If you happen to be one of the many Americans dealing with scoliosis, we probably do not have to tell you about the daily difficulties that this condition often causes. At the top of the list would probably be chronic pain.
Twice as many people with scoliosis report continuous pain as non-scoliosis patients, and 73% of people with scoliosis report experiencing back pain in the past year compared to only 28% of people without scoliosis. (CLEAR Scoliosis institute)
As any chronic pain sufferer will tell you, ongoing pain both causes exhaustion and leads to sleepless nights; therefore, people living with scoliosis are in an especially tough position. They are not only more tired than those who do not suffer, but they are also less likely to get a good night's sleep.
Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks available to help those suffering from this condition to get the soundest sleep possible when sleeping with scoliosis.
Scoliosis and Sound Sleep: Some Tips
Move Cautiously Throughout the Day
Moving carefully through your daily routine may not sound like a sleeping tip at the outset, but taking care of your back during the day can set you up for a better night's sleep. The less pain you have when you turn in, the more likely you are to fall asleep quickly; and the wiser you are with your movement during the day, the lower the chances that you will be suffering at the end of the day. So, this is a simple tip, but a very effective one in the long run.
In addition to limiting tedious, head-down static positions such as texting on your phone, you should be careful with your movements throughout the day. While this doesn't mean that you should avoid exercise and activity entirely, it does mean that you should think through your options and choose the ones that best suit your situation. Stretching, non-weighted aerobic activities, cycling, and swimming are good options for people with chronic back pain. (When in doubt, always be sure to check with your doctor and follow the advice of medical professionals.)
Consider Your Sleeping Position
When it comes to the best sleeping position, opinions vary wildly. While doctors won't weigh in on which position is best for everyone, they certainly have no problem agreeing on which one's the worst choice. Of all the options, sleeping on your stomach is the one to avoid the most. This position places a strain on your spine and is quite hard on your neck.
Unless you manage to find a way to breath through the pillow, you have to turn your head to one side when you're sleeping on your stomach. This causes your neck being twisted, putting your spine and head out of alignment—leading to some severe damage. You probably won't notice this damage after only one night, but the problems will unquestionably become evident over time. (Sleep Advisor)
Whether you choose to sleep on your side or your back will depend on your particular body and the effect that scoliosis is currently having on it. Find a position that is the most comfortable, and settle in for a good night's sleep.
In many cases, just finding the "most comfortable" sleeping position is not enough, and many people with scoliosis will attest that they're not capable of getting comfortable without a little external help. In short, most of us need pillows, but we should be careful.
First, everyone who sleeps with a pillow under their head should look for one that's relatively flat. Doing so will keep the neck from curving for long hours during the night.
Second, any extra pillows you use and the positions in which you place may vary depending on whether you sleep on your side or your back. The general recommendation is that side sleepers place a pillow between their legs (at the knee), while back sleepers should put one under their legs (also at the knee).
While regular pillows are often sufficient, some people living with scoliosis have found relief through specialty pillows, such as specially designed neck pillows, body pillows, and memory foam pillows. The best advice we can give is to consult your chiropractor (or doctor) for the best recommendations, and then try your options to see what works for you.
Find the Right Mattress
In one sense, mattress comfort is subjective. Some people prefer a more firm feel, while others tend toward softness. In another sense, personal opinions bear little weight on finding the right mattress for a person with scoliosis.
Again, while opinions will vary, a few general principles remain when sleeping with scoliosis. First, it's important to know that mattresses do have a lifespan and that no matter what bed you choose, you should be sure that it's within its recommended age range.
Research has found that mattresses have a life-span of roughly eight years, but this varies by manufacturer, mattress type, whether you sleep alone or with a partner, and how you sleep. If you're a larger person, your mattress will likely wear out faster than manufacturer guidelines suggest. (Sleep Help Institute)
While you may love your mattress and view it as a dear old friend, your old mattress may be part of the problem. Consider how long you've had your bed (and any history it may have had before you got it) and consider those details.
If the time has come to invest in a new mattress, know that not just any option will do. If you're going to work toward the best possible night of sleep that a person with scoliosis can achieve, you'll want to invest some time and research to know your options and make the best possible choice.
Or you could consult an expert.
That's where we come in.
We Can Help
Here at Nest Bedding, we are fully committed to helping you achieve both the best quality and quantity of sleep, no matter what your physical condition might be.
We're not doctors, and we won't pretend that we can advise you in a medical capacity. We are, however, mattress experts. If you can take the time to stop by one of our showrooms, we'd love to get to know you, hear about your particular needs, and match you with a mattress that's the perfect fit.If you're not able to visit, or if you'd like to do some online research first, please feel free to contact us at any time. We look forward to hearing from you!