Adequate sleep is important for overall health and well-being. However, what you may not realize is that your sleeping position can affect how you feel every day.
Read more about what your sleeping position can tell about your health.
From the topic: Why sleep is important at any age
sleeping on your stomach
According to a study published in Nature & Science of Sleep, sleeping on your stomach is the least common sleeping position. Only 7.3% of those surveyed said they sleep on their stomachs. It is also the least recommended position by healthcare professionals for several reasons.
When you lie on your stomach and put your head on the pillow, your body position tenses up. You may find yourself waking up with neck and back pain.
Since the middle part of the human body is one of the heaviest parts of the body, sleeping on the stomach can cause the spine to curve. This problem can lead to nerve problems and pain that may manifest as tingling or numbness in the fingers and toes. Because you have to turn your head to the side while lying on your stomach, this position can also reduce the size of your airways and decrease blood flow.
If you don’t want to stop sleeping on your stomach, try changing the position a little. Choose the flattest pillow you can find and place only your forehead on it to keep your neck straight. You can also add another thin pillow under your hips to relieve pressure on your lower back.
Experts say sleeping on your side is the best position. By properly supporting a quality mattress, you can be sure that your spine will remain neutral and stretched while you sleep. This position can reduce shoulder, back and neck pain.
It is best to keep your chest and legs as straight as possible and use a medium-sized, slightly firm pillow or an ergonomic pillow under your head and neck. Some side sleepers also place a pillow between their knees to relieve pressure on the lower back.
Sleeping on your side keeps your airways as open as possible, which can minimize snoring and reduce sleep apnea symptoms. People with back and neck pain, arthritis and reflux are usually advised to sleep on their side.
If you are pregnant, sleeping on your left side can improve kidney function and reduce swelling in your legs.
sleep on your back
Sleeping on your back is popular among the top three. According to the aforementioned study, about 38% of people sleep on their backs.
By lying on a mattress, you can maintain the natural neutral position of the spine and reduce back pain. People with acid reflux may find that this position reduces the symptoms they experience, especially when they sleep on their back with a pillow to keep their head up.
If you snore or have sleep apnea, sleeping on your back can make these conditions worse. When you relax and fall asleep, the soft tissues of the throat and tongue relax. Gravity naturally pulls them into the airway, which can restrict airflow and cause apnea or increased snoring.
You can change the position when sleeping on your back by placing a neck pillow or a low pillow under your neck and a large roller pillow to support your knees. Both supplements can reduce stress on the lower back.
If you have trouble getting a good night’s rest or find yourself waking up with discomfort or body pain, you may want to adjust your sleeping position. You can also talk to your healthcare provider or sleep specialist to learn more about how your sleep can affect your health.