I was always a side sleeper. No matter how hard I tried, I could not make myself sleep on my back. I was convinced people only did that in movies, not in real life. I didn't realize there was a connection between my sleep position and the chronic pain I had in my hips and shoulders, as well as the feeling of pins and needles I often experienced down my arms. So I continued to put a pillow under my knee, waking up several times every night to switch from left side to right side, and tried to cope with the pain.
How to Get a Better Sleep
Changing your sleep position can make a difference in how well you sleep and how your body feels in the morning. You may want to try sleeping on your back.
Pain and Sleep Problems
Why I decided to learn how to sleep on my back
I was having so many shoulder and arm problems that I started to wonder if I could continue to work. I regularly went to a chiropractor, a registered massage therapist, and a physiotherapist. I even had a few acupuncture sessions. I started tai chi lessons. All of these things helped me to become more aware of my body and what was affecting it. When I began to think about my sleep position, it became clear that I couldn't lie heavily on my arm, shoulder or hip for several hours in the night and expect to feel fine the next morning. There is no way I could bear that much prolonged pressure while I was awake. Why did I think it would be okay just because I was asleep?
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense that my shoulders, arms, hips and back would all feel better and be healthier if I didn’t stress them by my sleeping position. The difficulty was going to be convincing myself to lie straight, on my back, and still get to sleep. Despite logic, as soon as I felt myself drifting off, I would switch over to my side position. It seemed as if I couldn’t help it. I HAD to figure out how to sleep on my back. The good news is that I did figure it out. I want to tell you how I made the switch, and share a few “sleep well” tips with you.
Start with the Right Pillow
My first sign of success came after a long search for the right pillow. I discovered that a memory foam pillow is the answer. It has a nice, solid texture that my head sinks into. I can pull the bottom edge under my neck and curve it up a bit to give me the sense of extra support at the base of my skull that I seem to need to stay on my back. I also have found that a second pillow under my knees eases any back strain. This seemed obvious once I realized that my massage therapist, physiotherapist and dental hygienist all give me a knee pillow during my appointments. It does make my back more comfortable.
Get a Memory Foam Pillow
|Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Classic Pillow|
Responsive memory foam pillow in a traditional shape offers exceptional support for all sleeping positions. Premium memory foam delivers customized comfort while it gently ...
Sleep InnovationsOnly $24.49
|The SymphonyPillow by Tempur-Pedic|
Experience the pressure-relieving support of The SymphonyPillow by Tempur-Pedic--with a softer, more plush feel! The pillow also features a unique dual-sided design. A gently ...
TEMPUR-PEDIC, INC.Only $104.90
Add Side Head Support
To make this sleeping position work, you need to support your head so it won’t roll to the side, which is not only uncomfortable, but can strain your neck from being extended in that position for too long. There are a few ways to create the head support. One is to place a rolled towel just under the side of your pillow to raise the height of the edge. Or you might treat yourself to a wonderfully soft throw blanket. Roll or fold it and tuck by your ear so your head can’t roll to the side. Then you don’t feel the need to change position away from your back when you are asleep. And it feels so-o-o-o-o comfortable.
Super Soft and Luxurious
Comfort and Beauty
|JS Sanders MicroMink Luxurious Soft Blanket Throw, Cream (Ivory)|
Luxury embossed design compliments this soft and trendy reversible throw. A perfect addition to any home.Only $59.99
|JS Sanders MicroMink Luxurious Soft Blanket Throw, Aqua (Light Blue)|
Luxury embossed design compliments this soft and trendy reversible throw. A perfect addition to any home.
Pain and headaches can keep you from sleeping. If you know you have to take a pain reliever, even over-the counter pain medication, do it well before you get into bed so it has time to work. You do not want to be lying there in an unaccustomed position, feeling how much you hurt.
If you are just mildly uncomfortable, or prefer to use natural ways to handle pain, heat up a herbal heat bag just before you get into bed – the soothing heat can do wonders to help you fall asleep more quickly. Or try some of the natural products on this page: Help Me Sleep.
Have You Tried Melatonin?
I only recently heard about this hormone for sleep. I did some research and discovered that it has many benefits, but especially that it is considered to be an excellent aid for sleep problems. I decided to try it; I took it sublingually just before bed. I was extremely pleased with the results. I went from waking up four or five times a night to waking up once. I seemed to get a much deeper, better sleep and felt more rested in the morning. For me, it’s been a great natural sleep aid and has really helped with my sleep deprivation. By the way, if you don’t see an improvement in your sleep after using this hormone for sleep, you probably do not have reduced levels of melotonin. As with any product, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions and warnings.
Are Your Sheets Comfortable?
Okay, I threw this in just for fun. It’s not part of the treatment for insomnia, but I got some microloft sheets as a Christmas present and I love them. They feel wonderful - incredibly soft, cozy and luxurious It’s not easy to find great sheets for my Tempur-pedic bed because the mattress is extra-long, but these fit perfectly. What a great gift! I’m sure they do help me sleep better.
Marvelous Microloft Sheets
|Microloft Sheet Set- Cream, Twin|
Twin sheet sets include one fitted sheet, one flat sheet and one standard pillowcase. Full and Queen sheet sets include one fitted sheet, one flat sheet and two standard ...Only $49.95
Sweet Sleep to You!
I hope you have found this page helpful if you wanted to learn how to sleep on your back. Developing this habit was an important step on my quest to improve the quality of my night’s rest. The simple change in position has made a big difference to how I feel when I wake up in the morning, and it was well worth the effort it took to create the habit for getting a better sleep naturally.
May you be blessed with sweet, restoring sleep every night of your life
My "Help Me Sleep" Pages
If you have difficulty sleeping, you'll want to read all the pages in this series.
How to Get to Sleep More Easily
Do you have trouble falling asleep, tossing and turning while you worry about being too tired to function in the morning? Here are some answers.
Help Me Sleep
Maybe your sleeping difficulties could be eased by trying some of these natural products to supplement your depleted reserves.