What Is The Healthiest Sleep Position

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CHRIS TEMPEST

Osteopathic Consultant

Chris is a professional osteopath who qualified from the  European School of Osteopathy with an Integrated Masters of Osteopathy (D.O. M.Ost.), so what he doesn’t know about your body isn’t worth knowing. Learn more about our team.

Did you know that a good night’s sleep makes you wake up energetic and in a good mood? Sadly, not everybody gets the rest they deserve. Your sleeping position is one thing that affects how well, or not, you sleep. Sleeping in the correct position has many health benefits.

Lack of enough sleep can cause various physical and mental issues like:

  • Decrease in cognitive function in children and adults
  • It can lead to chronic fatigue and confusion
  • Sleep patterns are disrupted which affects appetite, social interactions, and mood.

The best sleeping position is the one that you find most comfortable. Some people like sleeping on their stomachs, while others prefer to sleep on their back. Some may also enjoy sleeping on their side. The important thing is that you find the position that works for you and sleep in that position for at least eight hours each night. You can, of course, wake up in another position but it’s still best to get your eight hours of sleep.

Read Our Reviews Of The Best Adjustable Beds for 2022

Which sleeping position is best for your health condition? Read on to find out!

Table of Contents

What Is The Healthiest Sleep Position

Side Sleepers

Side sleeping is one of the most common and best sleeping positions and it is also the healthiest position to sleep in. Side sleeping has many benefits including improved blood circulation, better breathing, and more oxygen saturation. 

Furthermore, side sleeping encourages a natural spine alignment so people with back problems or arthritis can find relief.  it also promotes better blood circulation and is recommended for those who have heart disease, high blood pressure, snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux. Dont’ miss our article on how adjustable beds can help side sleepers get into their favourite position.

The Best Sleeping Position During Pregnancy

Side sleeping is the best sleeping position for pregnant women​

Pregnancy has a lot of physical challenges, and sleeping can be one of them. You should sleep on your side with your knees bent because it is the best position for you during pregnancy, but many pregnant women struggle to get comfortable. Your expanding uterus presses on major blood vessels near your stomach (the vena cava), affecting oxygen levels, heart rate, and circulation.

A pregnant woman needs some extra space in bed because her big round belly may make some regular resting positions uncomfortable, so ensure you sleep on a big bed or alone when you are pregnant.

Sleeping on your side is not only recommended, but it’s also essential as it can help improve blood circulation, which is crucial during the pregnancy journey.

Best Sleeping Position For Back Pain

Back pain is a severe condition that can make you miserable and bedridden, thus dependent on other people. However, the correct sleeping position can make a big difference. Slouching causes pressure on the neck and shoulder, which may cause or exacerbate back pain. Sleeping on your side will help reduce that stress better than when you are sleeping on your back. Keeping your neck in line with your spine is one way to avoid putting stress on the discs between the vertebrae in your spine.

Place a pillow between your knees to keep the spine aligned, take pressure off the discs between the vertebrae, and avoid placing any pressure on your neck. A thick pillow is recommended. For added comfort, you can place a pillowcase made of silk or flannel on the pillow before you go to bed. This will help keep your skin cool and make sleeping more comfortable.

Put a pillow between your knees - SleepyTips

If you are worried about wrinkles, side sleeping is not the best sleeping position for you. When you sleep on your side, the face is pressed into the pillow or mattress, thus causing wrinkles to form.

If you have shoulder and neck pain, sleeping on your side may not be comfortable because it leads to tightness and soreness in your neck and shoulders. It may also be the cause of shoulder and neck pain especially when you sleep on your side for too long. 

If this is the case, it might be wise to look into getting the proper pillow and mattress so that there is less tension in your neck and shoulders, or try shifting positions so that your head does not fall to one side all night long.

Left Or Right Side Which is the best?

Side sleeping is healthy as it can help with digestion and stomach problems. The best side to sleep on is the left side, as this reduces pressure on internal organs. Sleeping on the right side can  increase pressure and cause pain in the heart and ovaries for women.

Sleeping on the right side can worsen the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is because the stomach acids are pushing up against the esophagus. Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of GERD. This symptom will be exacerbated by sleeping on ones right side because this increases intra-abdominal pressure.

Back Sleepers

The back sleeping position is thought to be the second most popular sleeping position. The benefits of back sleeping are that it helps with digestion, heartburn, reflux, stomach pain, headaches, and lower back pain.

When lying flat on your back, your spine is in a neutral alignment, and your body weight is evenly distributed. When in the back sleeping position, the joints of the lower vertebrae are in an optimal position to support their load. The stomach muscles and abdominal organs get enough space to function well.

Best Sleeping Position For Neck Pain

Sleeping on the stomach is typically not beneficial for the neck because it causes it to be more misaligned. Sleeping on your side can also cause neck pain because you exert pressure on your neck and shoulders. Back sleeping, however, prevents misalignment of the neck and thus sleep better.

There are a number of things that you can do to reduce the pain and promote better sleep. You can use a pillow when you sleep or try sleeping on your back. You may also need to see a chiropractor in order to address any misalignments in your spine and neck.

Best Sleep Position For Stuffy Nose

Back sleeping has been shown to open your airways and can be beneficial if you have allergies or a stuffy nose. If you experience nasal congestion, avoid lying flat on your back. Instead, use pillows to prop your head up so that you are almost in a sitting position. This will help open up your airways, clear your throat, and let the mucus drain, and it will also help keep you from snoring.

Drawbacks Of Back Sleeping

Back sleeping is not suitable for people suffering from sleep apnea because their throat muscles relax when they are sleeping on their back which causes the soft tissue in the back of the mouth to block the airway.

Don’t sleep on your back if you snore. Sleeping on your back worsens snoring because the airway becomes blocked.

Research suggests that back sleeping when you are in the third trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk of stillbirths. However, medical associations don’t have proof yet and so ensure you seek advice from health experts if you develop any health issues while you are pregnant.

Additionally, back sleeping is a bad idea for older adults and heavier people as it can cause neck and spine compression. 

This can lead to snoring and a high risk of pulmonary infections. Medical associations have not yet examined this, so please consult with them before you make any significant changes to how you sleep (especially if you’re pregnant). It also becomes increasingly harder to breathe when lying on your back as you get older or heavier.

Front Sleepers/ Stomach Sleepers

The least popular sleep position is stomach sleeping, and this is due to the potential health problems that can be encountered. As you sleep on your stomach, your neck and neck muscles are forced to work hard as they naturally bend to one side or the other during the extension of the neck. This constant pain in neck and neck muscles could lead to stiff neck and neck pain.

Another problem with this position is the likelihood of snoring as air flows through your mouth into your throat, leading to a series of facial problems such as wrinkles and drooping skin. Pressing your stomach on the mattress as you sleep could also lead to lung problems such as asthma and bronchitis.

When you sleep on your stomach, the weight of your head will cause pressure in one direction, which leads to a twisting of the spine and neck. This is not only uncomfortable but also causes pain.

How To Improve Stomach Sleeping Position_

How To Improve Stomach Sleeping Position

It’s not easy to go from stomach sleeping to another sleeping position. The best thing you can do is find ways to sleep better on your stomach. You can use a pillow to elevate your hips, thus improving spinal alignment.

When you sleep on your stomach, your hips and stomach may sink into the mattress, thus affecting your spine’s alignment, leading to severe back pain. The right mattress will take some of this stress off you because it will allow your spine to have a natural curve rather than flattening out. You’ll feel much better by taking care of this little detail because you will be in a more comfy position.

If you sleep on your stomach and find it difficult to change, try positioning a pillow so that it covers your upper body and push your elbows into the pillow. This will help relieve some of the tension in your neck and allow your spine to align with gravity better, thus improving your sleep quality and overall health.

Who Stomach Sleeping Is Not For

Sadly people who sleep on their stomachs are more likely to develop wrinkles! That’s because when you sleep on your stomach, the back of your head stays in one place, and the weight of your face is not dispersed evenly across your pillow. The pressure can create lines around your eyes, mouth, and forehead.

It is essential to know the importance of proper sleep positions when pregnant. One should not sleep on their stomach because it puts undue pressure on the vena cava, restricting blood flow. This may lead to decreased oxygen levels in the mother’s heart or heart failure.

Pregnant women are more susceptible to sleep disruption when they sleep on their stomachs due to natural changes in their bodies. Their stomach is larger, which means there is more pressure on the woman’s body. Tossing and turning will disrupt their sleep, and thus they will not have a good night’s sleep.

Sleeping on your stomach can make your neck and back problems worse by adding more pressure on those areas. Not getting enough air while you sleep can also lead to sleep apnea, which causes you to wake up feeling tired instead of refreshed.

Conclusion

Although the fetal position is the healthiest sleep position, it is not possible to just decide one day to change your sleeping position. That is why the best thing you can do is modify your sleeping position to get maximum benefits from it.

To modify your sleeping position, you need to find a position as close as possible to the fetal position. You can try lying on your back with a pillow under your head, knees bent, and feet flat on the bed with your fingers pointing towards the ceiling. If you’re really having trouble, read our adjustable bed buyer’s guide to learn about how they could be a longer term solution.

You can also sleep on your stomach but ensure you lie facedown on the floor with lower legs propped up by something such as pillows. Use another pillow under your head to support your neck, and put pillows underneath your arms for extra comfort. This is not the most comfortable position but is also not difficult to maintain for long periods.