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Sleeping Positions and Health

We all know sleep is important for our health… but what about our sleeping positions?

There are several sleeping positions we may find ourselves in. These may include sleeping on our side, our back, in a fetal position, or on our stomach. Each sleeping position carries its own level of health benefits.

Sleeping in a fetal position. This popular sleeping position is good for your spine, and it can also help prevent snoring. A loose (less tightly-curled) fetal position–particularly on your left side–is especially good for health, facilitating breathing and blood circulation.

Sleeping on your stomach. While this sleeping position may reduce snoring, it may not be the healthiest. Sleeping on your stomach can cause neck and back pain, and it can also put pressure on your muscles, causing numbness.

Sleeping on your side. This common sleeping position can be very healthy. Not only does it reduce neck and back pain, but it can also reduce snoring by keeping your airways open, helping you to breathe better. Additionally, placing a pillow between your legs in this sleeping position can provide extra support to both your hips and back.

Sleeping on your back. This sleeping position may be good for quality sleep – your weight is evenly distributed, and your head, neck, and spine are neutrally positioned. Additionally, placing a pillow underneath your knees while sleeping in this position can provide extra support for your spine. Also, using a pillow to support your head can be helpful when sleeping in this position. Sleeping on your back, however, can induce sleep apnea, as well as aggravate snoring and/or digestive problems such as acid reflux.

What’s your preferred sleeping position? What are your thoughts?

Happy Sleeping!

References

Sleeping Positions. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.hcmc.org/clinics/SleepCenter/SleepingPositions/index.htm?clinicDocName=HCMC_CLINICS_440&conditionDocName

Starfish or Freefall? What Your Sleep Position Can Tell You. (2017). Retrieved from http://bettersleep.org/better-sleep/sleep-positions/

The Best Sleep Position for Your Body. (N.d.) Retrieved from https://sleep.org/articles/best-sleep-position/

What’s the Best Position to Sleep In? (2017). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/best-sleep-positions#1

Featured image taken from Flickr.com (user “Jon Huss”).

  • Arshya Gurbani

    Thanks for this post, Chris! If you’re going to spend an ideal 8 hours in a position, that you should do right by your spine!

  • Laurie Hursting

    I often alternate between lying on my left side to aid in digestion and on my right to take some pressure off my ticker (heart).

    Wonder if the firmness of mattress affects the benefits of these positions?

  • Hannah Tuttle

    Great post Chris! Really interesting to learn about how different sleeping positions have different effects on our body!