Sleep Position- Does it matter, and Which is Best for You?
Time and again, we have heard people talk about how important it is to get enough sleep. We even know that 8 hours is the recommended time to sleep and rest. But what do we know about sleep positions? How often do we talk about them? Do they even matter? And if they do, which is the best sleeping position?
To find out these and more, read this article to the end.
- Does Sleep Position Matter?
The direct answer to this question is Yes, sleep position does matter.
According to experts, your body is usually busy restoring and repairing itself when you are asleep. Your sleep position can either impact this process positively or negatively, depending on how well it supports your spine to its natural position.
A proper sleep position does not strain your spine and allows you to get quality sleep and rest. On the other hand, an unhealthy sleep position causes strain on your spine, which leads to many problems, including pain in your back, neck, arm, and shoulders. These will lower your sleep quality.
- Which Sleep Position is Best for You?
Now that we know that sleep position matters, the next big question is, which is the best for you?
Unfortunately, there is no direct answer to this because it depends on many factors, including your age, weight, health condition, etc.
To help you understand, let’s look at the three sleep positions you can assume. These are
- Sleeping on your side (right-hand side or left-hand side)
- Sleeping on your back
- Sleeping on your stomach
Sleeping on Your Side
According to experts, sleeping on your side is the best sleep position because it relieves stress on your spine by keeping it in its natural position. It is the best way to get a full night’s sleep, especially if you are an adult. Precisely 60% of adults find side sleeping more comfortable than any other sleep position. The reason for that is, as children, we have more flexible spines, which allow us to sleep in any position. However, that changes as we age. Our spines become less flexible, making side sleeping a more comfortable position to sleep for us as adults.
Benefits of Sleeping on Your Side
Side sleeping has many benefits;
- It helps align your spine, which is good for your back
- It helps with heartburn and acid reflux
- It helps with sleep apnea
Side Sleeping is best if;
- You are a pregnant woman
- You have acid reflux or heartburn
- You have back pain
- You have sleep apnea
- You are an adult
Right or left, which is the best Side Sleeping Position?
According to experts, sleeping on your left-hand side is always better than sleeping on your right-hand side. It is recommended for everyone, but mostly; pregnant women and people with acid reflux or heartburn. That is because sleeping on your left-hand side can help with blood circulation for pregnant women and reduce acid reflux or heartburn symptoms. Sleeping on your right-hand side, on the other hand, will increase these symptoms and cause too much pressure on your internal organs.
Do not sleep on your side if,
- You have shoulder pain
- You are afraid to get wrinkles on your face: When you sleep on your side, your face has to press against the pillow, thus stretching and compressing your skin. That is what causes facial wrinkles.
Sleeping on Your Back
Sleeping on your back is the second best and most popular sleep position. It helps align your spine and spread your weight evenly, which, as a result, helps prevent pains and aches in your body.
Benefits of Sleeping on Your Back
Sleeping on your back has the following benefits;
- It helps with neck pain
- It helps with asthma, colds, allergies, and nasal congestion: This will only work if you do not lie flat on your back because this will intensify the symptoms. As you lay your back, make sure you support your head with pillows to help open your airways.
- You do not have to worry about face wrinkles
Sleep on your back if
- You do not want to get wrinkles on your face
- You have lumbar spinal pain
- You have neck pain
- You have nasal congestion
Do not sleep on your back if,
- You are pregnant
- You are overweight
- You have acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
- You have sleep apnea
- You are an older adult
- You have some types of back pain: for some people, laying on your back can relieve back pain, but for some others, it can make it worse. When you buy a mattress, do not just settle for any type. Make sure that it is good and firm. When you sleep on a less firm mattress, a gap may form between your back and the mattress surface; this can cause unnecessary tension on your back and lower the quality of your sleep.
Sleeping on Your Tummy
Sleeping on your stomach is the third and least popular sleep position. There are good reasons for that. It does not support your back the same way as sleeping on your back or side and can cause back pain. It also forces you to turn your neck to either side, which can cause long-term back problems.
While this is true, stomach sleeping still has its benefits. It can open up your airways which can help relieve snoring or sleep apnea.
Do not sleep on your stomach if,
- You are pregnant
- You are afraid to get face wrinkles
- You have back or neck pain
Now you know the three possible sleep positions and their impact on your health and sleep quality. The best sleep position is the one that gives you a restful night and allows you to wake up the following morning feeling refreshed, relaxed, and without any pains in your body. If that does not describe your sleep position, you need to find a new one.