Athletes tend to think of injuries as isolated events: Going too hard at the gym equals lower back pain, or those extra laps in the pool are to blame for a sore shoulder. But injuries are often the result of accumulated stress placed on the body. One of the biggest contributors to the injury equation is how you are sleeping.
When People think about sleep they generally consider it a passive activity where you lay in bed close your eyes and wake up 8 hours later ready for another day. In reality if you’re in a sub-optimal sleep position such as holding your arm underneath your pillow, draping your leg across your body or hanging it off the edge you are constantly adding stress to your body which could be the tipping point to create an injury or keep you from fully recovering.
Common sub optimal sleeping habits include:
- Positioning the arm under the head holds the shoulder muscles at the extreme end of their range of motion, increasing risk of straining the rotator cuff or impingement in the shoulder.
- Draping one leg over the other twists the pelvis and lower back, stretching the hip muscles for extended periods of time.
- Stomach sleeping, especially on softer beds, can hyperextend the low back, and place extra strain on the spinal nerves.
- Turning your head to the side to breathe is a necessity, but it’s also a hazard, contributing to stiffness and neck pain.
- Pointing you toes or “plantar flexion, can contribute to plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinopathy.
When you move around in your sleep it is your body’s way of trying to find a position where it is comfortable and is a clear indicator that your sleep set up is not optimal. If you want to know more why not some along to one of our Sitting, Sleeping Standing classes which we hold at the clinic every 1st and 3rd Wednesday evening of the month. Also check out our blog on how you can better adjust your pillow height to sleeping on your side here.