Sleep is vital for a sound body and mind, but different sleeping positions can affect your body and overall health in contrasting ways. Continue reading below to find out more about how each sleeping position affects your health.
Sleep is incredibly important to your overall health and wellbeing and that’s why it’s important to examine every area of your sleep. You might know all the tricks to a comfortable sleeping environment like keeping your room dark and cool, but you’ve probably never paid much attention to the position you get into before falling asleep. There is a lot more to it than you might have first considered.
You might be surprised to learn that research suggests that a vast majority of people sleep either on their side (around 50%) and back (around 40%) and a much smaller 10% of people sleep on their stomachs. But what does each sleeping position do to your body and overall health?
Sleeping on Your Back
Despite common beliefs that your sleeping position has a more psychological component than a physical one, your sleeping position is quite important to overall health. Sleeping on your back is one of the preferred sleeping positions. It allows the ergonomics and contours of your mattress to work to their most optimal, particularly those with features that improve or maintain good posture. You might find sleeping on your back is great if you suffer from acid reflux, but it can exacerbate your snoring or sleep apnea if you suffer from either.
Sleeping on Your Stomach
According to some sleep studies, sleeping on your stomach might actually be the least recommended sleeping position of them all. It might decrease snoring somewhat, but it will cause your head to be raised on your pillow and this means your spine won’t rest in a neutral position. It also can mean that there is the additional strain placed on your back and neck because of this overarching of the spine.
Because of the reduced blood flow associated with sleeping on your stomach, you might also find yourself waking up with numb extremities. If you wake up and find you have numbness or pins and needles in your extremities, you might be subjecting your body to nerve issues that can be exacerbated if you continue to sleep on your stomach.
Sleeping on Your Side
Yes, there is the best sleeping position, and sleeping on your side is it. Sleeping on your side is considered by many researchers and physicians to be the optimal sleeping position for most of us. Because you are in a lateral position, you’re keeping your spine in a neutral position and therefore it will help prevent or alleviate any neck, back, and shoulder pain you might have or find yourself waking up with. It can also, to some degree, help with snoring and limiting the effects of sleep apnea. It’s usually recommended for most people that you try and sleep on your side.
Sleeping in the Fetal Position
Interestingly, women are twice as likely as men to adopt the fetal position for sleep. It’s generally recommended that we avoid this position, however, because it can create quite an extreme curve in the spine and lead to a sore or strained back. It can also limit movement for your diaphragm and lead to a restriction in breathing.
As you can tell, giving a good amount of thought to your sleeping position and applying your own body type or sleeping troubles to it can often lead to a better night’s sleep.
You should always make sure you have the right type of pillow and mattress for your sleeping position and always try and make your bedroom as conducive as possible for good sleep.