Friday, May 04, 2007

Are you a straight arrow in bed? Bend a little, says ergonomist

The ergonomics of sleep ...

"A sleeping posture favoured by many people may be interfering with a good night's rest, according to a survey that suggests nearly four in 10 Canadians have woken up in pain.

The "arrow" position, or sleeping on your side with the legs straight, was the most popular sleeping posture at 39 per cent, but experts said it may place stress on the spine and pelvis.

People often assume many positions at night, but the arrow is a common starting point, said Kathy Kawaja, a certified ergonomist in Ontario speaking on behalf of the mattress industry's Better Sleep Council.

Sleeping on the side is a plus for the arrow, but the legs are straight and one hand is tucked up underneath the pillow, which is ergonomically undesirable.

The downside of the arrow is that the hips and pelvis are not in a neutral position, which can put some strain on both, as well as the lower back, adding to discomfort, Kawaja said.

Regularly sleeping in poor postures may deform the structure of the backbone and lead to chronic joint and muscle strain, as well as headaches and poor posture.

The tuck or fetal position is preferred for the back, but a pillow between the knees is recommended to help maintain a neutral alignment of the spine.

"The head pillow should actually be angled so that the area between the ear and the mattress is supported," Kawaja told CBC Newsworld on Tuesday."    (Continued via cbc.ca)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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