Curling up under the covers every night, we all think about how to stay comfortable for a great night’s sleep. We most probably just settle into our favorite positions without thinking much about it. But could there be one sleeping position better than the other?
What we don’t realize is that our sleeping positions can have a direct and major impact on our health, not only our comfort.
In order to optimize your sleep and stay healthy; here’s a list of the top common sleeping positions ranked from best to worst:
- On Your Back
Based on research, the best sleeping position is to sleep on your back.
It allows your head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position, without unnecessary curving or extra pressure. This makes it good for preventing neck and back pain. Also, it’s good for reducing acid reflux, as the head is elevated, and the stomach is able to sit below the esophagus, so digested substances can’t come back up. Moreover, nothing is pushing against your face or your breasts, and that’s where it helps prevent wrinkles and maintain perky breasts.
Cons: Sleeping in this position can result in snoring. In addition, placing your arms up adds pressure on the shoulder nerves; resulting in pain.
Tips for back sleepers: If you suffer from sleep apnea, this could be a dangerous position for you because the tongue can block the breathing tube.
Perfect pillow: A puffy one; as their goal is to keep your head and neck supported without propping your head up too much.
- On Your Side
This is the second best position.
Your body and legs are relatively straight and your spine is in its neutral position, which averts back and neck pain. It helps decrease acid reflux too. Opposite to back sleeping, you’re less likely to snore in this posture, because it keeps airways open, making it also the best choice for those with sleep apnea. Furthermore, it’s good for pregnant woman
The side on which you sleep is also pivotal. So, right side or left side?
Sleeping on the right side can worsen heartburn. However, sleeping on the left side reduces acid reflux, but, can put a strain on internal organs like the liver, lungs, and stomach. Pregnant women are advised to sleep on their left side for ideal blood flow.
Cons: It can lead to wrinkles and skin aging because technically half your face is pushed against the pillow. Also, it contributes in breast sagging since your body is leaning downwards, stretching the ligaments.
Tips for side sleepers: Use a thick pillow so your head doesn’t tilt down, a small pillow under your waist so your stomach doesn’t curve down, and a third pillow between your knees. You can also hug one to support your spine. Start out your night on the left side to allow gravity to move waste through your colon. Alternate sides if your shoulder bothers you.
Perfect pillow: A thick and firm one; to help keep your spine aligned and fill the space above your shoulder so your head and neck are supported in a neutral position. Many sleep experts recommend side sleepers choose cervical pillows (contoured or with a divot in the middle).
- In the Fetal Position
It’s the most popular sleep position where you lay on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest. It may be comforting, but has a lot of drawbacks.
A loose, fetal position, especially on your left side, is great if you’re pregnant. It improves circulation in your body and prevents your uterus from pressing against your liver, which is on your right side. It’s also good for less snoring. However, curling up too tightly can restrict breathing in your diaphragm.
Cons: It can lead to neck and back pain, bring on premature facial wrinkles, and breast sag.
Tips for fetal sleepers: Straighten out your body as much as you can, instead of hunching yourself up and tucking your knees and chin into your chest; to avert feeling sore in the morning. You can also put a pillow between your legs to reduce strain on your hips.
Perfect pillow: A big, plump one; to give your head and neck support, like when sleeping on the side. Also, consider a softer mattress; to avoid press points, but not too soft that it doesn’t properly support your neck.
- On Your Stomach
While it’s a common position, sleeping on your stomach is bluntly; the worst.
It is never advised because it fails to support the natural curve of your spine, leading to overarching. This places pressure on joints and muscles, possibly leading to aches, numbness, tingling, and irritated nerves. The most celebrated upside for this position is that it’s good for easy snoring. It helps keep the upper airways more open. Hence, if you snore and aren’t suffering from neck or back pain, it’s fine to sleep on your belly.
Cons: Morning and long-term fatigue, neck and back pains, and if your neck stays rotated and in a closed pack, tight position for a long time, your breathing and circulation can also be jeopardized. It also maximizes the chance of early wrinkling and breast sag.
Tips for stomach sleepers: Choose another position! But if you must or that’s what you prefer, try lying face down with your forehead resting on a pillow, instead of turning your head to one side, to allow room to breathe.
Perfect pillow: Thin ones, about 7 cm thick; to keep your spine aligned and avoid elevating your head and neck.
In order to get a good night’s sleep, you have to keep in mind the best sleeping position for you, in terms of comfort and health. But also, keep in mind that your food intake, daily habits, and even bedroom atmosphere can help too. So keep your diet taken care of, your sheets clean, and your room dim, cozy, and less messy to avoid distractions.
If you are still suffering from insomnia, make sure to see how you can sleep better, here.
We spend one third of our lives asleep, so we better make it count towards the best for the other two thirds!