Having trouble sleeping with scoliosis? Not sure how to sleep with scoliosis? The tips mentioned in the article have helped thousands of people with scoliosis sleep peacefully again. You can be the next one!
A spinal abnormality condition like scoliosis does not show major symptoms in many cases. You probably won’t even know that you have been suffering from this condition for years. In the USA, around six to nine million people have scoliosis.
One of the major things that scoliosis can affect is your sleep. People having scoliosis often complain about discomfort while sleeping as they fail to find the proper sleeping position, and sleep is not something you want to compromise.
If you make certain changes in your sleeping habits, you make things way more comfortable. This article will cover some basic tips to make you sleep peacefully but before that, let’s briefly understand what scoliosis is.
What Is Scoliosis?
The sideways curvature of your spine is known as scoliosis. It usually occurs during the growth spurt in adolescents. Scoliosis can be found in people with already existing conditions like muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy.
The spine forms an S or C shape instead of being straight. In most cases, scoliosis is not painful, but it could cause mobility issues or pain in adults if not treated on time.
Scoliosis is sometimes also classified as a symptom of an underlying condition where the nervous system does not coordinate with the spine. It’s pretty much impossible to control the development of scoliosis because it’s in your genes.
Now that we have a fair idea of scoliosis, let’s see the important factors that can make your sleep more comfortable.
#1 Sleeping Position
Adjusting your sleeping position is the first and most important step you can take to help you snooze in peace. Depending on your personal preference and the severity of your scoliosis, you might have different suitable sleeping positions.
You need to remember that your sleeping position won’t improve your scoliosis, but it greatly affects your comfort. Let’s see how different sleeping positions affect your sleeping position.
On Your Back
Most scoliosis patients prefer to sleep in their back and claim it to be the most comfortable sleeping position. Sleeping flat on your back creates a neutral position and therefore causes no unnecessary strain.
Still, make sure not to create too much pressure on your lower back. To counter this problem, you can place some rolled-up towels or pillows at the base of the spine and/or under your shoulder blades.
Always keep in mind that the pillow should not be too low or high. If the pillow is too high or too low, you will get propped up or sink into the mattress. The idea is to keep your spine relatively flat and parallel to the bed.
On Your Stomach (Avoid It)
Let alone people with scoliosis sleeping on your stomach can cause problems even for people with healthy spines. Therefore in case you have scoliosis, it is recommended to avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as possible (unless your physician has advised it).
Besides causing your neck and head to turn at abnormal angles, it also causes the spine to bend out of alignment.
For people with healthy spines, if you are adamant about sleeping on your stomach, it will be better to place a pillow under your pelvis to align the spine better and prevent arching.
On Your Sides
Sleeping on your sides is not as bad as sleeping on your stomach and not as comfortable as sleeping on your back. In some cases sleeping on your side is considered really healthy.
But in case you have a more noticeable curve on one side, consider sleeping on the opposite side. For instance, if the most significant curve on the spine is on the left side of your body, then sleep on the right side, and vice versa.
#2 Buy A High-Quality Mattress
I personally always emphasize buying a high-quality mattress even if you have a healthy spine, and in case you have a spine deformity like scoliosis, it becomes a necessity.
If you have a healthy spine, it’s okay to get tempted to buy cushy and soft mattresses.
But for people with scoliosis, it is a better option to buy a medium or a medium-firm mattress. These types of mattresses let your spine stay well-supported in a neutral position. If you want to find a new mattress for your scoliosis, try to look for ones that come with a sleep trial.
You can even consider buying a new bed with better support, but If you don’t want to invest money in a new bed, you can still buy a mattress topper.
Once a bed gets a bit old, it starts to sag and does not provide enough support for your back. A mattress topper will offer some extra lift to the bed, which will help with your spinal alignment. It can also extend the mattress life by a couple of years.
#3 Supporting Pillows
Pillows can prove to be your best friends if you use them right. The pillow on your head needs to be somewhat low-profile, but you must consider your sleep position when buying pillows.
Keeping your spine in the correct alignment is not easy with scoliosis, but pillows are great to take care of the spine alignment and help you stay the whole night and have a night of uninterrupted sleep.
Make sure you don’t pile up pillows and make a mountain of them as it will deteriorate the back and neck alignment, which is not good for your spine at all.
You can keep pillows between your knees to help prevent twisting for side sleepers, and your spine stays neutral. Usually, side sleepers have dense pillows, but back and stomach sleepers generally require a cushion having a smaller profile.
Many people with scoliosis are also found to be experiencing insensitivity in the shoulder areas. Therefore it is very convenient to find a pillow that is pretty easy to squish and adjust at the perfect angle according to your comfort; memory foam pillows are usually the go-to option for these purposes.
#4 Additional Sleeping Aid
As I mentioned previously, using pillows the right way is great to make you comfortable while you sleep. Besides pillows, you can also use wedges and towels as sleeping aids. They can facilitate your sleep a lot.
Note: Always remember to consult your doctor to ensure the sleeping sides are used correctly without causing extra harm to the spine by putting them at the wrong angles. Less knowledge will only make things more challenging for you.
Sleep aids are the perfect way to fill the gaps formed between the mattress and your body. For instance, while sleeping on your back, there are high chances that a gap remains in the lower back, causing excess strain on your spine.
For this situation, roll a towel and place it at the lower part of your back. Keep experimenting with various thicknesses and heights before you find the perfect spot.
You can also take some type of medications to make you sleep easily, but I would recommend you to ask your doctor before taking any kind of medications.
You might like to read: How Tall Would I Be Without Scoliosis
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I sleep with scoliosis at night?
There are many options to help you ease your pain and sleep peacefully with scoliosis at night; you would only have to make some tweaks in your sleeping habits.
Sleeping at your back is the first thing you should try as it is pretty much the easiest one and also quite effective. Besides, investing in a high-quality medium-firm mattress will be the best decision you can make for yourself if you use pillows and towels as sleeping aids that will make things even more comfortable.
What can worsen scoliosis?
Frequently stretching your thoracic spine during gymnastics, backbends, dance maneuvers, high jumps, and some yoga positions will worsen your scoliosis as it will make your vertebrae rotate more into the hollow of the scoliosis curve. Some more things you should avoid are:
- Competitive swimming
- Playing football
- Sleeping on stomach
- Carrying heavy things
- Running long distances on hard surfaces
What sleep position is best for scoliosis?
Sleeping flat on the back is the best possible sleeping position if you have scoliosis, as it keeps your spine in its neutral position and ensures that you don’t harm your spine further.
Does scoliosis make you skinny?
Various factors like your age, treatment method, and overall health can affect your daily life and eventually your weight, but scoliosis does not directly affect your body weight in any way.
Scoliosis is a kind of condition that should be treated as quickly as possible; otherwise, it can worsen over time. Most of the time, it won’t cause much harm, but it causes many issues in some cases, and sleeping problems are one of them.
I hope the tips covered in this article help you sleep more peacefully and also do not deteriorate your condition further.