How many pillows do you have in your house? We have four on our couch upstairs, three on our couch downstairs, my oldest daughter has two pillows on her bed, but only uses one, my husband uses two pillows (one goes between his knees, as he is a side sleeper) and I have one pillow that I place between my knees when I sleep on my side.
I know that back sleeping is the best position for the spine while sleeping. However, becoming a back sleeper is not easy. A while ago, I wrote a blog that looked at the spine in different sleeping positions and how they affect our posture, if you want to understand why back sleeping is good for the spine.
I love to do experiments with myself and my kids to see how certain things affect our bodies. A few months ago, I started to see if stretching and foam rolling prior to bed would help me sleep better. Most nights I start out sleeping on my back with my head resting on a hand towel folded in half. (If you want to know why I don’t use a pillow, read “My Case Against Pillows”). Next to my bed rests a pillow in case I roll onto my side. I then place the pillow between my knees to keep my pelvis aligned.
I have noticed that sleeping on my side causes my shoulders to round forward a lot and, many morning,s I wake up with my shoulder hurting, especially the front side of my shoulders from being crushed by sleeping on my side. I have shoulder problems to begin with and my shoulders already round forward a bit, so the last thing I want to have is them round forward more.
So my experiment was this: Either stretch or foam roll my body prior to bed and then see how long I could sleep on my back before I rolled on my side. My husband and I typically got to bed before 10:00 p.m. (This is our time to talk as there isn’t much opportunity during the day with four kids running around). On the nights I stretch or foam roll, I usually do not roll onto my side until 2 or 3 am. On the nights I don’t move or stretch the tissues of my body prior to bed, I last about one to two hours on my back before I need to roll onto my side.
I am finding that a good night’s sleep for me equals stretching and foam rolling my body prior to bed.
I would love for you to try this experiment, too, and see what you find about your body.
If you are wondering what stretches to do and how to foam roll, here are some of my favorite blogs/videos that demonstrate techniques that I do frequently. (While it would be awesome to make my own videos, the reality is, I have four small children, I’m a stay at home mom and I work full time from home. If I waited to make these videos for you, I would never be able to post a single blog. This year I’m trying to use my time wisely. So, that means taking the amazing work that others have done and use it to my advantage). Enjoy and let me know what you find out about your body and sleep patterns.