Last Updated on June 11, 2021
Have you ever wondered, “what is the best sleeping position?”
We all have our preferences when it comes to choosing how and when we sleep. However, some sleeping positions are better for your health and wellness than others.
Your body is constantly working hard to repair itself during sleep, recover from the day, and get ready for the hours ahead. The sleeping position you choose can hinder that process or make it easier. For instance, sleeping in the fetal position might be ideal for your sleep posture if you have insomnia, whereas sleeping on your back could help with shoulder pain and back issues.
Today, we’re going to look at the sleep positions and how they can influence your quality of sleep, among other important factors.
Which Are the Healthiest Sleeping Positions?
The ideal sleeping position often differs depending on who you ask. For example, the most healthy position for someone with obstructive sleep apnea isn’t the same as the ideal sleep posture for someone with back problems.
Most people agree that the best way to sleep is to deliver better spinal alignment from your neck to your hips. What this looks like for you will depend on various factors influencing your current condition. For instance, pregnant women are better off sleeping on their side. On the other hand, if you have shoulder pain and back pain, you might have a better night sleeping on your stomach.
In general, sleeping on your side is often seen as a better sleeping posture than sleeping on your stomach. However, sleeping on your back can also be better for your body in some cases, provided that your mattress can allow for the natural curve of your spine to rest comfortably.
If the best sleeping position for you is usually sleeping on your stomach, you don’t necessarily need to change this unless stomach sleeping is causing back pain and other problems. However, your doctor can provide medical advice on your sleep position’s role in your quality of life. So, if you are experiencing any issues, ask for medical advice.
What Does Your Chosen Sleeping Position Affect?
The best sleeping posture is a key factor in sleep quality, and if you’re committed to sleeping in the best sleeping positions, you’re more likely to experience restful sleep. Keep in mind, however, that this differs depending on your situation. So, if you suffer from back pain and acid reflux, then sleeping on your side might be better for you.
Most experts will recommend sleeping on your side for a good night’s sleep if you’re pregnant, as this will relieve pressure on various parts of your body. If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, allowing yourself to move between different sleep positions throughout the night might also be important.
If you think that sleeping position doesn’t impact your life, you might be surprised to learn just how influential sleep positions might be. For instance, sleep position can affect:
• The ageing process. If you sleep in the prone position face down or on a firm pillow on your side, this could contribute to facial ageing, unless you’re using a silk pillowcase or something that will avoid sleep wrinkles from forming.
• Back and neck pain: It can take some time to find your favourite sleep position if you have back and neck pain. For example, some people will prefer sleeping with a small pillow on their side, whereas others like using a wedge pillow in between their legs.
• Heart disease: Research suggests that it’s beneficial for people with congestive heart failure to avoid sleeping on their left side during sleep.
• Heartburn and acid reflux symptoms: if you suffer from heartburn, lying flat on your stomach will often cause your symptoms to flare up by allowing stomach acid to flow into your oesophagus when you’re trying to sleep.
• Snoring and sleep apnea: Sleeping on your side isn’t a good idea if you want to reduce snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea, which causes the muscles in your throat to fall into your throat when you’re sleeping, is more significant for back sleepers.
When to Sleep on Your Side
If you have issues like nighttime recumbent reflux, stomach acid, and back or neck pain, you might find that it helps to join the 60% of side sleepers. As children, we often spend a lot of time in such placement, but we may have explored and experimented with various healthy sleeping positions by the time we reach adulthood.
Sleeping on your side can reduce the neck muscle activity that can lead to sleep apnea and snoring. This popular sleep position also has other health benefits. For example, sleeping on your side is ideal if you’re a pregnant woman or suffer from stomach pain.
If you have joint pain in your shoulder, side sleeping may not be the best sleep position, as it increases the pressure on your shoulder. If you’re worried about increasing the number of wrinkles on one side of your face, you might also want to avoid side sleeping, as this position can reduce blood flow in certain parts of your body.
If you’re a side sleeper trying new positions on the right mattress, you should often choose to sleep on your left side whenever you can. This reduces the pressure on your internal organs and lowers your chances of issues like acid reflux.
When to Sleep on Your Back
If you consider your most comfy position in bed to be sleeping on your back, that’s great too. Though this isn’t as good for nighttime recumbent reflux and acid issues, sleeping on your back has plenty of benefits to offer as it is a neutral position.
When you’re lying flat on your back, your spine is in the most neutral position, which makes back sleeping a good option if you have trouble with back pain. Sleeping on your back can also reduce problems with allergies and stuffy noses.
Your skin benefits more from sleeping on your back than the side sleeping position because you’re not pressing your face against your pillow – which can contribute to wrinkles. You can even benefit from reduced neck pain.
There are downsides to sleeping on your back, too, of course. For example, if you have sleep apnea or certain types of back pain, you might need to consider other options of the best sleeping positions. In addition, back sleeping is terrible if you snore because it can cause the airways to collapse.
Although it’s difficult to avoid spontaneous sleep positions when you’re unconscious, it’s also recommended that you shouldn’t sleep on your back when possible if you’re pregnant. The growing baby in your stomach means that back sleeping positions place increased pressure on your spine and organs. If you’re getting older or heavier, you might also struggle with sleeping on your back because of the pressure gravity puts on your body.
When to Sleep on Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is rarely recommended as one of the best sleeping positions. Although many people end up on their stomachs at times, most people, particularly women, prefer to avoid this posture.
Sleeping on your stomach has its benefits, though. For example, it can help to reduce snoring by keeping your airways open. Unfortunately, it’s also dangerous for people in certain walks of life, such as those worried about wrinkles and ageing, and pregnant women. In addition, the stomach doesn’t provide much support when you’re resting, which can worsen back pain and other forms of discomfort.
If you frequently sleep on your stomach, this could signify that your mattress and pillow aren’t giving you the right support. And though you can have a restful sleep when you’re stomach sleeping, you might want to think about avoiding using a pillow to reduce the pressure on your neck. A firm mattress is usually a better choice for people who sleep on their stomachs, too. This is because you don’t want your stomach to sink too deeply into the bed and leave your spine out of alignment.
If you’re concerned that certain sleeping positions might not be suitable for you because of health conditions or concerns, speak to your doctor before you start experimenting. For example, some sleeping positions are not recommended by physical therapy science if you’re dealing with specific chronic pains or conditions.
Which Is the Best Sleeping Position?
Finding the best sleeping position doesn’t necessarily have to mean sleeping in a new position for better sleep. For example, a side-sleeping fetal position is the most common choice recommended by many doctors, but this won’t be the ideal sleeping position for everyone.
The best angle or position for you will depend on your specific circumstances. It would help if you were looking for the position that gives you the best night of uninterrupted comfort, with your doctor’s recommendation.
If you think your current sleeping position isn’t right for you and your doctor says it’s safe to experiment with different options, there’s nothing wrong with giving other angles a try.