Why Your Sleeping Position Matters for Your Health

Written by on November 4, 2018 in Health, Prevention with 0 Comments

By Laurie Larson

Many people understand the implications of sacrificing sleep and the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation; however, many are not conscious of the importance of the manner in which you sleep and how your health can be implicated.

This guide will break down for you how each sleeping position could be affecting your overall health.

Sleeping on your stomach

Stretching out on your stomach at night is the red-headed stepchild of sleeping positions; only 7% of American adults report a preference for sleeping on their stomach.

The lack of interest in this position is beneficial for sleepers as it may be the worst position in terms of your health. In terms of your musculoskeletal health, this is a position you should stay far away from. Because of the way your head is elevated on the pillow, stomach sleeping adds a ton of pressure to your chest and especially your lower back. This will leave your spine in an unnatural curvature which can lead to pain in the morning.

Sleeping on your stomach can also cause challenges with your breathing. With your face shoved in the pillow, you may have trouble breathing comfortably. In order to try to maintain regular breathing, you’ll have to completely turn your neck to the side all night, which will also contribute to morning time pain. This position is also feared in the beauty community because of its infamy for accelerating wrinkle development on the face and neck. Overall, this stomach sleeping is not ideal for waking up on the right side of the bed in the morning.

Sleeping on your side

Side sleeping is fairly common, particularly in the fetal position. Many sleepers report finding comfort in this position, but it may also bring along negative health effects. The challenge for side sleepers is achieving an even distribution of your body weight in order to avoid pain in the pressure points of your shoulders, hips and knees.

When you sleep on your side, half of your body is forced under the crushing power of your body weight. This can cause pain and numbness both while sleeping and in the morning. A key factor when you’re a side sleeper is making sure you’re sleeping on a supportive surface which allows for some bodily contour but provides enough support to keep your spine in proper alignment to prevent aches in the morning.

Side sleeping can also lead to more neck and back pain when you curl in a fetal position. To keep your body in its most natural alignment, try sleeping in an elongated, straight position instead of curled inwards.

Sleeping on your back

There are some major benefits to sleeping on your back. Namely, this is the best position for proper spinal alignment and lowering your risk of waking up with pain in the morning. Also, without your face shoved against the pillow you free yourself from the risks of accelerated wrinkle development associated with stomach and side sleeping.

Before you start forcing yourself to learn how to be a back sleeper, you should know that this isn’t a perfect position either. When you sleep on your back you can experience difficulties breathing as your tongue collapses your airways. You also may be more susceptible to snoring or even sleep apnea. To try to avoid this, you may want to add an extra pillow under your head. An elevated position can help prevent your tongue from falling back in your throat.

Each sleeping position has its risks and benefits, so it’s up to you to determine which works best for you. Just make sure you’re finding comfort and getting the proper rest you need. Happy sleeping!

About the Author:

Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based in NC. She writes on home, health, and lifestyle topics.

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