How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health
Written: Editor | February 20, 2023
Are you a back sleeper, side sleeper, or stomach sleeper? Most of us sleep on our back, side, or stomach at least once a night. But is there a right way to sleep that can improve your sleep quality and your health? While sleeping position can’t determine your personality or guarantee good sleep quality, it does have the potential to affect how restful your sleep is.
In this blog, we’ll uncover the best sleep position for your body and the health benefits of sleeping on your side. We’ll also discuss the drawbacks of sleeping on your stomach as well as back sleeping.
What Is the Most Common Sleep Position?
The best sleep position varies depending on the individual and their health history. The most common sleep position is sleeping on your side or back, with the fetal position being the next popular choice.
However, sleeping on your stomach is the unhealthiest position to sleep in as it increases the risk of developing various health problems. Additionally, it is important to take into consideration the individual’s pain levels when choosing a sleep position as this can affect how comfortable they feel during sleep .
What Is the Best Sleep Position?
The best sleep position is determined by a person’s preference, body type, and sleeping style. Sleeping on your side or back is the most common sleep position.
Sleeping on your back helps you snuggle down and relax more easily, but can cause back pain. Sleeping on your side can also be beneficial for back pain, but it can cause stiffness and soreness in the neck and shoulders.
The fetal position with legs folded under the body and head bent over the knees is another popular position for sleep. This position helps to reduce pain in the back and hips, but it can result in spine issues. Furthermore, stomach sleeping is considered the worst position for health as it can result in neck pain, hip pain, and back pain. To prevent this discomfort, people with arthritis in the knees, hips, and back should focus on sleeping with a neck/shoulder supported pillow and wearing a wrist splint when they sleep.
Worst: Sleeping on Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is the most unhealthiest position to sleep in as it puts the most pressure on the spine and flattens the natural curve of the spine. This position can lead to pain upon waking as it places increased pressure on the spine. Sleeping on the stomach also poses health risks due to the pressure put on the neck and back. This position can cause neck and upper back pain as it requires the neck to twist excessively to breathe. Additionally, sleeping on the stomach can lead to structural spinal changes and facial wrinkles due to the pressure put on these areas. Instead, the best sleep position is sleeping with your back supported by a pillow or mattress. This allows for better alignment of body parts while sleeping, reducing pain and discomfort.
Bad: Sleeping in the Fetal Position
It is not recommended to sleep in the fetal position as it can cause strain and discomfort in the neck and back due to the extreme curvature of the spine. Sleeping in the fetal position can also lead to stiffness and soreness in the neck and upper back. Instead, it is best to sleep on your side or on your stomach, as these positions allow for better alignment of the spine without putting pressure on it. Instead of sleeping in the fetal position, it would be best to sleep on your side or on your stomach, as these positions allow for better alignment of the spine without causing pain or discomfort. Besides, side sleeping or sleeping on the stomach can promote better alignment of the spine and ease pain and discomfort.
Better: Sleeping on Your Back
Sleeping on your back is the second most common sleeping position and can help prevent neck, shoulder, and back pain. Sleeping on your back can reduce issues related to acid reflux and may be beneficial for people with lumbar spinal pain and neck pain. The sleeping position allows the weight of the body to be evenly distributed between the upper and lower body and prevents any potential aches in the neck or back. This sleeping position can also help reduce wrinkles and may be beneficial for relieving lower back pain.
Sleeping on your back can help distribute body weight evenly, which is beneficial for anyone who experiences aches in the neck or back while sleeping. Sleeping on your back also helps relieve congestion of a stuffy nose or allergies. Additionally, sleeping on your back can help prevent wrinkles as it allows the face to breathe freely. Overall, sleeping on your back is a great position for people who sleep on their stomachs or side sleepers and can help promote overall health and well-being.
Best: Sleeping on Your Side
Sleeping on your side is the most comfortable sleep position for most people. It allows the spine to remain in a neutral position and reduce neck, back, and shoulder pain when the body is in an elongated position. This position also reduces snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. People with arthritis, acid reflux, or neck or back problems may find sleeping on their side beneficial. While side sleeping is the most comfortable position for most people, it is not always possible. For instance, pregnant women and people who sleep on their stomach may find it uncomfortable to sleep on their side. Instead of sleeping on one side all night long, alternate between sleeping on your back and your side.
The link between sleeping position and personality
It’s common to see people sleeping in a fetal position on the ground or in a bed. This position is associated with sensitivity, anxiety, and a desire for comfort. People who sleep on their side with arms outstretched may be open-natured but tend to be suspicious and determined. Stomach sleepers are known to have dreams that are more vivid, intense, and sexual. Right-side sleepers may experience fewer nightmares than left-side sleepers. Finally, individuals who sleep on their stomach with hands up or under the pillow may be sociable and dislike criticism.
However, the position of sleep doesn’t only affect an individual’s health, but also personality. Thus, it’s essential to know the correct position of sleep for optimal health and well-being.
The link between sleeping position and your health
Sleep position has been linked to your health in a variety of ways. Sleeping on your back can reduce strain on your neck, head, and spine, but has been linked to snoring. Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position for your health, as it can strain your back. Sleeping on your side or stomach can also lead to poor sleep quality, which has been linked to issues like sleep apnea and obesity. Furthermore, sleeping in the fetal position has been associated with lower back pain, discomfort, numbness, difficulty breathing, and even seizures.
The best sleeping position for overall health is sleeping on your side or back. In this position, you can move naturally without being restricted by the mattress or pillowcase. Additionally, sleeping in a comfortable position promotes good sleep quality and can reduce the risk of snoring and sleep apnea. If you must sleep on your stomach, consider wearing a wrist splint when sleeping in the fetal position. This may help reduce back strain and improve sleep quality.
The side sleeping position is recommended for people with snoring or sleep-related breathing issues, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Side sleeping can help promote better air flow and is more comfortable for people with sleep apnea, who tend to sleep on their back. Side sleeping can also reduce neck and back pain and the decision to sleep on the left or right side can depend on health problems, such as back pain or circulation problems. Sleeping on the left side during pregnancy has been shown to reduce pressure on internal organs that can lead to health complications. In addition to these health benefits, side sleeping position has been shown to improve cognitive function and lower the risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Stomach sleeping can be risky due to the strain on the neck and back. It is best avoided because it doesn’t offer much back support and makes it harder to breathe. Sleeping on your stomach while pregnant may put the mother and fetus at risk of serious health issues. Additionally, sleeping on your stomach can lead to facial wrinkles and throw the spine out of alignment. Instead, it is best to sleep on your side or back, allowing for better support of the back and neck. In addition to sleep position, it is important to take quality sleep into consideration when deciding upon a sleeping position.
Sleeping on your back can help align your spine and reduce neck pain. Sleeping on your back may not be best for people with sleep apnea or snoring issues, as sleeping on your back puts pressure on the throat and can lead to sleep apnea. If you sleep on your back and snore, it is best to sleep in a position that allows air to flow freely through your mouth and nose, such as sleeping on your side or using a pillow between your knees or lower back.
If you sleep better on your stomach, back sleeping may be uncomfortable. Instead, use pillows under the knees or lower back to make sleeping on the back more comfortable and beneficial. Pillows placed under the knees or lower back can help provide extra support to the back while also allowing air flow. If sleeping on the back causes pain or discomfort, try sleeping in a neutral position instead. For people with back pain, sleeping on the back in a neutral position can help reduce stiffness and pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the healthiest position to sleep?
The healthiest position to sleep in is on your back. Sleeping on your back is the best position for your spine, as it helps keep the spine in a more natural position. It also prevents neck pain, back pain, and breathing problems. If sleeping on your back causes lower back pain, you can modify the position slightly to help reduce discomfort.
The next most popular sleep position is the fetal position, which can be beneficial if done correctly. However, sleeping in the fetal position continuously can lead to stiffness and soreness of the hip joints.
Finally, sleep experts advise not to sleep on your stomach as this position can cause neck pain due to the unnatural alignment of the neck and back.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or other sleep-related disorders, you should discuss with your clinician the best way to modify your sleeping habits based on their recommendation.
What is the unhealthiest sleeping position?
If you’re trying to sleep comfortably, then the unhealthiest position that you can sleep in is on your stomach. This sleeping position flattens the natural curve of your spine and puts too much pressure on the muscles and joints. It also increases pressure on the spinal tissues, delays recovery in those with a history of spinal injury and can cause structural spinal changes.
Additionally, sleeping in the fetal position can become uncomfortable as you age due to tightness and soreness of the back muscles and joints. Lastly, turning your neck to one side while sleeping on your stomach can cause pain in your neck and upper back area.
How sleeping on your left side affects your health?
Sleeping on your left side can have many benefits for your health. It can help reduce neck pain, lower back pain, improved breathing for people with heart failure and reduced problems associated with acid reflux.
When sleeping on the left side, the pressure on the spine is decreased as compared to sleeping on the back or right side. This position of sleep also makes it easier to breathe which might be beneficial for people with heart failure. Furthermore, sleeping this position may help reduce acid reflux symptoms when the head is elevated with a pillow during sleep.
Keep in mind that sleeping on your left side is not the only position that can help improve your health. You can experiment and find the position that provides you with the most comfort while sleeping and that best suits your body type.
Sleeping position plays a crucial role in the quality of sleep. It is essential to sleep on a mattress that provides ample support and promotes the right sleeping position for optimal sleep quality. A mattress that is firm and fits your body shape, along with comfortable pillows and a supportive pillow position, will help you sleep better. Additionally, it is helpful to maintain a sleep routine that allows for seven to nine hours of sleep every night and waking up at the same time every day.