Can chronic pain cause sleep problems? Yes! Can you do something about that? Yes! According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health) about 80% of the adult US population experiences either acute or chronic back pain. Chronic pain, including back pain, neck pain, and leg pain is a common issue and as such it surely disrupts sleep. There are numerous reasons for different pains and aches, but one thing is sure, the way you sleep, counts. Just as sleeping in a not-so-comfortable position might trigger pain, sleeping in a good position might ease any ache symptoms.
It can be tough to find the most comfortable sleep position, but since sleep is essential to your health, it is worth trying all of the tools available. Surprisingly, there are some pretty good and easy-to-follow hacks and techniques that can alleviate the pain symptoms. We are talking about orthopedic pillows and yoga stretches!
The game changers that will get you back your sleep: Orthopedic pillows
With orthopedic pillows, you can target a specific area of your body where you experience pain or provide support for the whole body. Different kinds of orthopedic pillows might be suitable for you, depending on your body type and specifications. Thus, if you would like to know what is the best orthopedic pillow, we should rather say “It depends!” The purpose of any pillow is simple, however, to keep your head, neck, and core aligned during sleep. In that way, it will alleviate the pain you might be experiencing in your joints and muscles. The key to better sleep with no back pain, neck pain, or leg pain would be finding the perfect orthopedic pillow to keep your body aligned with no pressure points.
Orthopedic pillows for side sleepers
Did you know that most of us sleep on our sides? Almost 70% of the adult population! The latest research shows that sleeping on your side can offer many benefits but only if your body is perfectly aligned and your spine is straight in its natural position. When done correctly, sleeping on your side can actually reduce joint aches and chronic back pain. Side sleeping can help to reduce snoring and it can also improve your gut health. It’s the best position for sinus problems. Depending on your mattress and body type, however, you might want to use different kinds of supportive orthopedic pillows.
Head & neck orthopedic pillows for side sleepers
Scientists say that medium-firm to firm pillows are better for proper body alignment since they better hold up their shape and provide better support.
The traditional ergonomic pillow is extremely versatile and can be used by side sleepers with broader or narrower shoulders. According to therapeutic specialists, the most comfortable pillow thickness is 4” (10 cm). That comfort thickness can vary from person to person depending on the body structure. With its 2 thickness options, the ergonomic pillow is suitable for both people with broader or narrower shoulders.
A regular mid-firm to a firm adjustable wool pillow might also help you get the necessary head, neck, and body alignment. The option of adjustment is the greatest benefit of our regular wool pillows. You can just unzip it and adjust the thickness, and the firmness following your preferences.
Sometimes, however, you would need, a more specific shape to stay in the ultimate sleep position. That is where our curved pillow for side sleepers comes in. The shape is designed to perfectly accommodate side sleepers. It is cut out precisely to follow the contours of your neck, head, and shoulders.
Side sleepers with broader shoulders might require even additional support and the rectangular pillow will help them align their body in a neutral position for better sleep with no pressure points, easing aches, supporting the head and the neck.
Some people tend to sleep on both their sides and back. A well-designed hybrid pillow can accommodate the more complex sleepers and give their body the much-needed versatility and space for their movement patterns.
The rectangular depression at the center offers the perfect loft for back sleepers and reduces the tension in the neck. The sides of the pillow are thicker and offer greater elevation which is needed for the side sleepers.
Legs & knees orthopedic pillows for side sleepers
If you are a side sleeper, chances are at some point you will need further support of the knees and legs.
As versatile as they can get, bolster pillows can help you achieve the optimal body position. Placing them between your knees or hips and drawing your knees towards your chest might get the job done and help you sleep better with no pain.
Specifically designed to support the knees, our T-shaped leg pillow is the perfect size and shape for that and manages to expel pressure, aches, pains, and discomfort in the leg and knees area during sleep.
Core pillow for side sleepers
A body pillow would be the perfect solution if you are a side sleeper and need support for the whole body for a more comfortable sleep. The bonus is that body pillows are perfect for hugging. How cozy is that?
Orthopedic pillows for back sleepers
Back sleeping was once considered the healthiest position and still many people prefer to sleep on their backs. More and more women do so in pursuit of slowing down the aging process. Sleeping on your back is the best position for prolonging your youthful look. Back sleeping is free anti-wrinkles therapy for face, neck, and decolletage, but it might be difficult for you, especially if you used to be a side sleeper. Orthopedic pillows designed specifically for back sleepers will help you do that easily and will relieve discomfort, pressure, and pain at the same time, giving you the restful sleep you want and deserve.
Head & neck pillows for back sleepers
To fully support the neck loop go for a pillow that follows the natural curves. A neck bolster pillow might help you achieve the ultimate back sleeper position, aligning the whole body and relieving any aches or pressure. A neck bolster pillow is often the magic tool you need to alleviate chronic neck pain and get a good night’s sleep.
Having a pillow with a lowering in the center will help with the support of your spine while sleeping on your back. The medium thickness of the pillow’s center will gently cradle the curvature of your spine and ease any aches or discomfort. The thicker periphery will help with the absorption of your head’s weight.
Legs & knees pillows for back sleepers
A pillow underneath your knees might be all you need to get a good night’s sleep if you are a back sleeper. It will also help you reduce night leg cramps. The half-bolster pillow design helps to alleviate pain and discomfort in the hips and knees area.
Pillows for stomach sleepers
Experts advise avoiding sleeping on your stomach. One of the reasons is that it puts a lot of strain and pressure on your back. If that is your only option, however, you might want to get a thin pillow to put under the stomach to take some of that pressure off.
Firm and thick head pillows might not be the perfect solution for you if you are a stomach sleeper. For better spine alignment you will need a thin pillow. Did you know you can get a custom wool pillow if you need one? Request yours here.
Yoga stretches before going to bed will help you sleep better despite chronic pain
Stretching is often overlooked, but it can help you sleep better and alleviate aches and pains. It helps to remove muscle tension and can prevent unpleasant leg cramps at night. The stretching should be gentle, however. No pressure. Remember that working out just before going to bed can disrupt sleep. So just get your yoga mat and do the following really gentle stretches.
Breathing during these following yoga stretches is extremely important. Make sure to research every pose or take a few yoga classes before starting to practice them individually at home.
Neck stretches relieve tension in your neck and shoulders
Bring your right ear towards your right shoulder. Hold it for five breaths and repeat on the opposite side. Then drop your chin down to your chest, holding it there for five breaths, return to a neutral position, and let your head gently fall back. Keep it that way for five breaths.
The hug stretch is beneficial for shoulder blade discomfort or pain, caused by poor posture
Stand up and open your arms out while inhaling. Exhale as you cross them, as pictured below. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and then release slowly, opening your arms.
The kneeling stretch helps loosening up and alleviating aches in the back and shoulder muscles
Kneel in front of a chair or a side table. Lengthen your spine as you hinge at the hips to fold forward, resting your forearms on the surface of the chair. Hold this for 30 seconds and repeat up to 3 times.
The seated forward bend stretch helps to loosen up your spine and shoulders and stretches your lower back
Sit down on your yoga mat and extend your legs. Hinge at your hips to fold forward, reaching out your arms in front of you. Relax your head and tuck your chin into your chest. Hold it for up to 5 minutes.
The legs-up-the-wall pose promotes relaxation while reducing tension in your back, shoulders, and neck
Lie on your back as you swing your legs up against a wall. Your legs could be away from the wall as well if that is comfortable for you. Remain in this position for up to 10 minutes.
The reclining bound angle pose will ease any pressure in your hips and groin
Sit down on your yoga mat and bring the sole of your feet together. Slowly lay down, bringing your back, neck, and head to the floor. Open the knees and relax your hips to the sides. Hold for up to 10 minutes.
Unfortunately, there is not a universal trick that can help everybody alleviate pain and start sleeping like an angel, but a combination of a few might really be the magic we need. So yes, the right orthopedic pillow, based on your body type and sleeping position, together with some gentle yoga stretches will surely help you get a good night’s sleep despite the chronic pain in the joints and muscles you might be experiencing. A group of researchers has studied the effects of ergonomic pillows on chronic neck pain and concluded that ergonomic pillows can improve alleviation of pain and sleeping quality compared to ordinary pillows. We’ve combined the power of ergonomic shapes and the power of wool to create a collection of wool ergonomic pillows for better sleep.
Don’t forget, however, that the basis for a good night’s sleep is the mattress you lay on. And mattresses are not created even in terms of benefits and body support. According to specialists the best mattress firmness for people experiencing pain during sleep is the mid-firm level. According to your body type, however, you might need different firmness. As long as the mattress keeps your spine straight and aligned while you sleep, you will be fine.