Sleep Easy: Advice from an Osteopath


Sleep needs are different for everyone although essential to lead a healthy lifestyle. With good sleep quality there is a positive correlation with improved physical and psychological health as well as allowing the body and brain to rest and reset.

We will consider sleeping positions, ways to relax and general tips in this blog.

Sleeping Positions

Many people who see us ask for advice on the best positon to sleep, the key here is comfort. There are multiple sleep positions and rarely do we stay in one posion all night. The reason its so difficult to advise here is because a lot of movement in the night is sub conscious and we have little control.

Back Sleeping

When lying on the back usually one pillow is plenty to preserve a neutral spinal alignment and to prevent too much flexion or extension through the spine. This again is down to personal preference so if one pillow is uncomfortable try with two or no pillows.

Placing a pillow under the knees can be comfortable to some as well, this prevents too much extension through the lower spine.

Side Sleeping

When patients tell me they sleep on their side, I tend to advise two pillows with enough height to support the head away from the mattress and to avoid too much side flexion through the neck.

Placing a pillow between the knees also aims to maintain a neutral pelvic and lumbar spine alignment.

Front Sleeping

Lying on the front is ergonomically the hardest to make adjustments for. With this position due to the rotation through the neck, trying with no pillows or a very thin one can help to prevent excessive extension through the spine.

Ways to relax before sleep

Turning off electronic devices 30 mins before going to sleep. Electronic devices emit ‘blue light’ which inhibits the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for drowsiness, to promote sleep.

Listening to meditation or gentle music

Using essential oils

Having a warm bath to relax the body and muscles

Deep breathing and relaxation.

Other considerations

Investing in a suitable pillow and mattress is beneficial in the long term, take time to find out your preferences and to test different styles to ensure the firmness is suitable for your needs.

Everyone requires different amounts of sleep in order to feel refreshed, depending on their natural circadian rhythms and lifestyles. Consider the amount of sleep you need in order to maintain a clean sleep routine.