I have back issues and a lousy mattress and between the two, I am lucky to get a good night’s sleep. You know the kind that you hear about where you wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world? Yeah, well I can’t remember the last time I felt like that. However, I have found something to be true...I HAVE BEEN DOING IT WRONG!
All these years I’ve been sleeping on my side with my legs bent, in the fetal position because “they” say it is the best position for the back. When I would get out of bed, my back was tight and it took a while for things to “warm up” and I could move better. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be, so I started experimenting with sleep position and found a better way.
In my massage practice I have numerous people complain about low back pain and when I ask them how they sleep, they all, with a rare exception tell me they sleep on their side in the fetal position. Some use a pillow between their knees and some don’t.
Now I know what you are saying to yourself, right now…”But that is what the doctor/chiropractor/physical therapist, etc. told me”. Yep, but they could be wrong and let me explain why:
A muscle called the Psoas (so azz) is connected to the top of the femur and the front of the spine, just above the bony plate called the sacrum. It is the muscle that helps you lift your leg if you were marching or dancing the Can Can.
When the muscle is contracted for long periods by sitting, bending or sleeping in the fetal position, it spasms and pulls on the low back causing discomfort. If you think about it, isn’t your back tight after a long drive or when you’ve been sitting too long? Well, the legs are in the same position when you are in the fetal position. If you live a life with stress and tension, as we all tend to do, the tension keeps the muscles taut and leads to tightness and spasm even when asleep.
So tonight when you go to sleep, try sleeping on your side with legs straighter. Use a pillow between your knees if you want and just see how you feel in the morning.
You just might wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day!
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