Do you ever just wake up and feel blah? Sure. We all have. Moreover, do you feel all tight and wound together when you wake up? I know I have. Over the past few years, I've found different techniques to combat these aches and feel better.
From a physical perspective, perhaps none better than stretching. Which comes in the form of traditional static stretching, aka standing in one place and reaching as far as you can, or yoga, a more detail-oriented approach of stretching involving variations of breathing techniques and poses. Yet, as we examine why we feel so stiff, we must look past recovery processes like stretching and challenge ourselves to focus on preventative measures such as our sleeping position.
Neck and Back stiffness
Much of the tightness and stiffness we feel daily is due to the way we sleep. Our sleeping position has tremendous effects on the way we feel physically and mentally. For example, do you experience neck pain? Check out this article.
Unfortunately for me, I've always been a stomach sleeper. Not to mention, I crank my neck to the side when I sleep. Throughout the years, research conducted shows this is probably the worst position in which you could sleep. It's the worst for unobstructed breathing. Not to mention, it's caused me a tremendous amount of pain.
My neck and upper back agree.
This research details the pros and cons of supine versus prone sleep positioning, meaning sleeping on your back, side, or stomach. As of late, I've been trying to change my sleeping position to lie on my back.
For years, I've watched my Dad go to sleep on his back effortlessly. At times my Mom has, too. Yet, for whatever reason, I simply couldn't. If I am tired enough, it doesn't matter what position I am sleeping in; I will fall asleep. But if I have the requisite amount of sleep, it's very tough to fall asleep on my back. I try, try, and try again, to no avail. Eventually, I end up giving in, turn on my back, and crank my neck like it's nobody's business. It's what I've always done since I was a little boy.
Throughout my years of living, I have become more self-aware. More self-aware of my body and the pain I experience. Or maybe I am just getting older. Either way, I notice and feel target areas of pain now that I didn't ten years ago. Most of my tightness, stiffness, and pain comes from my neck and upper back. I know a massive factor behind my suffering is postural, which I am also working on. However, the main culprit, I believe, is my sleeping position. It makes sense. When you recognize how much of our time is used purely to sleep, you get a sense of this.
“We spend ⅓ of everyday sleeping. That's 33% of our lives.”
It means one of the most crucial aspects of good health throughout our lives is sleep. Adjusting my sleeping position is one of the hardest, most rewarding things I've ever done. As we dive further into the mechanics of our sleep, it's not just about the importance of getting eight hours every night or achieving REM sleep that matters, but what position we lie in that best serves us throughout the time we are awake.