Sleeping on the back, on the side, and on the stomach are believed to be the most common positions to spend your night. But did you know that every position has a definite influence on our health?
There is no golden rule, but there is where to choose from depending on your individual needs and health state as every sleeping position has its own advantages and disadvantages. Back and neck pain prevention, snoring reduction – these are the examples what can be achieved if you decide to change a habit that takes almost one third of our lifetime.
Sleeping on your back
While sleeping on the back, our head, neck, and spine are in a neutral position which results in less tension in these areas. It is important to listen to your body. No tension should be felt in the neck or shoulder groups of muscles. If you feel the tension, try to change the pillow to a flatter one or of a suitable head and/or neck shape. For additional comfort of the spine, put an extra pillow under your knees.
We do not recommend this position if you have a habit of snoring or sleep apnea disorder, which can get even worse due to sleeping on your back.
Sleeping on your side (fetal position)
It’s the most common sleeping position when knees are curled toward the body with a back strongly hunched. In order to loosen up your back, try to lie down on bed and straighten your back and legs more than usual. Otherwise, we squeeze our internal organs, like the diaphragm, which causes weaker oxygen flow during sleeping. Excessive leg contraction can cause muscle tension and too much strain on the joints. That makes us feel heavy and even sore after waking up. For this reason, this position is not recommended for people who suffer from arthritis. Interestingly, people who are affected by spinal canal stenosis should attract knees higher in this position.
Better put an extra pillow between your knees to take the optimal position of your body. A harder cushion is also recommended in order to support your head and neck adequately without stretching or straining the neck muscles.
Sleeping on the stomach
It is hardly possible to keep a neutral spine and neck position while sleeping on your stomach. Due to a big pressure on muscles and joints, stomach-sleepers might experience a number of inconveniences – numbness in the limbs, tingling or even pains.
If you cannot change this position to another one, at least try to forget about the pillow under your head. Yes, it’s comfy and soft, but your neck muscles and cervical vertebrae would not agree with you – a pillow puts a heavy strain on them. It is also not advised for people with degenerative and pain problems in the lumbar spine. To slightly relieve the back in this position, support the pelvis with an additional pillow.
As you can see, your sleeping position is not only about comfort or dreams but also about the health of your body. If you want to have a better and more productive sleep, check out our previous article about Three Sleep Myths – you will be surprised how important is to choose the right mattress or pillow.