You probably have a favorite sleeping position that you naturally get into after crawling under the covers and getting ready to fall asleep.
However, did you know that your sleeping position could impact your health? It can affect your breathing, cause neck and back pain, tummy trouble and shorten your lifespan!
Sleeping on Your Back
This is the recommended sleeping position, and the best position if you suffer from neck or back pain because it keeps your spine in the “neutral” position.
It’s also great for reducing acid reflux because your head is raised above your stomach, so the food and stomach acid can’t easily come back up. However, if you snore, sleeping on your back can make it much worse.
For maximum comfort in this sleeping position, get a puffy pillow that supports your neck without having to prop it up too much.
Sleeping on Your Side
If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll be happy to hear that this is also a great position for your health. It reduces neck and back pain, acid reflux and snoring. It’s also perfect for pregnant women because it helps with blood flow.
If this is your favorite sleeping position, get a thick and firm pillow to keep your spine in alignment. However, you should avoid this position if you’re worried about nerve compression in your arms and legs.
Sleeping in the Fetal Position
Many adults still sleep in the same position they slept in before they were born! They lie on their side, pull up their knees and then tuck in their chins towards the chest.
This is the worst sleeping position if you suffer from back or joint pain, and it can restrict your breathing. You will need a thick, firm pillow that provides the kind of support that your head and neck require.
Sleeping on your Stomach
If you’re a stomach sleeper, you’re in for some bad news.
This is the least recommended sleeping position because it’s very hard to keep your spine “neutral” in this position.
Sleeping on your stomach strains your neck muscles because you’re looking one way for hours at a time, and it extends your neck upwards, compressing your spine. However, it can help with snoring.
If you stay in this sleeping position for a long time, your arms will start to tingle or fall asleep. This is a sign that your blood flow is constricted and your nerves are being compressed.
Ultimately, though, there is no “best” sleeping position.
Most people switch positions and toss and turn in their sleep anyway. For your best health, be mindful of body mechanics and strive to keep your spine in a “neutral” position while sleeping.
But, if you can’t find a comfortable position because of neck, back or any other pain, and it’s disrupting your sleep, consider discussing it with your doctor because a lack of sound rest will increase your risk of chronic disease.
Photo by David Clode on Unsplash