Everyone has their favorite sleeping position, but does the way you sleep actually matter? The answer is yes. Your sleep position can impact everything from how rested you feel in the morning to back and neck pain, sleep apnea, heartburn, snoring, and more – even breast sag and wrinkles!
You should also understand that you don’t necessarily stay in your get-into-bed position. Your body moves many times during the night in order to prevent muscle numbness. The following describes what’s great (or not) about your preferred sleep position, and how proper sleep positioners can help you stop rolling in your sleep.
With the right pillow, back sleeping keeps your head, neck, and spine aligned and your airways open. Your pillow should prevent your chin from tilting too far down toward your chest. However, it should lift your head slightly so that your stomach is positioned correctly below your esophagus to prevent acid reflux. Sleeping on your back prevents breast sag and facial wrinkles.
- Cons: If you snore or suffer from sleep apnea, you should avoid back sleeping. This is because your tongue can block your airways, making these conditions worse.
Sleeping on your side in a stretched position is the best way to wake up feeling refreshed. Your head and neck are aligned, your esophagus is slightly elevated, and your airways are open. This helps if you suffer from chronic back pain, acid reflux, sleep apnea, or snoring. It’s also the best way to sleep during pregnancy.
- Cons: Because one side of your face is buried in your pillow, your face is vulnerable to wrinkles. If you are a woman, your breasts slope downward, which can lead to breast sag.
- The Fetal Position – Curling up too tight restricts your diaphragm, making it difficult to breathe deeply. If you have an arthritic back or joints, these areas will feel worse.
Is One Side Better Than the Other? – Yes – Sleeping on your left side is best because your bodily organs can’t press uncomfortably against each other. If you are pregnant, your uterus is prevented from pressing against your liver, and good oxygen and blood flows to the fetus are maintained.
Sleeping on your stomach keeps your airways open, which can prevent snoring and sleep apnea. However, it also causes your body core to sink deeper into your mattress while your head and limbs remain higher. This can wreak havoc with the alignment of your spinal column and result in back and neck pain. Also, pressure on your joints, muscles, and organs will cause you to shift around during the night resulting in lower quality sleep.
- Cons: Being overweight or sleeping on a soft mattress (e.g., memory foam) means that the negative effects of stomach sleeping are intensified.
How Can I Change my Sleeping Position?
Choose the best mattress and pillow for your desired position. However, even if you position yourself correctly when you get into bed, you will probably still move around in your sleep. There are various sleep positioners to help you stay in place. It is possible to change your sleeping position and get a better night’s rest.