It can be tempting to crash onto a bed or sofa when we get home from a 40-hour work week. But have you ever noticed that you wake up and still feel completely drained? Does your back ache when you roll out of bed? Well, chances are you might not be sleeping in the recommended positions. Learning about the best sleeping positions is a crucial step in ensuring that you not only wake up well-rested but also without sore joints or muscles.
Best Sleeping Positions
1. On Your Back
You know, not very many people do this one as most opt for the fetal position or sleeping on their sides. But, there are some notable benefits to sleeping on your back.
Dermatologists weighed in on this position and they had some insightful benefits to share. Dr. Ava Shamban said that this is one of the best sleeping positions because it can help prevent neck and back problems. Spine Health also spoke about the ways you can alleviate neck pain when you sleep and sleeping on your back was one of them. According to them, it’s the best sleeping position for your spine.
There are significant benefits to your skin as well with this position. Shamban said that you’ll reduce the risk of fine lines and wrinkles on the neck with this position because your head won’t be scrunching into your chest. Kachiu Lee, MD, added that sleeping on your back also helps to reduce wrinkles on your face.
This is also considered one of the best sleeping positions because it helps keep breasts from being squished between arms or between your chest and the mattress (if you’re a stomach sleeper). Your breasts remain elevated and maintain their perkiness.
If you’re someone who snores at night then this position might not be the best for you. Additionally, if you’re suffering from sleep apnea, then this is definitely a position to avoid as well as sleeping on your back will only exacerbate the problem.
2. On Your Side
Definitely coming in as one of the more popular positions, sleeping on your side does come with its fair share of benefits.
Sleeping on your side comes with some pros like keeping the spine elongated thereby reducing neck and back pain. This sleeping position is also great if you’re a big snorer because it helps to reduce it.
If you’re pregnant this sleeping position is also one of the best. Baby Center says that sleeping on your back when you’re pregnant can lead to a variety of issues such as making you a bit dizzy if you’re on your back for a long period of time or cutting off nutrients and the flow of blood to your growing baby. So, sleeping on your side, your left side, in particular, is ideal for proper blood flow when you’re pregnant.
Depending on which side you sleep on, there are issues that might be associated with this position. For example, sleeping on the right side of your body you’re more likely to experience acid reflux. The right side of our bodies host a lot of organs and squishing them as you sleep might open the door for that problem to occur.
Sleeping on your side also has the potential to welcome face wrinkles because your face is resting on the pillow all night long.
Worst Sleeping Positions
1. On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach doesn’t have that many benefits, unfortunately. It helps to keep you from snoring, which is essentially its only pro.
This sleeping position is just about the worst one on this list. Healthline laid out a bunch of cons for this position. According to them, sleeping on your stomach leads to numbness and tingling, neck and back pain due to the unnatural curvature of the spine, and obviously a very bad idea if you’re pregnant.
They also laid out that since we carry a lot of weight in our abdomens, sleeping in this position adds extra stress to your back and spine, which not only causes back pain but can lead to additional muscle and joint issues since the spine is in charge of the nerves. When you sleep on your stomach, you’re opening the door for pain just about anywhere in the body.
2. The Fetal Position
There are conflicting reports about this one since it’s technically a side position. Sure, you have a list of pros that come with this, but the cons are also just as prominent.
The fetal position reduces snoring and it’s also a good position for pregnant women because it encourages blood flow to the uterus and prevents the baby from pushing against organs like your liver.
Depending on how tight of a ball you curl yourself into at night, there are some things you should be aware of. If you’re curled too tightly in bed then you’re putting a lot of stress on your spine which will only lead to back problems and additional problems with muscles and joints.
This sleeping position may also lead to breathing problems because you’re putting stress on your diaphragm.
There are indeed some great things associated with this sleeping position but it’s also worth keeping in mind that there are some significant health benefits that might not make this position the best one for your body.
Changing Your Sleeping Position
If you’re someone who sleeps in a not-so-great position then there are ways to train your body to adjust to other patterns. If you’re looking to migrate over to side sleeping or back sleeping then you can follow a few simple tips:
- Get a pillow to fit your needs. Having a proper pillow that props your head up comfortably will allow you to better fall asleep on your back or side.
- Try some meditation. There are lots of apps out there that you can use to help you meditate and control your breathing. These relaxation exercises will help you fall asleep in a safer position. You’ll be relaxed enough to fall asleep in an unfamiliar position.
- Give it time. Don’t think that you’ll be able to sleep in another position in a day or two. It might take about a week or so to adjust, but the payoff will be rewarding.
- If you wake up in your old position, reposition yourself to the new sleeping position. This will help train your body to adjust to the new position.
- Check in with your doctor if you suffer from sleep apnea, joint pain, or additional health concerns. They can suggest better sleep positions for you and provide you with tips on how to better your sleep.
Those are the best and worst sleeping positions for you. Though it might be difficult you can train your body to sleep in other positions it might be worth it in the long run!