Updated: Feb 26, 2020
Question: I have been having a difficult time sleeping lately and I frequently wake up sore and achy. Sometimes my neck is sore, but sometimes my lower back bothers me too. I never felt anything like this until a few months ago and it has been getting increasingly worse as time goes on. I do not know whether I need a new mattress or maybe I am sleeping wrong. Do you have any suggestions for me? – Martha C., Cape Coral, Florida
Answer: What is the best way to sleep? Well ideally if you had a hole cut out for your face you could lay on your stomach pretty comfortably and your spine would be happy. Unfortunately, most people do not have beds like that.
So what is the most spine- friendly posture when sleeping? As far as pillows go, the whole goal is to keep your head in a neutral posture, lined up with the rest of your body whether laying on your side or on your back. If the pillow is too thick than it is going to jack your head up, resulting in one side of your neck muscles being stretched and the muscles on the other side being slack, creating an imbalance that you will feel over time. If the pillow is too thin then the reverse will happen, with the muscles being slack on the pillow side and stretched tight on the opposing side, again creating an imbalance…so find a pillow that is just right for YOU, Goldilocks!