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うつぶせ寝健康法を正しく行う4つの注意点

うつぶせ寝の犬

うつぶせ寝健康法をご存知でしょうか?看護や介護の現場からはじめられたうつぶせ寝は、もともと仰向けで寝たきりの方の床ずれ対策から始まりました。

100歳を超えて、今も現役で医師として活動する聖路加国際病院名誉院長の日野原重明先生もこのうつぶせ寝健康法を実践されています。

当然のように昔から仰向けで寝るような習慣で過ごしている人が多いことでしょう。しかし、仰向けで寝た方が身体に良いという科学的根拠はありません。小さな子供はうつぶせ寝をすることも多く、また自然にうつぶせ寝になっていることもありますよね。

現代では睡眠時無呼吸症候群などの睡眠障害に悩む人も増え、またウツなどの症状によって一日の多くの時間を横になっている人も増えています。

すっきり眠りたいと思う皆さんは、寝るときの姿勢について一度見直してみませんか?うつぶせ寝健康法の効果や、うつぶせ寝を行う時の注意点などをご紹介しましょう。

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うつぶせ寝健康法の効果

うつぶせ寝の男

仰向けで寝ていたのに、起きたらうつぶせ寝になっていた、という経験はないでしょうか?特に疲れているとうつぶせ寝や丸まって寝る方が楽に感じることがあると思います。また、子供は自分で寝返りを打てるようになると、うつぶせ寝を好むようです。

というのも、うつぶせ寝の場合、気道がしっかり確保され呼吸がしやすくなります。仰向けの場合、重力によって舌が気道の方へ沈みますが、うつぶせ寝健康法であれば舌での圧迫が減り、気道が確保されます。

いびきや睡眠時無呼吸症候群で悩んでいる人にとっては、うつぶせ寝は最適です。気道の確保によって呼吸がスムーズになり、深い眠りにつきやすくなります。

また、腰痛がある人にとってもうつぶせ寝は有効と言われています。仰向けで寝ると、当然背中が下になりますが、それだけ背骨やその周囲にある太い血管や神経が体重によって圧迫されています。しかし、背中全体への負荷がかかりにくいうつぶせ寝によって腰痛が緩和されたという人も多いようです。

うつぶせ寝健康法を推奨する日野原先生は、動物の中で仰向けで寝るのは人間だけだとおっしゃっています。確かに4つ足の動物は、どれもお腹を地面につけて横たわっています。お腹を相手に見せるのは服従をした時だけで、本来リラックスするときにはお腹が下になっています。元来、動物である私たち人間の体の作りも、うつぶせ寝が適しているともいえるのです。

整体的な観点からも、貧血や呼吸器が弱っている人はうつぶせ寝になりやすいと言われています。身体は自分自身の生命を守るために、自然に必要な動きを取り入れています。寝ている間に知らないうちにうつぶせ寝になっている人は、身体が必要を感じて動かしているとも考えられるのです。

うつぶせ寝健康法の効果は、気道の確保や腰痛の緩和だけでなく、口が下を向いていることで痰が出やすく誤嚥のリスクを下げるとされています。また、内臓への適度な圧迫によって胃腸の改善なども言われています。

うつぶせ寝健康法の注意点

うつぶせ寝健康法は誰でも簡単にできますが、できるだけ正しいやり方で行うことをお勧めします。

知らないうちにうつぶせ寝になっていたという人も多いかもしれませんが、せっかくですから正しい方法を知り、うつぶせ寝を日常の健康法として取り入れてみましょう。

うつぶせ寝健康法:正しい体位

うつぶせ寝健康法は、ただうつぶせで寝るのではなく、呼吸をスムーズで心地よい状態にします。

うつぶせ寝になり、顔は左右のどちらかに向けます。顔の向きは楽な方を選びます。次に首を向けた方の手と足を上げて肘と肘を曲げます。

また、完全なうつぶせ寝ではなく、抱き枕などを利用して半うつぶせ寝になっても心地よい眠りの体勢です。妊婦に最適と言われる「シムスの体位」をとり、横向きねから軽く体を倒して半分うつぶせになります。その際に上になっている手や足を上げ、その下に枕やクッションを置くことで負担なく手足を沈ませます。

こうすることで、気道が確保されスムーズに呼吸ができ、また背中の圧迫がないため血流が改善されるとされています。

うつぶせ寝健康法:枕の選び方、使い方

うつぶせ寝健康法を気持ちよく続けるためには、枕の選び方が大切です。

顔の下に使う枕は、できるだけ柔らかいもので、大きなものを使いましょう。高さがあるものはお勧めできません。首が辛くなるようであれば枕はなくても構いません。その場合でも、バスタオルなどを敷くことによって、顔の擦れなどを防ぐことをお勧めします。

半うつぶせ寝の場合、抱き枕のような体用のクッションなどを使うとより気持ちよく眠れます。腰痛がある方で、うつぶせ寝によって腰が圧迫されると感じる場合は、お腹の下にやわらかい枕を入れることで、腰が楽になります。

また、うつぶせ寝によって胸に圧迫が感じるようであれば、これも胸の下に柔らかい枕かクッションを使うとよいでしょう。

うつぶせ寝健康法:首の負担を減らす

うつぶせ寝健康法で一番気になるのは、首への負担です。動物は常にお腹を下にしてうつぶせ寝の状態でリラックスしていますが、同じ動物である人間は2足歩行になり首の位置が異なっています。うつぶせ寝健康法を行う場合、どうしてもどちらか左右に首を傾けることになります。

この時に、いつも同じ方向を向いていると、余計に肩こりが起きたり、首が疲れたりするようです。寝るときに時々首の向きを変えることで負担が減ってきます。また、首が向いている方の手を上げ肘を90度に曲げることで首が楽になります。

他にも、首の負担を減らすために、真下を向いて寝られるように、円座型の枕を使う方法もあります。ただし、エンザ型の場合は呼吸がこもりやすいため、完全な円形ではなく一部が開いている形のものを選びましょう。

首の疲れが気になる場合は、抱き枕などを使って半うつぶせ寝での健康法を行うことをお勧めします。

うつぶせ寝健康法:うつぶせ寝を控えるべきタイプ

うつぶせ寝は誰でもできる簡単な健康法ですが、控えた方が良いタイプもあります。

  • 寝返りのできない赤ちゃん
  • 骨粗しょう症などで骨がもろくなっている方
  • 在宅介護でケアをされている高齢者の方

寝返りもできない生後数か月の赤ちゃんは、うつぶせのまま窒息してしまう危険性があるため、お勧めできません。また、骨粗しょう症のように骨がもろいと、うつぶせ寝をするだけで骨折をする危険性があります。

これは骨粗しょう症に限らず、仰向けでの寝たきり生活が長い方にとっても同じですので注意が必要です。同様に、在宅介護の中でうつぶせ寝健康法を取り入れる場合にも、その方の手足の可動域や活動可能な状況などを確認しながら医師に相談することをお勧めします。

うつぶせ寝は介護の現場から始まりましたが、在宅介護の場合はサポート力がどうしても少なくなっています。専門の医師や看護師さんからアドバイスをもらうとよいでしょう。

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まとめ:中高年からのうつぶせ寝健康法

うつぶせ寝健康法は、特に中高年から始めてほしい健康法です。

子供の頃は自由に寝相をかき、仰向けやうつぶせなどを気にせず寝ていたと思います。しかし、中高年になり仰向けが習慣になってしまうと、子供のような大胆な寝相で寝ることは少なくなります。年齢が高くなるにつれて、気道の圧迫が起こりやすくなり、睡眠時の障害が出やすくなります。

今こそ子供に戻った気持ちで、うつぶせ寝健康法を試してみてください。一番楽で心地よい、うつぶせ寝の気持ちよさを思い出してみてくださいね。

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