A bad sleeping position can lead to back or neck problems so it is important to get it right.
Sleep expert and chartered physio Sammy Margo explains: “I’ve spent years treating people who have damaged themselves sleeping in bad positions, on bad pillows and on bad beds.
"Sleeping on your front is a recipe for neck problems.
"Tummy sleepers are the ones who often end up with neck or back trouble.
“This can be very painful as you get older so, even if you don’t suffer now, correcting your sleep position could safeguard you from pain in future.”
Here, Sammy and other medical experts tell LYNSEY HOPE the best positions to sleep in.
“HIP problems are very common, especially in middle-aged women,” says Sammy.
“The best sleeping position is on your back, as this gives them a rest from the stress of walking and sitting all day.
“But most people who suffer with hip problems prefer to sleep on their sides.
“Placing a pillow between your thighs or under the hips will minimise twisting strain and stack your hips on top of each other, squaring them up.
AROUND 40 per cent of us suffer spinal issues and nearly nine in ten of us will experience back pain.
Keeping the spine in a neutral, naturally curved position when you sleep will help avoid these problems.
Sammy says: “Don’t sleep on your tummy. Try sleeping on your back with a pillow under the knees. This will help to soften both the knees and the back.
“If you’re a side sleeper, draw legs up towards your chest and sleep with a pillow between the knees.”
CHOOSING the right pillows will keep neck pain at bay. “If you have two few, or too many, you neck will bend to the side,” says Sammy.
“You don’t want your neck to kink to the left or the right as that will pinch on the nerves and may lead to shoulder and neck pain.
“Lie on your side if you can with the head straight.
"Don’t lay on your front but if you feel you can’t sleep any other way, place a pillow under the chest to reduce how much you twist in bed.”
KNEE osteoarthritis affects more than 4.7million people in the UK, so lying on your side with your knees knocking together can be uncomfortable.
Sammy says: “The best thing to do is lie on your back with a pillow under the knees. Or sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees.
“You can buy special knee pillows with a Velcro strap that provide cushioning all night.
"They work by gently parting your knees and keeping your legs aligned with your pelvis to minimise discomfort.”
HEADACHES are a common side effect of a bad night’s sleep, but a bad position could make matters worse. A firmer, more supportive pillow might help.
“Headaches are often down to lifestyle", Sammy says.
“But if you have too many or too few pillows, it may be giving you a headache. Ensure your neck is not twisted to one side or tucked into your chest.
“Lots of us make the mistake of doubling up or folding pillows. Keep the neck in the mid-line position.”
YOU may notice sinus pressure symptoms are worse at night.
Dr Cooper says: “When you lie flat on your back, mucus gathers, making it harder for you to breathe.
“This can be extremely uncomfortable when you are battling a cold or an infection.
“Try raising your head up slightly. Propping up your head with an extra pillow should make it easier for you to breathe.”
THOSE who suffer with stress or anxiety often sleep curled up tightly. But this can make the muscles tense.
Psychologist Emma Kenny says: “If you suffer with stress or anxiety, it is crucial to get a good night’s sleep. Try a warm bath with aromatherapy oils before going to bed.
“Sleep on your back and relax your muscles. As you breathe, allow the abdomen to rise. As you breathe out, let it flatten again.
“This slow, rhythmic pattern should help send you to sleep.”
LYING face down has been shown to reduce your blood pressure, according to Dr Carol Cooper.
She says: “Sleeping on your front may not be great for your posture, but a 2004 study carried out in Japan did find that sleeping on your tummy might reduce high blood pressure.”
The blood pressure of men with an average age of 50 fell “significantly” when they flipped over.
Pick of the pillows
HERE are some of the best pillows to plump for;
Dreamtime Orthopaedic V-pillow, £25.99, amazon.co.uk;
Good Life Guide memory bead pillow, £29.99, goodlifeguide.co.uk;
Zeeq Smart Pillow, £149, rem-fit.co.uk;
Orthologics bed wedge, £31.95 at amazon.co.uk;
Putnams knee pillow, £16.95, tesco.com
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