If you suffer from chronic back pain, sleep apnea, or even just have a snoring problem, a knee cushion could be the answer to your prayers! There are so many great benefits to sleeping with a knee wedge cushion.
But if you’ve never heard of it, let alone tried it, it can seem unnecessary from the looks of it. In this guide, we’ll talk about the importance of keeping your spine in the correct posture while you sleep and why a knee cushion is exactly the thing you need to maintain good posture without worrying. We’ll even include some shopping tips to make sure you are picking the right one.
The Importance of Good Posture while You Sleep
You probably know that it’s important to maintain good posture while you stand or sit. This is not only for appearances but for the health of your bone and muscle. When you slouch too much and too often, the muscles that support your spine weaken.
However, it is difficult to maintain good posture constantly because you have so many other things to think about that you can’t exactly spend all your time thinking about whether your posture is correct.
This is even more difficult when you are asleep and not even conscious of your posture, one way or the other. But a bad sleeping posture can cause a host of problems including:
- Chronic back pain. If you’re sleeping in a bad position for a full night, you’ll wake up with a stiff, unhappy spine. This can be lower back pain, upper back pain, neck pain, or even pain the whole way through.
- Your lungs are nearer to your back then to your chest. So if your spine is poorly aligned, it’s going to restrict your lungs and respiratory system will be poorly aligned as well. This can cause snoring.
- It’s true! Bad posture while you sleep can actually cause wrinkles on the skin! Unless you sleep on your back, chances are you spend most of the night with one side of your face or the other mashed up against a pillow. In the long term, this will cause your skin to wrinkle
- Poor sleep. The stress of sleeping in an uncomfortable position and the strain of trying to force yourself to maintain good posture the whole night can be enough to ruin your sleep, leaving you groggy and unrested in the morning.
After reading through that, you are understandably probably a little worried. And worry is yet another culprit that causes a bad night of sleep. So how do you keep your spine happy, get good night’s rest, and minimize wrinkles all at once without worrying yourself into a panic?
The answer is to get a high quality support cushion that does the work for you so you can sleep comfortably with the assurance that the pillow will keep you in the correct posture the whole night through!
Tips for Improving Posture while You Sleep
There is little you can do once you have fallen asleep to keep your posture correct. That’s why using a knee cushion is one of the most common pieces of advice you are going to hear from both your doctor and other professionals.
However, in addition to using a knee support cushion, there are a few other things that you can do to make a difference and improve your sleep while decreasing pain. There are also a variety of ways to use your support cushion to improve your posture and sleep:
- Alternate sides. If you are experience pain in the shoulder, it could be due to the fact that you are always sleeping on the same side. Try changing sides each night. For example, if you always sleep on your left side, sleep on your right tonight and alternate sides each night afterward to maintain a balance.
- Sleep on your back. This is truly the best position for your spine. It keeps it naturally straightened and aligned. However, it doesn’t always feel as comfortable as sleeping on the side or stomach because we have a natural instinct to sleep in a way that protects our torso where all of your organs are, meaning many feel subconsciously vulnerable or exposed while flat on their back. To provide some additional sense of security and comfort as well as further straighten your spine into an optimal position, place your knee wedge cushion under your knees so that they are elevated.
- Avoid stomach sleeping. Some people feel the most comfortable when they sleep on their stomach. Unfortunately, this is the most harmful position for your spine because it draws your spine down into an unnatural curve. If you absolutely can’t fall asleep any other way, place the knee wedge cushion under your stomach/abdomen to help straighten out your spine and decrease the strain on your back.
- Gradually adjust to side sleeping. If you are stomach sleeper, you can use the knee cushion to gradually adjust yourself to the much healthier side sleeping position:
- Before you go to sleep at night, spend 5 or 10 minutes laying on your side with the cushion between your legs. Relax and appreciate the position, secure in the knowledge that you’ll be able to move to your usual position afterward.
- After that time is up, move into your usual stomach position and place the cushion under you as suggested above while you sleep.
- Increase the amount of time you spend on your side before moving to your stomach each night on a weekly basis—i.e.- the first week, spend 5 minutes each night on your side. The next week, 10 minutes. Then 15 minutes and so on.
- Eventually, you’ll become more comfortable in the side sleeping position and you may even find you fall asleep before you have a chance to move over onto your stomach.
- Once you are able to fall asleep on your side, the knee cushion will help make sure your body doesn’t automatically move onto your stomach when you are already asleep.
The Benefits of Using a Knee Cushion for Sleeping
Whether you are suffering from chronic back pain, sleep apnea, or even just difficulty sleeping, a knee cushion can provide a lot of relief. Here are a few of the benefits of using a knee cushion for sleeping:
- Take pressure off the spine. When you sleep on your side, the top leg droops down under the weight of gravity. This pulls your spine into an awkward twisted position. When you sleep on your back, your spine may be mostly straight but on a bad mattress, your lower back will not get enough support. A knee cushion can be placed between your knees when you’re on your side to elevate your upper leg and straighten out your spine. It can be placed beneath your knees to help shape your spine in a way that gives more support to your lower back.
- Take pressure off the knees. Without a knee pillow, the only way to keep your spine somewhat straight while on your side is to keep your knees together. For long periods of time, this becomes uncomfortable and places a lot of pressure on both knees. A pillow places cushion between them and allows you to comfortably keep your upper leg elevated properly.
- Prevent posture change. Once you fall asleep, you have no control over how your body changes position throughout the night. With a knee cushion, your movement will become limited meaning that you will stay in the correct posture through the whole night.
- Improve circulation: the knee cushion keeps your legs and body in the optimal position to allow easy blood flow. Good circulation while you sleep comes with its own set of great benefits like improved sleep, improved immune system, and faster recovery (from illness or workout). This also decreases and prevents varicose veins, swollen ankles, feet or legs and leg fatigue (the feeling that your legs are too tired or weak).
- Decreased stress: with a cushion, you’ll find it much easier to get into a comfortable sleeping position. Without all that tossing and turning at the beginning, you’ll more easily relax and get ready for sleep. You’re also more likely to stay comfortably asleep through the night which means you will be able to actually wake up in the morning feeling rested and rejuvenated. When you wake up feeling good, you have a better outlook on the rest of the day, not to mention the energy you need to accomplish everything you need to do. In this way, simply sleeping with a knee cushion can end up lowering your stress throughout the entire day.
As you can see, there are so many great benefits of sleeping with a knee cushion. But, unfortunately, not all knee cushions are created equal. Simply using any old pillow, for example, will not necessarily work.
It may make some difference but you’re not getting the complete benefits that you need to eliminate back pain and feel better throughout the day. And if you get a low quality knee cushion, it will quickly lose its shape and lose its ability to give you the support you truly need while you sleep.
So to truly enjoy all the benefits we talked about above, it’s extremely important to make sure you are buying something that is of great quality. You want the absolute best if you are going to get the best night sleep in the best posture possible.
But how do you find that perfect knee cushion to provide you the support you are looking for? In the next section, you’ll get some tips for how to find the very best knee support cushion on the market.
Choosing the Best Knee Support Cushion
There are many knee cushions already out there on the market. But many are made of low quality foam or other material that will eventually flatten down and lose its shape. And without that shape, you won’t get the right support. So here are a few tips for shopping:
- Get memory foam: memory foam is the best material you can use to make a knee cushion. It conforms to your unique bone structure while also providing just enough resistance to keep your bone structure in the correct position. It’s the perfect balance of give and take. And it doesn’t get permanently flattened down over time like other materials do.
- Find an ergonomic shape: there are a few different varieties of shapes that are available. We personally recommend a wedge shape. But you should test out a few if possible to see which one feels most comfortable and natural for you.
- Check price: memory foam varieties will definitely not be the cheapest knee cushions on the market but you also don’t need to be taking out a second mortgage on your home just to treat back pain or improve sleep. Be willing to spend a little more for quality but don’t just choose the most expensive thing on the market. Price does not always reflect quality.
With this information in mind, you are ready to take a step in the direction of pain free, deep restorative sleep that will help you feel more energized and ready to take on the day every day. It’s important to get a high quality cushion, however, because the cheaper ones will eventually stop doing their job and then it’s back to waking up with a stiff back and a feeling of grogginess.