Sleeping With Arm Under Pillow
Your sleep setup, including your sleeping position, the pillow you use, and the mattress you sleep on, can affect your comfort and lead to your sleep either being great or terrible. When these elements are not supportive, they can cause pain in your muscles and joints and make it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. [3,4]
As a general rule, when you sleep with your arm under your pillow, it helps keep your spine in a neutral position and reduces aches and pains in your muscles and joints. This is because it helps to hold your arm in place and take some of the weight off of it which can reduce discomfort.
Want to sleep like a pro? As an ergonomic advisor and chiropractor, I have some scientifically-backed tips and a key warning to help you sleep better with a pillow between your arms. Let’s talk about how to get a good night’s rest!
What are the Benefits?
Sleeping with a pillow between your arms has many benefits from a chiropractic and musculoskeletal point of view.
First and foremost, this position helps to reduce tension in the shoulders and neck, which can be caused by stress or even by simply sleeping in the wrong position. This pose also helps to maintain proper spinal alignment while sleeping, which can minimize the risk of developing back pain later on.
Additionally, when you sleep with a pillow between your arms, it reduces the amount of muscle tension throughout your body; this is especially beneficial for those who suffer from muscle aches and stiffness due to old injuries or medical conditions. Furthermore, having a pillow between your arms promotes better circulation throughout your body since it prevents any pressure points from forming.
Finally, sleeping with a pillow between your arms can result in more restful sleep as well since it alleviates any discomfort associated with improper posture during the night. Overall, using a pillow between your arms is an excellent way to reduce tension and promote proper spine alignment while getting quality rest.
Is using a pillow between your arms suitable for all sleeping positions?
As a chiropractor, I would not recommend using a pillow between your arms for all sleeping positions. While it can be beneficial for certain positions, such as sleeping on your back or side, it can be problematic for others.
|Sleeping Position||Compatibility with using a pillow between arms|
|Back||Compatible, can help keep distribute the weight of your arms|
|Stomach||Not recommended, can cause strain on the neck and spine|
|Side||Compatible, can help keep the spine aligned and prevent shoulder pain|
It’s important to note that the use of a pillow between your arms is a personal preference and may not be suitable for everyone. It’s important to find a comfortable position that works for you and that you are able to maintain through the night. If you have any pain or discomfort, it’s best to consult with a chiropractor or healthcare professional to find a sleeping position that is appropriate for you.
Why You Should Avoid Stomach Sleeping
From a chiropractic perspective, sleeping on your stomach with a pillow between your arms can cause problems for the neck and spine. When you sleep on your stomach, your head is typically turned to one side which can cause strain on the cervical spine, or neck. Additionally, the pillow between your arms can push your chest forward and arch your lower back, which can place strain on your lumbar spine, or lower back.
Also, sleeping on your stomach tends to flatten the natural curvature of the spine, this can cause pressure on the nerves and muscles which may lead to pain, stiffness or tingling.
Moreover, using a pillow between your arms when sleeping on your stomach can also restrict your breathing and cause difficulty breathing, it may also make you wake up feeling more tired, which can impede the overall quality of your sleep.
For these reasons, as a chiropractor, I would not recommend sleeping on your stomach with a pillow between your arms. Instead, I suggest sleeping on your back or side, which can help keep the spine aligned and prevent strain on the neck and lower back. It’s best to find a comfortable position that works for you and that you are able to maintain through the night, and if you have any pain or discomfort.
What Type of Pillow is Best?
When choosing a pillow for between your arms, it’s important to select one of the right size and firmness. A pillow that is too big or too small can cause shoulder discomfort and put your spine in an unnatural position. It should be neither too soft nor too firm; aim for something in the medium-firm range to ensure proper spinal alignment while sleeping.
Natural latex foam is the best option in my opinion as it offers superior support and responsiveness, both of which help reduce pressure points. The responsiveness means it provides pressure relief at first but provides more support as additional pressure is applied which helps relieve strain on your head, neck and shoulder muscles without being overly rigid or uncomfortable.
Additionally, latex foam is breathable so heat will not get trapped as it does with other materials such as memory foam. When used properly, latex pillows are highly effective at providing comfort and support throughout the night.
From a chiropractic perspective, here are some potential drawbacks or downsides to using a pillow between your arms:
- It may not be comfortable for everyone, as it’s a matter of personal preference
- It may not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions or injuries, such as back problems or chronic pain, and consulting a chiropractor or healthcare professional is recommended.
- If the pillow is not the right size, shape or firmness, it may not provide enough support and could even create more tension in your neck and shoulders.
- Using a pillow between the arms may not be suitable for stomach sleepers as it increases the pressure points on the shoulders and neck, instead, it’s recommended to sleep with a pillow under your stomach.
- You may lose grip of the pillow during the night, or if the user rolls from side to side.
- It can increase the heat and humidity on the shoulders, making the user feel uncomfortable.
How can I ensure that my spine is properly aligned while using a pillow between my arms?
Proper spinal alignment is essential for maintaining a healthy back and preventing pain or discomfort. To ensure that your spine is properly aligned while using a pillow between your arms, there are a few things you can do:
Check your alignment visually
You can ask a partner or other person to look at your alignment from behind while you are lying down. This will allow them to check that your head, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line and that your spine is not excessively curved in any direction.
Feel for spinal alignment
You can also check your alignment by feeling for it yourself. This can be done by placing your hand on your lower back while lying down. The small of your back should be in contact with the bed, and your lower back should not be arched or excessively curved.
Use a medium-firm pillow
It’s important to choose a pillow that is supportive enough to keep your spine in a neutral alignment, but not so firm that it causes discomfort. A medium-firm pillow is typically recommended for spinal alignment.
Use a pillow of the appropriate size and shape
Make sure that the pillow is big enough to provide support for your arms, but not so big that it pushes your shoulders forward. A body pillow can be very comfortable for many people because it fits comfortably between your arm and allows for good spinal alignment.
Make adjustments throughout the night
Keep in mind that it’s normal to adjust your sleeping position throughout the night, it’s important to adjust your pillow as needed to ensure that your spine remains in proper alignment.