Do you sleep on your stomach, back or side? Or if you are anything like me just curled up into a ball… When we curl up into bed each night the last thing on our minds is our sleep position, but this often plays a critical role in how well we sleep.
Most of us will have already have a favourite sleep position. But have you ever thought about how your sleeping position may be affecting your sleep? Your sleep position not only plays a large role in your sleep quality but can be linked to many sleep issues; back and neck pain, snoring and sleep apnea. Maybe it’s time to take a look at changing up your current sleep position, to improve your quality of sleep!
Foetal position – The foetal position, according to the National Sleep Foundation, is the most popular sleep position with 41% of adults choosing this position. The foetal position has many health benefits, including helping reduce lower back pain. This is the ideal position for pregnancy and decreases snoring. But if you suffer from any joint pain or stiffness, this position might not be ideal for you as you may find yourself feeling sore the next morning.
Back – Sleeping on your back isn’t always the most popular position, but it does offer the most health benefits. The biggest one being it protects your spine. By sleeping on your back, your head, neck and spine align, which is a neutral position meaning no added pressure. This position can also help relieve hip and knee pain. However, sleeping on your back when you suffer some snoring or sleep apnea isn’t recommend, as it can narrow your airways making breathing more difficult.
Side– Research suggests that this position is ideal for people who suffer from snoring or sleep apnea and chronic back pain. When sleeping on your side your airways are left open and your head and neck are aligned. Open nasal airway passages may help prevent snoring and ease your breathing. The downside to sleeping on your side is it can cause stiffness in your shoulders and it can also lead to jaw tightness.
Stomach– Sorry to all those stomach sleepers out there but sleeping on your stomach is the position with the most negative effects. This position causes your back to flex unnaturally and strains your spine and ligaments, which makes it difficult to maintain a neutral position when you are sleeping. This position is most likely to cause both neck and back pain due to the added unnecessary strain to your muscles and joints, which is why you might be finding yourself waking up sore and tired.
Overall, no matter which position you sleep in, keeping your spine properly aligned is most important and your sleep position plays a big role in this. That is why it is important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each sleep position and finding what works best for you, making sure to take into consideration any specific health issues you have.