As you settle in to doze off for the night, the first thing you do is take your favourite sleeping pose. This whole process takes place subconsciously. You may usually not even think about sleeping posture!
But, here is the catch. Embracing the right sleeping position is necessary to ensure you don’t wake up with any pain or aches. So, which position is the best? Lying on your back, side or stomach? Well, read ahead to find out.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position?
The position in which you sleep has a direct effect on the health of your spine. Most of us will experience neck or back pain at some point in our lives, and our sleeping position is frequently to blame. What can we do to rectify the situation? In short, the best method to ensure a healthy spine is to maintain a neutral position.
The term “neutral” refers to a straight spine. This begins at the top of your head and neck and continues all the way to the bottom. Even minor adjustments to your hips/pelvis might distort your spine.
The following is a list of the most fundamental sleeping postures for the proper way to sleep.
Sleeping On Your Side
Sleeping on the side is preferred by a majority of people. This is reinforced by research indicating that children sleep equally well on their sides, backs, and fronts, with a rising preference for the side position as they grow older. Most adults prefer sleeping on their side as it offers maximum comfort. But, that’s not all. Sleeping on the side offers a plethora of benefits too, such as;
- It aids digestion
- Reduces acid reflux and heartburn
- Strengthens brain health
- Can aid sleep apnea
- Can reduce snoring
Sleeping on one’s side with one arm overhead is the most common posture. However, patients suffering from heart problems automatically avoid sleeping on their left side, probably to minimize discomfort and shortness of breath. It is recommended that people with heart conditions sleep on their right side.
The Fetal Position
Fetal sleep position is the most popular sleeping position. Side sleepers who curl inward with bent legs are in the fetal position. Numerous benefits of sleeping in the fetal position are similar to those of sleeping on one side.
Additionally, research has discovered that sleeping on one’s left side considerably reduces the frequency of sleep apnea-related breathing abnormalities. This position is also great for pregnant women and people suffering from lower back pain, while it also reduces snoring,
Unfortunately, for some people, sleeping in the fetal position may induce joint pain or stiffness. Curl in a reasonably loose position or with a pillow between your knees to minimize discomfort.
The Log Position
The second most frequent position for any sleeper is the log sleep position, in which the sleeper lies on their side with their legs straight and arms in place. Despite the fact that the sleep position appears stiff, a sleeper with style is anything but inflexible and frigid.
Log sleepers are usually kind and relaxed. They interact with a wide range of people, but they love to hang out with celebrities. They are also incredibly trustworthy, which might make them appear gullible to outsiders at times.
When you’re on your side with your arms at your sides, you’re doing the log roller. This position aligns your neck and back, making it one of the best back and neck pain relief positions.
The Yearner Position
Those who sleep on their side with both arms out in front are said to be in the Yearner position. Approximately 13% of people sleep in this position. Sleeping on your side, like the fetal can be harmful to your health because of the extreme curvature of the spine. For extra support in the yearner position, sleep on your left side with a pillow.
The Spooning Position
Spooning is a sleeping position for couples in which you hold your partner from the back, lying close to their body. This posture, like others, has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Couples sleeping in this position may wake up more frequently since they can feel every movement their partner will make.
Spooning, on the other hand, allows for cuddling, which enhances the release of oxytocin. This is a hormone that fosters bonding, reduces tension, and may assist you in falling asleep faster. The release of oxytocin can be triggered by cuddling for as little as 10 minutes. This is a popular couples sleeping position.
Which Side Should You Sleep On?
The position you sleep in has a significant impact on the overall quality of your night’s sleep. Snoring, heartburn, and even wrinkles can all be caused by sleeping in the wrong position, but sleeping on your side is super beneficial for you! But, which side should you sleep on?
You should choose a sleep position that’s the healthiest, and that’s the left side as it helps your brain filter out waste, relieves acid reflux and heartburn, and promotes digestion, encourages the discharge of toxins from your lymph nodes, and enhances circulation.
The right side is usually not recommended for people suffering from acid reflux as it can aggravate the condition. However, it is good for people with heart conditions as it reduces pressure from the heart muscles, creating room in your chest cavity.
Is It Bad to Sleep On Your Side?
No, in fact in some cases It is beneficial to your health. Sleep apnea can be reduced by sleeping on your side with your back mostly straight. It can help relieve neck and back discomfort by keeping your spine aligned. To relieve strain on your hips, place a soft pillow, folded blanket, or towel between your knees.
However, sleeping on your side can sometimes raise your chance of developing shoulder pain. Whether you sleep on your left or right side, the corresponding shoulder can sink into the mattress and up into your neck, causing misalignment and soreness in the morning.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach has not been scientifically proven to be unhealthy. But, sleeping on your stomach, however, is harmful to your back because it’s nearly impossible to keep your spine in a neutral and relaxed position when you’re laying on your stomach.
It provides little support and produces stress, putting additional strain on the neck. People frequently lie partially on their stomachs and half on their sides, rather than totally on their stomachs. This somewhat deformed position may cause neck pain as well as lower back pain.
The Freefall Position
The freefall position is when a sleeper lies on their stomach and has their hands on or around their pillow and their head inclined to one side. Freefall sleepers, according to Idzikowski’s research, are gregarious and can be abrasive. They are, nevertheless, more sensitive on the inside and can be agitated by criticism or harsh events.
Is It Bad to Sleep On Your Stomach?
In addition to putting a strain on the back and neck, sleeping on the stomach may make breathing more difficult. If you often opt for stomach sleeping positions and have back or neck pain, you might consider moving to back or side sleeping or modifying your bed layout to relieve spinal pressure. Sleeping on the stomach is especially not recommended for pregnant women.
A firmer mattress and a pillow are recommended for stomach sleepers. A pillow that is excessively firm can put a strain on the neck and cause stiffness, and a mattress that is too soft might cause spinal misalignment. So, consistency is the key here.
Sleeping On Your Back
Sleeping on your back is common. Lying flat on your back maintains a neutral position for your head, neck, and spine, relieving pressure on the joints in those areas.
Sleeping face up can also assist to lower the risk of acid reflux. If you use a pillow to raise your head higher than your chest, then it can prevent the contents of your stomach from coming up your digestive tract.
The biggest disadvantage of sleeping on your back or the supine position is that you are more likely to snore and/or develop sleep apnea than if you sleep on your side. Your tongue might block your breathing tube when you rest flat on your back, making it difficult to breathe correctly. So, always choose the best sleeping position for breathing problems according to your condition.
The Soldiers Position
The Soldier position is when you sleep on your back with your arms down by your sides and your legs straight out in front of you. This sleep posture can amplify snoring and cause sleep apnea. This comfortable sleeping position, on the other hand, can be helpful to back and neck health.
A tiny pillow under your knees while sleeping can help with spinal alignment. Elevate your head with a pillow or two if you snore or have allergic responses.
The sleeping position of a soldier is not particularly frequent. The connotation of this sleeping posture is related to quiet, restrained people who have high expectations of themselves and others.
The Starfish Position
The sleeping position of a starfish is self-explanatory. Sleeping in starfish position is when people lie on their backs, arms and legs splayed out to the sides. Because this position is hard on the back, doctors advise sleeping with a pillow under the knees. Sleepers who sleep in this position are good listeners who are bashful but always willing to assist.
Is Sleeping On Your Back Bad?
If you’re prone to sleep apnea, which causes shallow breathing or pauses in your breath and prevents comfortable sleep, this position isn’t for you. Also, sleeping on your back might cause pain in your lower back. However, there is one significant advantage to this position and that is, it can aid with acid reflux.
Pregnant women should however avoid sleeping on the back because it was seen that it increased the risks of stillbirth when expecting mothers slept on their back the whole night. Also, sleeping on your back, especially when pregnant, can turn out to be quite uncomfortable and can even make it difficult when you are trying to get out of bed.
One tip you can embrace if you like sleeping on your back is to place a pillow or rolled-up towel between your knees to help prevent discomfort in this face-up position. It can help you avoid back pain by supporting the natural curve of your spine. However, if you are someone who snores or has sleep apnea, it is recommended that you sleep on your side.
Which Is the Best Side to Sleep on for GERD?
Sleep disruptions and GERD can have a negative impact on one’s quality of life. Heartburn and sleep difficulties are both common nocturnal GERD symptoms.
Although the explanation for this isn’t totally obvious, it is seen that patients with heartburn and GERD prefer to sleep on their left side while sleeping on the right side relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, whereas sleeping on one’s left side keeps the stomach-esophageal junction above the level of gastric acid. So yes this is the best sleeping position for heartburn.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position for Snoring and Sleep Apnea?
Sleeping on the left side prevents sleep apnea even more than sleeping on the right side. It improves blood flow and reduces the likelihood of airway blockages, which can lower the number of apneas you have each night. And, if you are someone who snores, side sleeping can help reduce it to a great extent. When you sleep on your side, the compression of the airways decreases, which helps you snore less.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position for Preventing Wrinkles?
Sleeping on your back keeps your face from rubbing against the pillow, keeping your skin looking smooth. It can also help avoid facial asymmetry, as sleeping on one side of your face for years can cause uneven texture and volume in your face.
Back sleeping also helps your entire body relax, which “reduces inflammation, allowing better results for cell turnover in the face,” which is your skin’s way of getting rid of dead skin cells to make room for new cells to form.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain?
Lying flat on your back is one of the best sleeping positions for lower back pain. Even so, many people find it the most difficult way to get a good night’s sleep. Place one cushion behind your head or neck and another beneath your knees for best spine alignment.
However, if you’re pregnant, you should avoid this position because it reduces blood flow to your heart and body. The second-best position to sleep for avoiding back and neck problems is side sleeping with your legs straight. Now you know one of the best sleeping positions for back pain.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position for Neck Pain?
Sleeping on your side or back is the most comfortable for your neck. If you sleep on your back, a circular pillow will support your neck’s natural curve, while a flatter pillow will cushion your head. Tucking a small neck roll into the pillowcase of a flatter, softer pillow or utilizing a specific cushion with built-in neck support and an indentation for the head to rest in can do this.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, sleeping on your side is regarded as the ideal sleeping position. According to research, the left side posture can improve blood flow to the fetus as early as 20 weeks. Most pregnant women report sleeping flat on their backs at some point throughout their pregnancy, although this position is not recommended because it may increase the risk of stillbirth beyond 28 weeks.
To make it more comfortable, pregnant women should try sleeping on their left side with a pillow between the knees. In fact, you can also tuck a pillow under your stomach to help you sleep well. Some women also make use of body pillows for optimal comfort. However, make sure the fabric used on the pillow is breathable to ensure you don’t run too hot during the night.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position for a Stuffy Nose?
Sleeping with your head elevated on a few pillows helps with congestion and a stuffy nose. Lying flat, on the other hand, encourages mucus to accumulate in your sinuses, clogging your nasal passages, disrupting your sleep.
What Do Sleeping Positions Mean?
You probably don’t give much thought to what your preferred sleeping position entails, aside from a desire for maximum comfort while you sleep. However, some sleep psychologists and specialists believe that personality can influence the best sleep position and provide insight into your characteristics and actions.
Chris Idzikowski, a professor and sleep researcher, investigated over 1,000 British adults to see if there were any links between sleep positions and personality. He drew linkages between frequent sleeping postures and personality traits based on the findings. Know about the sleeping positions meaning below:
- Fetus Position: People who sleep in this position are said to be sensitive and shy.
- Log Sleepers: People who sleep like a log are said to be social and are usually trusting.
- The Yearner Position: They are usually slow when it comes to making up their mind, but once they decide, they never change it.
- The Soldier Position: People who sleep in this position are said to be reserved and quiet.
- Freefall: People who sleep in this position are usually someone who is unable to take criticism and are thin-skinned.
- Starfish: Not someone who likes being the center of attention, people who sleep in this position, make good friends.
Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to one’s health and well-being, but it is sometimes disregarded. If you have joint discomfort, respiratory problems, or other issues, sleeping might be much more difficult. It might be beneficial to attempt a different sleeping position to combat them.