The Rules of Good Posture: How to Sit, Sleep, and Stand

Living a long healthy life, free from pain, requires maintaining a good posture. Have you assessed your posture lately? Your posture is a subtle indication of your mood, personality, and style. In case you haven’t done it, here’s an activity that can help you re-evaluate your posture.

Re-evaluating your posture

Get someone to take a photograph of you standing from the side, front and back. Now, stand with your head, back, and heel resting against a wall. Make sure your shoulders square and relaxed. Get one set of photographs in this position. Now walk one step forward in this position and have another set of photographs again. This is a fairly crude way of checking your posture. The results of this activity help you think about how one looks whether there needs to be some posture correction. Standing upright makes you look slimmer, confident, and younger. If these things do not help one to change your posture, then we have much work to do.

You may re-evaluate other static postures like sitting and sleeping, similarly, and make the necessary changes. Read on for more information on how to improve your posture.

Tips to maintain a healthy posture while you’re at work

  • Keep your head at the eye level when you are working for long hours
  • Pull the mouse closer and avoid using touchpads
  • Pick the chair that offers support to the lower back
  • Breathe from the belly
  • Take adequate breaks
  • Sit within reach of the monitor (your torso needs to be at an arm’s distance from your PC, and which should ideally be placed atop a table two or three inches above eye level)
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart
  • Do not squint or strain to read
  • Do not crane your phone between your head and shoulder
  • Do not cross your legs while sitting
  • Position your knees 90 degrees above the ankle, this helps keep your spine at an optimum position

Tips to maintain a healthy posture when you are sleeping

Sleeping can become a challenge if back pains are chronic. Make sure you keep the following tips in mind when you get the next nap. 

  • Lay plywood between your mattress and your bed, or lay your mattress on the floor if that is not possible
  • Place a pillow under your knees when you’re sleeping in a supine position and between your knees when your sleeping on your side
  • Get on the bed by supporting yourself with your hands, bending your knees and lying down onto the side
  • While getting off, lay on your side, swing your knees off the bed and sit up with the support of your hands
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco
  • Eat meals at least an hour before bed
  • Consult your physiotherapist for exercises that would help or attempt relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing

Preventing back pain during pregnancy

According to the American Pregnancy Association, 50 to 70 percent of pregnant women experience back pain. Pains in the back can disrupt smooth routine and sleep patterns. 

Factors that contribute to back pain during pregnancy

Hormones secreted during pregnancy can make the ligaments in the pelvic area soft and loosen the joints in preparation for labor. This shift may affect a woman’s:

  • Posture
  • Center of gravity
  • Weight
  • Stress levels

On account of the above factors, poor posture, long hours of standing, or bending over may affect the stress and pressure exerted on the back. 

Tips to mitigate pain during pregnancy are:

  • Consult your healthcare provider for exercises that support and strengthen the back and the abdomen
  • Avoid bending over to lift things. Instead, squat. 
  • Avoid wearing heels and shoes that do not provide grip and cushioning you need to sustain the extra body weight
  • Wear a belt of support around your lower abdomen
  • Place your feet on a pile of pillows when you’re sleeping
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