Have you ever considered the importance of a good sleeping posture? While you may or may not have a preference, sleeping positions affect your health as well as the quality of your slumber.
Learn how to sleep better and the importance of sleep positions. Here are eight common sleeping positions and how they can affect your well-being.
This is generally considered to be the best sleeping position for your head, spine and neck as long as you don’t use too many pillows. However, back-sleepers are more prone to snoring and sleep apnoea than those who sleep in other positions.
Also known as the “starfish”, this sleeping position is good for your back and is also said to prevent facial wrinkles and skin breakouts. However, similar to the arms-down back-sleeping position, it also can cause snoring and problems with acid reflux. In addition, having your arms up can place unnecessary pressure on the nerves in your shoulders, causing pain and discomfort.
Sleeping on your stomach can improve digestion; however, unless you have somehow developed a way to breathe through your pillow, you will need to tilt your face, putting a lot of strain on your neck. It can also cause neck and back pain since the curve of your spine is unsupported.
Sleeping in the fetal position, curled up into a ball with your knees drawn into your chest and your chin tilted downwards may be comfortable, but it can strain your neck and back.
The extreme curl of this position can also restrict deep breathing. However, this fetal position may be the best sleeping posture if you are pregnant or experiencing problems with snoring.
Your spine is best supported in its natural curve when sleeping in this position. It can help reduce back and neck pain while also reducing the risk of sleep apnoea. However, the downside is that it may contribute to skin ageing due to gravity, resulting in facial wrinkles and sagging breasts.
This position has many of the same benefits as sleeping on your side with your arms positioned straight down. However, side-sleeping can cause shoulder and arm discomfort due to restricted blood flow and pressure on the nerves, which may be exacerbated by having your arms out in front of you.
If you are one of many side sleepers, the side you sleep on makes a difference. Sleeping on your right side can worsen heartburn while sleeping on your left side can strain your internal organs such as your liver, lungs and stomach, though this position may minimise acid reflux. Pregnant women are generally advised to sleep on their left side as this improves circulation to the foetus.
Whatever sleeping position you prefer, you will most likely get a better night’s rest with fewer aches and pains in the morning if you support your body with a pillow. Back-sleepers can place a small pillow under the arch of their spine, side sleepers can have a pillow between their knees while stomach-sleepers can put a pillow under their hips to support their joints.
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This article was last reviewed on
22 Nov 2023
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