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One of the concerns Halifax seniors often report during physio and massage sessions is the inability to get a good night’s sleep due to pain.  It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation is a form of torture; it can be brutal.  Without enough sleep, Halifax seniors can be left more prone to injury/illness.  Additionally, it can negatively impact memory, concentration and mood.

Physical discomfort at bedtime can feel very intrusive because there are no distractions from other activities.  Pain is often worsened for Halifax seniors by the long periods of inactivity that occur overnight.  Despite these truths, overnight comfort can sometimes be optimized and prevent needing to see physio or massage.

In my opinion, body position is possibly the most important factor in optimizing nighttime comfort for Halifax seniors.  Here are some general rules that I typically follow and can provide a good starting point when trying to settle in for a better night’s sleep.

So which positions are physio and massage therapy approved?

On your belly

If at all possible, Halifax seniors should avoid sleeping on the stomach (unless you want an extra visit to physio or massage). When lying on the belly it forces the neck into an extreme rotation to one side or the other.  It can also push the neck into a bit of extension or backwards bend.  This position also places increased stress in the lower back.  For Halifax seniors with stenosis or osteoarthritis in the spine, it can be a very pain-provoking position.

On your back

Lying on the back can be a great position for Halifax seniors’ neck, shoulder, back, hip and knee comfort. For this position to be successful, it is important to have a pillow that can supports the head and neck in a neutral position (not propped up or extending backwards).  The mattress must also be firm enough that the body doesn’t sink down at the hips causing pain in the lower back. Unfortunately, tightness in the hip and chest muscles are common for Halifax seniors and can sometimes cause this position to be uncomfortable for the lower back and/or neck, leading us to book an appointment with physio or massage.

On your side 

Sleeping on the side is, in my opinion, likely the most widely tolerated position for Halifax seniors’ comfort overnight.  It is often the position we recommend in physio or massage. Ideally, you should have a pillow between your knees to preserve the alignment between your spine, hips and knees.  Many physio and massage clients also find it is helpful to have a small pillow in front of their body to “rest” the top arm on when lying on their side.  This reduces the pull through the shoulder, neck and upper back. Sleeping in this position may even save you a trip to physio or massage.

If you are consistently uncomfortable overnight or in the morning when you wake up, it is important to better understand the changes that are happening in your own body to pick the sleep position that is optimal for you. The challenge is that individual injuries and medical conditions mean that what is best for one person isn’t necessarily appropriate for the next.  

Connecting with a member of the Zoomers physio and massage team for an assessment is a great first step to determine which sleep position is likely best for you.  A good night’s sleep is definitely worth the effort to find your optimal sleep position!

Book an assessment with Zoomers

Use our online booking tool to find a time that works for you!