Best Sleeping Positions for Runners
Let’s talk sleep.
We all know that we need it and that we should probably get about 8 hours of it a night.
Recently, however, I was talking about sleep with my sports therapist and she suggested that it is possible to sleep WRONG. Now, most people will wake up with a sore neck, feel out of sorts for a few days and move on with life. However, if you are waking up and running with your body out of alignment, it can have deeper ramifications.
A few things to remember:
THE PILLOW: In an ideal (and uncomfortable) world, no one would sleep with a pillow as it leaves the neck in a neutral position. Too many pillows can also make breathing difficult as well. If you are using a pillow, it is best to go with one of those pillows that dip in the middle, which mimic your alignment in the best possible way.
BACK SLEEPING is also considered the best position to sleep in as your entire body is supported and your spine is in proper alignment. Most people have a position that they prefer to sleep in – if this is yours, another thing you can do to support your spine is to sleep with a pillow on the small of your back.
SIDE SLEEPING is considered the next best position. I would put myself in this camp. The problem with this is that sleepers often crush their arms and restrict blood flow (ever wake up with a dead hand? CREEPIEST thing ever). A way to bring yourself into better alignment if you are a side sleeper, place a pillow between your knees. I have tried this and it actually improves the comfort level significantly.
This is considered the worst position to sleep in for anyone, athlete or not. It flattens the natural curve of the spine, which can lead to lower back pain. Sleeping all night with the head turned to one side also strains the neck. The remedy? Try sticking a pillow under the hips and lower torso to give the bottom of the spine a boost.
What position to do you sleep in?