Did you know that your sleeping position at night could affect your health? If you are suffering from back pain, stiff neck and neck pain, issues with digestion and even premature wrinkles, it could be because your sleeping position is wrong! Read on to know the five best and the worst positions in which to sleep.
Best Sleeping Positions
Here are the best five sleeping positions. Note that some negatives are associated even with these positions; however, the benefits far outweigh them.
Sleeping on your back
When you sleep on your back on a level surface, you can prevent back and neck pain. You can also bring down acid reflux, minimize wrinkles, and best of all, keep your breasts upright and perky! Avoid the sag!
When you sleep on your back, your neck, head and spine rest in a neutral position. This ensures that no extra curves are forced into your back, say chiropractors. The back position fights acid reflux since the stomach is positioned below the esophagus when the head is elevated, preventing acid from coming up. You are able to avoid wrinkles in this position because gravity does not push anything against your face.
Negative: This position is bad for snoring! If that’s not a problem, go ahead and sleep on your back. Keep your neck and head supported on one fluffy pillow and don’t elevate your head by more than an inch or two. Place a fluffy pillow under your knees as well; this helps reduce pressure on your lower’s back sciatic nerve.
Sleeping On Your Left Side
Sleeping on your left side aids your digestive system by removing stomach acids easily. Sleeping on the left side also helps reduce heartburn if you suffer from it.
When you sleep on your left side, you can aid your blood circulation, especially if you’re pregnant. For pregnant women, sleeping on the left side keeps the heavy uterus off the liver and at a distance from the large vein that transports blood from the feet to the heart. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby. Keep your legs and knees bent and a pillow between your legs.
Sleeping On Your Right Side
Sleeping on either side helps you prevent back and neck pain, reduces acid reflux and minimizes snoring.
Sleeping on your side keeps your spine elongated. This position is the next best to sleeping on your back, as far as acid reflux is concerned. The benefits of sleeping on your left side are more than sleeping on your right side.
However, this sleeping position is still recommended over sleeping on your tummy. People with heartburn complain of increased discomfort when they sleep on their right side.
Negatives: You can earn more wrinkles by sleeping in the side position than by sleeping on your back, since your face is crushed into the pillow. Gravity pulls from one side and so the side on which you sleep more will be more prone to wrinkles. Additionally, breasts will sag more as the ligaments are stretched when your breasts dangle downward.
Sleeping In The Fetal Position
Sleeping in the fetal position with your knees bent, keeping a soft fluffy pillow tucked between your legs is a comfortable and healthy way to sleep. The spine is not meant to be straight for long durations, even though sleeping on the back is beneficial. The fetal position accommodates the two natural curve points of the spinal cord. This position takes the stress off your back.
Negative: If you have more fat on your tummy, this position can push your belly against your esophagus, causing acid reflux. You’ll be most comfortable in this position if you have a flat stomach.
Sleeping In Different Positions
Changing your sleep positions every now and then prevents your blood circulation from seizing up. The very young can perhaps sleep in the same position, complain of a crick here and there and get away with it.
However, as we age and our physical fitness levels lower, sleeping in the same position can cause more than just cricks. Cramps, reduced blood circulation to certain parts, lowered body oxygenation and so on come from sleeping in a single position.
Negative: Changing your sleep positions often can break your sleep pattern. So unless you’re not a sound sleeper to begin with, it’s better to stick to a recommended sleep position and leave it at that.
Worst Sleeping Positions
Here are the worst sleeping positions you could adopt. Try to avoid these sleeping positions by slowly forcing your body to sleep in better positions.
Sleeping On Your Tummy
When you sleep on your tummy, your body is unable to maintain a neutral position. The spine is forced to curve to accommodate the press of your tummy on the bed, causing back pain and spinal issues going forward.
This position also applies great pressure on your joints and muscles.
Sleeping With Head And Shoulders On Pillow
Place only your head and neck on the pillow. Your shoulders should, as much as possible, lay flat on the bed in the supine position, or support you in the side or fetal positions. By placing your shoulder on a large pillow, you tend to unbalance the curve of the spine from your neck downwards. This can cause upper back pain, neck pain and spinal misalignments.
Sleeping On Your Tummy With A Pillow Under You
When you sleep on your tummy with a pillow under your body, you add to the existing negative aspects of this sleeping position. When you sleep on your tummy, your spinal curve is exaggerated, which can cause pain, discomfort and contribute spinal degeneration. By keeping a pillow under your tummy, you might experience initial comfort but this actually curving your spine more.
Sleeping On Your Tummy With Head To The Side
When you sleep on your tummy with your head turned either left or right, you are creating tension in your neck and shoulders. This might give cause to dizziness, and strain the ligaments, muscles and joints of your spine. Your spine curve is exaggerated as it is in this position, but in addition to that, turning your face sidewards will get you ready for that chiropractor appointment in a hurry.
Sleeping In A Single Position All Night Long
Sleeping all night long in a single position leads to reduced body oxygenation. If you want to keep your blood circulation up and your body oxygen levels at their optimum, shift your sleeping positions. Taking physical exercise can improve your ability to sleep longer in a single same position. However, it is recommended that you shift positions.
- Slide show: Sleeping positions that reduce back pain - www.mayoclinic.com, retrieved on 07/07/11
- Best Sleeping Positions for Your Back – www.rd.com, retrieved on 07/07/11
- Best Sleep Positions Medical Research - www.normalbreathing.com, retrieved on 07/07/11
This page was written by Jon Wade, principal author and editor of Medimise.