If you’re a back sleeper, count yourself lucky because you’re one of the few who could be benefiting from the advantages sleeping on one’s back provides. However, even when back sleeping is considered an advantageous sleep position, one study revealed that only 37.5 percent of people sleep on their backs.
Sleeping on one’s back isn't all a bed of roses (pun intended), though. So, to ensure you reap the benefits of this sleep position, we’ll talk about ways of optimizing sleeping on your back and the best mattress for back sleepers.
Advantages of back sleeping
Most adult sleepers usually find the fetal position to be the most comfortable, especially for sleep. However, supine or back sleeping can benefit you in some ways, especially if you want to:
Reduce or eliminate neck pain: It can be difficult to keep your neck properly aligned when you sleep on your stomach or on your side. This, of course, leads to neck pain. But with sleeping on your back and proper pillow support, you can maintain a neutral position that’s beneficial to your neck.
Avoid stressing your shoulders: Whether you sleep on your left or right side, side sleeping stresses the side that’s pressed against the mattress. By opting to sleep on your back, you can wake up to pain-free shoulders.
Prevent acid reflux: As long as you keep your stomach lower than your esophagus while sleeping on your back, you can prevent food and acid from going up from your digestive tract.
Reduce strain on internal organs: Sleeping on either side usually stresses certain organs, while sleeping on your stomach adds pressure to the rib cage. Supine sleeping, meanwhile, is known to put less pressure on internal organs.
Disadvantages of back sleeping
Not a lot of people can successfully adjust to back sleeping. However, there are also those who willfully embrace back sleeping even when it might not be right for them.
Consider going back to your favourite sleeping position from supine sleeping if you already have the following conditions:
Sleep apnea: Since sleeping on your back forces your chin forward (especially if you use high pillows), it can lead to breathing obstruction, thereby making sleep apnea worse. If you prefer the supine sleep position, sleep with your chin pointed up.
Lower back pain: Sleeping on your back can lead to your hips sinking and the arching of your lower back, especially with poor mattress support. This can make your lower back pain worse.
Sleep disruption and discomfort: If you find back sleeping uncomfortable, don’t force it as quality sleep is important. Instead, try to combine back with side sleeping to avoid disrupted sleep.
Aside from the above, women who are 20 weeks pregnant, chronic snorers and those with severe cases of sleep apnea should avoid sleeping on their backs.
How to sleep better in a supine position
To experience the benefits of back sleeping, try the following simple tips:
Use a low or medium-height pillow for your head.This helps keep the proper alignment from your neck to your spine. This is also ideal for those with sleep apnea.
Place a pillow underneath your knees. Doing this decreases the pressure on your hips and keeps your lower back slightly curved.
Add extra pillows while you’re switching from another sleeping position. Using additional pillows to support your switch to back sleeping can gently "remind" your body of your goal. For example, if you're switching from sleeping on your stomach to back sleeping, placing a few pillows close to you on both sides can discourage you from rolling over to your stomach during sleep.
By following these tips, you can be a better back sleeper and avoid the downsides of the supine sleep position.
The best mattress for back sleepers
People who like to lie down and sleep on their back must ensure their spine maintains a position similar to when they are standing. To keep your back in its natural alignment, go for a firmer organic latex mattress. Since back sleepers tend to spread out their body weight, it’s important to choose a mattress that moulds itself to the body, offering the best in terms of comfort and support.
Latex mattresses are notoriously durable and can adapt to your body’s natural curvature with just the right level of springiness to allow for a good night’s sleep. With a good-quality natural latex mattress, pain in your upper back and shoulders, the middle back or the lower back can be significantly reduced.
Organic latex rubber also regulates body heat well unlike memory foam, so you can sleep comfortably throughout the night.
Back sleepers usually have an easier time finding the best mattress as a wide range of mattresses is made with back sleepers in mind.
At Nature’s Embrace, we have a range of organic latex mattresses that are perfect for back sleepers like you.