Correctly, you ask? Well, by my definition, and with this being my blog, sleeping correctly means waking up with little to no back pain. This is also based on my experience with my back pain relief.

To those of you who have never experienced early morning stiffness or pain, man, I wish I was you. For me, back pain in the morning before sleeping correctly meant that I couldn’t bend over the sink to wash my face. I would have to be in a half squat bracing myself with my elbows on the sink edge. That is no fun. And for months at a time, that was how my mornings were. That was before March 2006.

Then March 2006 came around and I did something else to my back and ever since then I vowed to do what I could to alleviate that pain. I started stretching and working my back and core to avoid incidents of pain. It was not enough.

Flash forward to the summer of 2006. It was a sweltering few weeks and I went to the basement to sleep. The couch was shit, so I rolled on to the floor and had one of the best all time sleeps. My back felt great and I attributed it to me sleeping on the hard floor and on my side. I did some further research into this and discovered something profound. I realized that I have been sleeping incorrectly for as long as I can recall. I liked the position of sleeping on my side, with my top leg at a 90° and my bottom leg straight. This caused me to twist and it was basically like I was sleeping on my stomach. It was so comfortable. However, it caused my pelvis to twist and cause my back to crunch up. To be clear, with my back ‘crunching’, means that it is in a constant flexed position – like you are doing oblique crunches, but staying in the crunch (see picture of me in my stretching pants).

And once you think about that, the muscles are not relaxed and can cause cramping and pain. I realized this and started thinking back to when I was on the floor. I started sleeping with a pillow between my knees. I also purchased a sleep number bed. Initially, I believed it was the firmness of the mattress that mattered, but it is not as big of a factor. It is the pillow between the knees and being on your side.

Another issue I have had with sleeping on the side is the question of where do I position my shoulders? You must roll your shoulders in and have your arms lie in front of your torso. This is a unique thing to you, but find the right spot where no blood vessels are blocked and you will sleep well.

This new technique and getting more flexible has greatly improved my back issues. If you try this, you will feel better. Trust me; it works.