Is your favourite sleep position helping or harming you?

By: Health Local Staff Aug 12, 2013
Sleeping on your side

Stomach sleepers, side sleepers and everything in between, can how you sleep affect your health?

Recent studies have shown that getting adequate sleep is one of the most important things you can do to maintain physical and mental health. But does your sleep position make a difference? Let’s find out.

Side Sleepers

Sleeping on your side is the most common sleep position according to sleep experts. In fact, approximately 60% of all adults sleep on their side. Just because the position is the most popular, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Some sleep studies suggest that sleeping on your side results in less quality sleep and fewer hours of REM sleep. The popularity of the position might have more to do with lack of room due to sharing the bed with someone else that inhibits the ability to spread out.

Side sleep can be beneficial for those who suffer from acid reflux or back pain, but it can be detrimental to pregnant women. If you sleep on your side try using a thicker pillow to cut down on neck strain. Also, a small pillow in-between the legs can help keep your hips and spine in alignment.

Stomach Sleepers

Sleep experts believe this particular sleep position is the most troublesome for your health. Why? They say it puts the most pressure on your lower back and neck. When you lay on your stomach your head and neck are forced to turn to one side, which can cause soreness, pain and stiffness. For those who sleep on their stomach it is best to use a flat pillow, and to keep your body as flat as possible. A flat pillow will help keep your back and neck in a straight line causing less pressure to be put on those areas. But sleeping on your stomach does have its benefits. It can help reduce snoring by keeping the airways opened.

Back Sleepers

Sleep researchers say sleeping on your back is the best. Sleeping on your back keeps the head and neck in a neutral position (provided you have a fairly flat pillow) and keeps your spine in a healthy position. The position is also known as “The Soldier.” But just like the other sleep positions – there are a few downsides. Research shows that sleeping on your back can increase snoring and lead to exacerbated heartburn.

Fetal Position

The fetal position consists of lying on one side with your legs curled up towards your chest. This position can help improve digestion, but it can put stress on your organs. If you like sleeping in the fetal position try sleeping on the right side to avoid the organ stress. This position can also cause stiffness in your shoulders.

What position do you sleep in?

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