What’s the best way to sleep? Should you sleep on your back, left side, right side, or stomach? We’ve told you about the many benefits of a good night’s rest, and we’ve told you about the drawbacks if you’re not getting enough sleep. A good quality mattress plays a big role, but sleeping positions can be a factor as well. The position in which you sleep can even affect snoring, heartburn, or lead to back & neck pain. No matter how you try to go to sleep, there’s a chance you’ll wake up in a totally different position. So, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each of these sleeping positions.
Sleeping on Your Back
The Good: The two most common positions are referred to as “the starfish” and “the soldier.” Both of these can be beneficial to your back and neck since your spine is not being being held in any bent or unnatural position. This also helps your mattress do the job it was made to do, support your spine. Sleeping on your back can even help you prevent some facial wrinkles. Most of us have woken up at some point with pillow lines on our face - these can actually lead to wrinkles over time!
The Bad: Sleeping on your back tends to be worse for snoring, and for sleep apnea. This position can actually cause the base of the tongue to slightly block the airway, which can lead to snoring and some trouble breathing. For those who do suffer from sleep apnea, typically, a doctor will recommend that the patient sleeps on his or her side. Keep in mind that good spine support doesn’t necessarily translate to a good night’s rest. Some studies suggest that those with the worse sleep quality were sleeping on their back more often than those getting good sleep.
Sleeping on Your Side
The two positions you’ll find most side sleepers in are called “the log” and the classic “fetal position.” Side sleeping is generally reported as the most common position for individuals to be found sleeping in.
The Good: If you are pregnant, doctors say sleeping on your left side is the way to go. This helps with circulation to the heart, and this, of course, is good for both mother and baby. Additionally, sleeping on the back while pregnant applies pressure to the lower back, and as you can imagine, sleeping on the stomach simply is not an option. And if you’re not pregnant, you can still benefit from sleeping on left side. Sleeping on your left side can aid in heartburn and acid reflux relief, which can help you get to sleep easier.
The Bad: One of the most typical side-effects of sleeping on your side is whichever arm you happen to be sleeping on may fall asleep. This might restrict blood flow or apply pressure to nerves, which can lead to that pins and needles or numb feeling. Also, sleeping on your left side can put pressure on the stomach and lungs, but strain to the organ can typically be offset by alternating sides.
Sleeping on Your Stomach
Pros: Unfortunately, there are not many benefits to sleeping on your stomach, but it can help with snoring and some instances of sleep apnea.
Cons: This position definitely has the reputation of being the worst of all the regular sleeping positions. It works against your spine’s natural curve, which may cause low back pain. Plus, when you sleep with your head turned one direction all night it strains the neck. One way you can try to train your body to not sleep on the stomach is to use pillows to gradually force it to sleep on one side or the other.
For something that at times is so easy, there sure is a lot involved when it comes to our sleep. We hope this helps you decide on the best position to sleep according to your specific needs. If you’re having trouble sleeping, no matter what position you’re in, it may be time for a new mattress. Customize your perfect mattress here.