What are the best sleep positions? Do you sleep on your back, side, or tummy? If you are pregnant, sore, or have a certain medical condition, you may have to avoid certain positions to be comfortable. Sleeping the wrong way can cause or aggravate neck or back pain. Read on to learn the best sleep position for you. But first, consider the following factors:
Things to consider before you switch off the lights
Back and neck pain
When it comes to alleviating pain, sleeping on your back is a mixed bag. For people with neck pain, sleeping face up can sometimes make the pain worse. But many people find sleeping on your back is helpful for alleviating low-back pain. If you have soreness in your spine, experiment with different positions and pillows to find what works for you.
Snoring and sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea causes the airways to collapse during sleep, leading to pauses in breathing. It often goes hand-in-hand with snoring. Positioning yourself on your side or stomach can help the airways stay open to reduce snoring and alleviate mild apnea.
Reflux and heartburn
If you suffer from heartburn, sleeping on your right side can make symptoms worse. That’s true for people who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and for people who have heartburn for other reasons, such as pregnant women. Flip to your left side to cool the burn.
If you sleep on your side or stomach, you’ve probably noticed creases on your face when you wake up. Over time, that can lead to breakouts or cause chronic changes in the skin.
Best Sleep Positions
On your Back
This position is good for your back. It prevents facial wrinkles and skin breakouts. Sleeping on your back also combats acid reflux. Lying on your back means the head is elevated, and the stomach is able to sit below the esophagus, making it less likely for digested substances to come back up. It’s important to note sleeping in this position can result in snoring. In addition, placing your arms up adds pressure on the nerves of the shoulders, which leads to pain.
On your Side
Sleeping on your side is beneficial for patients who have obstructive sleep apnea, prone to general snoring, neck and back pain, and for those pregnant. Sleeping on one’s side is helpful by mechanically opening up a crowded oropharynx.
Just remember that being a side-sleeper, however, can also cause unwanted skin aging, since placing one side of your face on the pillow can cause you to get wrinkles, and even leads to saggy breasts.
Worst Sleeping Positions
Sorry, tummy sleepers. We realize you want to flop face down and spread your arms out, but experts say this is actually the simplest way to awaken with discomfort and pain the next day. That’s because gravity pulls on your stomach and the spine as well as forcing your head to turn on a 90-degree angle which places a strain on your neck. This is how you get a crick in your neck the next day. Trade in those fluffy cushions for a slim, firm one. It will not prop your throat up too much, allowing for a more even curvature of your back. And for better blood circulation, put a cushion or two under your pelvic region.
On your right side
If sleeping soundly for you means nodding off on your right, you will be subjected to a health risk. Your right side has your cardiovascular system, so added pressure on this area of the body actually constricts your rib cage and strains your lungs.
You might experience acid reflux and even heart failure. But if you’re in generally good health, there’s no reason to be concerned. But if you’re pregnant or suffer from things like heartburn, you might want to turn to your left side. Sleeping on your left side is way better.