I love to lift. The feeling of power as you hit that last rep and set a new personal best, only to be frustrated by not being able to now beat your personal best, is a feeling like no other. As someone who lifts, it is critical that I have the best night’s sleep. Any athlete needs to sleep well to get the best out of themselves. If you have poor sleep, you can run the risk of injury.
Bad sleep can put a strain on your neck, shoulders, and back. If your muscles are sore, then they are useless for lifting (or anything else). When I sleep, I need my muscles to recover and become stronger. I need my entire body to recover and become stronger. A great sleep can do wonders, but poor sleep can ruin me for days. So, what is the optimum sleeping position?
On your chest
If there is one position you want to avoid, it is sleeping on your chest. Mattresses and pillows were designed to align your spine and cradle your neck and head. When you are on your front, your head is out of position. When your neck is crooked, then your spine is not aligned, and you are sleeping for hours with your spine in the wrong position. We need our spines for lifting, so I try to avoid sleeping on my chest completely.
Type of mattress
The quality and type of your mattress will contribute to your quality of sleep and your sleeping position. If you are an athlete bad spring mattress will put a lot of pressure on your joints and bones. When this is the case, they become sore and inflamed over time. A bad mattress also causes you to move around more when you are sleeping. If your body is not comfortable, it will shift position. This shift in position means that you are having a more restless sleep, and you are more likely to shift to a bad sleeping position.
Try to find a mattress which is supportive, like a high-quality foam mattress. If you want a new mattress, then topmattress.com has a variety of mattresses listed.
Supine position is sleeping on your back. When you are on your back, your spine is aligned. Make sure that you have a firm mattress over a soft one (even if it takes some getting used to). The mattress should be supportive, letting you stay in the same position for longer.
One thing to be careful about is your pillow. You do not want to have so much padding that your neck is bent upwards. Your head should be in the same position it would be in if you are standing. This will keep the spine aligned.
Sleeping on your side is the optimum position for weightlifters. I try to do it as much as I can, and you should too. Find a pillow which puts your head in the position it would be in if you were standing. Sleeping on your side will keep your spine aligned, lessening the risk of strain and injury.
If you have a knee bent, with a pillow under it, then you will have the optimum position, which will take any stress and strain from your body. When your body is rested, it can begin to repair and grow muscle. When your spine is aligned, it can stay strong for lifting.
When you sleep better, you are happier and more motivated. Sleeping on your side is the best position if you are a lister. It may take a while if you are not used to it, but re-training your body can bring some real benefits.