smiles Dr. Mike. “We were sleeping on bales of hay with something on top of it. Are we too comfortable now? It’s possible, but what matters most is body alignment when we sleep.”
- Sleep the simple way
What’s the best way to sleep? It’s simpler than you may think. “The most biomechanically aligned way to sleep is on your back without a pillow,” says Dr. Mike. “A little rolled up towel under your neck can be good too. Biomechanically, your legs should come up about 15 degrees to be perfectly aligned. This means you’d be on a firm mattress with a pillow under your knees. If I were to X-ray that position, that spine would be in a Vitruvian Man-level alignment. You’d be perfect.
- The side sleeper
Not everyone is a back sleeper so do you adapt. “Things change when you’re on your side,” explains Dr. Mike. “Side sleeping often means you end up crunching your shoulders on one side. This means so your pillow should be matched to create the perfect alignment with your spine so it shouldn’t leave your head cranked up or down.”
- The right side to sleep
Many people find more comfort to the side, but once you have your perfect pillow height sussed out, what’s next? “The problem to solve is how to avoid putting to put pressure on your shoulders,” says Dr. Mike. “If you put a pillow behind your back so you’re not on your side and you’re not on your back, you’re in the middle, then this can take the pressure off your shoulder. The pillow behind your back creates torque behind your spine so you should have a heavy cushion pillow between your knees to be biomechanically aligned.
- Night time cuddles
How many pillows should you have? More than you think. “The final inclusion is to hug pillow with your arm because this keeps everything aligned.” To summarize this advice, if you side sleep you need one pillow for your neck. One behind your back. One to hug and if you like you can put one between your knees. That’s four in total. “Are we too comfortable maybe so, but we can be comfortable and aligned,” says Dr Mike. “Comfort and alignment is the best position and has the most success.” Try these techniques to take up feeling fresher than a mint on a pillow.