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Is sleeping making you worse? Part III (Shoulders)

Sleeping. Part 3 of how sleeping makes you stiff in certain ways. This week, I will discuss how the shoulders are affected based on your sleeping position.

First, for those that are stomach-sleepers, your arms are probably up towards your head/pillows. In addition, your neck is twisted towards one direction so you can breathe. What this position does to your shoulders is, it activates your deltoids (raise your arm up and touch your shoulder, that’s the muscle). In addition, you put weight into those muscles by placing your head on top of it. So it makes your deltoids tighten up and you will wake up sore in the shoulders.

Side sleepers. Pay attention to the bottom arm.

Secondly, for those that are side sleepers. The key thing is where to place the arms, especially the bottom one. You either have it outstretched or right underneath the head. Let’s start with the arm outstretched position. When you sleep like this, what happens is you press onto the shoulder and neck so much that the upper trap and nerve gets compressed. You wake up aching in the neck and shoulder area on the bottom arm side.

The arm underneath position is similar, but has less weight added. Now the difference will be, is the arm underneath the head or do you place the bottom arm underneath the pillow? Depending on your answer, your shoulder will be less tight. The better choice is placing the bottom arm underneath the pillow, so it acts as a buffer. You don’t realize how much the head weighs (not saying you have a big head, but the brain weighs a lot). They say the head weighs about 8% of the body. Placing the bottom arm right underneath the shoulder creates a angle that activates your shoulder muscles.

Lastly, are the back sleepers. Your shoulders are more relaxed in this position compared to the stomach and side sleeping. The positioning of the arms would be key in how to relax your shoulders. If you have your arms away from the body, your shoulders activate. So keeping them closer, would help them relax.

In conclusion, we all sleep in different positions. If you wake up and your shoulders are stiff, take a look at HOW YOU ARE SLEEPING. It can be as simple as changing the angle to make you feel BETTER. However, it takes time to adjust. I used to sleep on my side all the time, but learned how to on my back. Let’s make sure the body is being rested during your sleep because it can affect how you exercise. Hope you enjoyed this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next Wed………………..Kei

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