Did you know that your sleep position has an effect on the quality of sleep you have in at night?
If you regularly fail to get enough sleep, you will end up stressed, anxious, and depressed. That can escalate and result in high blood pressure, weight gain, and other chronic health conditions.
Sleeping in a wrong position is also a leading cause of tummy troubles, headaches, impaired circulation, muscle cramps, sleep apnea, and fatigue.
So don’t boast about how many hours you take sleeping. Your sleeping position could be undoing everything you are struggling to achieve.
So which is the best sleeping position?
It is that which is characterized by less snoring and heartburn. Any other sleeping position can lead to increased snoring, indigestion, and increased wrinkles.
The best sleeping position may also depend on whether you are sore, pregnant or are living with a specific medical condition.
In that situation, you might be forced to adopt the most appropriate sleeping position to avoid making your condition worse. If you fail to sleep in the right position, you may also end up with worsened back or neck pain.
Finally, the way you sleep tells a lot about the type of personality you are.
The following are the best sleeping positions:
Sleeping On the Back
Only eight percent of humans sleep on their backs.
Unpopular as it might be, this is the best sleeping position. For most individuals, there is no healthier sleeping position. It removes pressure from the spine, neck, and head since it allows you to rest in a neutral position. This sleeping position also helps prevent acid reflux which causes heartburn.
In both men and women, sleeping on the back also helps to minimize facial wrinkles, given the fact that there is no pressure on the muscles.
For the women, sleeping on the back helps maintain firmness in the breasts.
Just who wouldn’t want to try it?
The good thing about this sleeping position is that your back remains in a neutral position devoid of curves. That ensures that the mattress best does its work of supporting the spine.
The only issue with sleeping on your back is that it worsens sleep apnea and snoring. Since sleeping on the back is a known cause of sleep apnea, many doctors prescribe sleeping on your side as a treatment for the problem. Sleeping on the back causes the tongue to fall into the airway, thus blocking it. That can lead to obstructed breathing which causes snoring.
It is recommended that you use a puffy pillow that supports the neck and head without elevating them too high. However, your head should be elevated enough to be above the stomach to prevent acid reflux.
Take note that supporting your spine doesn’t necessarily result in a good night’s sleep.
There is evidence to suggest that people who spent most of the night on their back had the worst sleep quality than their counterparts. When it comes to sleep quality, this is certainly not the best sleeping position.
Sleeping On the Side
In this position, individuals sleep with the legs and torso slightly straight. In fact, this together with the fetal sleeping position are the most commonly used.
It is recommended for pregnant mothers, who are advised to sleep on their left side to promote the floor of blood. Pregnant mothers are advised not to sleep on the back since that can greatly pressurize the lower back and even make them faint. As for sleeping on the stomach, it is a no-no.
It is the best sleeping position for preventing back and neck pain apart from reducing acid reflux. People who sleep in this position also tend to snore less. It is, however, not very good when it comes to preventing wrinkles and maintaining the firmness of your breasts.
When it comes to your overall health, side sleeping is the best position. Apart from keeping your spine in an elongated position, it helps reduce snoring.
It is, therefore, no wonder that doctors recommend this sleeping position as a solution to the annoying problem of sleep apnea. If anything, it is the best way to keep the airways in an open position.
After the back, this is the next best sleeping position. Unlike sleeping on the back, it results in better sleep quality. Despite its many disadvantages, this sleeping position is worth trying.
Side sleepers are best advised to use a thick, firm pillow that has the ability to align your spine as you sleep. It literally involves filling the space from the shoulder upwards to ensure your neck and head maintain a neutral position. You don’t want to wake up in the morning with an aching neck or head.
It is also important to note that sleeping on the side put unnecessary pressure on the lungs, diaphragm, and stomach. That may make side sleepers have trouble breathing from the diaphragm. It is also likely that you will end up complaining about numbness in the arms when you wake up in the morning.
Most people who sleep in this position tend to with their arms behind their head, which might adversely affect the nerves and muscles.
After all, resting the body or head on the arm can significantly curtail the flow of blood apart from suppressing the nerves.
The result an arm that feels like rubber or which have pain like one that’s being pricked by needles and pins. A lot of the body’s weight also tends to rest on the shoulder which leads to constricted muscles in the shoulder and neck.
Sleeping like a Fetus
More than 41 percent of adults sleep in this position, which makes it more popular than any other.
Pregnant mothers are advised to sleep on their left side with their torso hunched, and the knees bent. This is the best sleeping position for promoting the flow of blood in the body and the fetus.
It also ensures that the uterus does not press against the liver, usually situated on the right side of the body.
This is the best sleeping position for reducing snoring and making it easier for pregnant mothers.
However, it may lead to increased back and neck pain. Since the individual is sleeping on the side, the problem of wrinkles is also likely to become worse.
Women who are looking to maintain the firmness in their breasts may find this sleeping position not to be very useful.
You are advised not to sleep in this position if you suffer from the symptoms of arthritis in the joints and back. Pulling your knees to the chest can only worsen these symptoms. It is, therefore, always best to maintain a straight posture to prevent straining the hips.
You might also have to think about sleeping with a pillow in between your knees so as not to strain the hips. Sleeping in this position also tends to make it hard for you to have diaphragmatic breathing.
Apart from trying to straighten as much as you can, you need to buy a plump pillow. This will help to give greater support to your neck and head. That’s meant to cater for the lift provided by the shoulder that is lying on the mattress.
Sleeping on the Stomach
This is the best sleeping position for reducing snoring and reducing the symptoms of sleep apnea. In this position, your upper airways remain open most of the time.
You may want to try it if you have a snoring problem and experience less back and neck pain. Beyond that, there isn’t much else you can say about this sleeping position.
In fact, sleeping with the stomach down is said to be the worst position you can sleep in.
It is known to remove the spine from its natural curved posture, thus causing lower back pain. This sleeping position also causes a strain on the neck. This will eventually result in back and neck pain.
This sleeping position also strains the muscles and joints which can result in irritated nerves. You will end up with a little bit of tingling, numbness, and pain all over the body.
Sleeping in this position means you have to keep your head on each side for prolonged periods of time. It will not be possible for you to feel your neck in the morning. If you do, it will be engulfed in a lot of aches and pain.
Under normal circumstances, this is not a sleeping position recommended for anyone.
However, if you must sleep in this position, try to lie down with your face down. You will require a very thin pillow to pull it off successfully.
Anything thicker than 3 inches will only misalign your spine while sleeping. You may want to put a pillow under your lower abdomen and hips to give a lift to the bottom of your spine.
Each of these sleeping positions might have their unique health benefits, but it is always good to try one that makes you feel comfortable.
If you want to know the best sleeping position for you, try experimenting with every one of those discussed here.
After several nights, you should be able to tell which one of these positions best works for you. When you do, stick to it unless your doctor advises otherwise.