You may or may not have a preference, but your sleeping position can directly affect your health.
Many Americans sleep less than they should, leaving us at greater risk for depression, weight gain, high blood pressure, and several chronic health conditions. The best sleeping posture is generally considered to be sleeping on your back with your arms by your sides and expert-recommended 7 to 8 hours a night.
Your time and position in bed may be messing with your health in unexpected ways, according to sleep experts. Your preferred sleep position could be giving you back and neck pain, tummy troubles, snoring issues, premature wrinkles, and may even say some things about your personality.
Here are five common sleeping positions and how they affect your well-being.
- Good for Preventing neck and back pain,
- Good for reducing acid reflux, because, if the head is elevated, your stomach will be below your esophagus so acid or food can’t come back up.
- makes it easy for your head, neck, and spine to maintain a neutral position, as you’re not forcing any extra curves into your back
- Good for minimizing wrinkles, because nothing is pushing against your face
- Good for maintaining perky breasts, as the weight of your breasts is fully supported, reducing sagginess.
- Encourages Snoring, which is usually most frequent and severe when sleeping on the back.
Perfect pillow for back sleepers are puffy, and the work of such pillows is to keep your head and neck supported without propping your head up too much. You can try the Coop Home Goods Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow ($69.99; amazon.com), which is stuffed with shreds of memory foam so you can adjust the density.
- Good for Preventing neck and back pain
- Side-sleeping is great for overall health, as it reduces snoring and keeps your spine elongated
- Good for reducing acid reflux,
- Good for snoring less,
- Good position for sleeping during pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, sleep on your left side, as it’s ideal for blood flow.
- Your skin and your breasts suffer
- Sleeping on your side can cause you to get wrinkles, as a result of all that smashing of one side of your face into the pillow.
The best pillows for side sleepers should be thick and firm, helping keep your spine in alignment as you snooze. You need to fill the space above your shoulder so your head and neck are supported in a neutral position.
Many sleep specialists recommend side sleepers choose a pillow with a divot in the middle, such as the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow ($44.18; amazon.com).
Good for easing snoring
- For tummy sleepers, your slumber pose may not be helping, as you’re more likely to be restless and toss and turn to get comfortable when you sleep on your belly.
- difficult to maintain a neutral position with your spine
- It can strain your neck and your lower back.
- puts pressure on joints and muscles, which can irritate nerves and lead to pain.
- May also contributes to breast sag, since your breasts are dangling downward, stretching the ligaments.
- Bad for avoiding neck and back pain,
- Not good if you want to minimize wrinkles, and maintain perky breasts.
However, if this is how you like to sleep, you may want to use a very soft pillow or none at all to keep your neck comfortable. In this position, you may have your head to one side for hours at a time, and won’t necessarily feel it immediately. But you may soon start to ache.
More than 40% of people sleep in this curled-up side-sleeping position, as it’s the most common position for women. Studies have shown that women are twice as likely as men to sleep like this.
- Fetal position sleepers may be more likely to be warm, friendly, and sensitive, but may also have a protective shell around you
- Good for Snoring less,
- Good for sleeping during pregnancy
- Exposes you to neck and back pain,
- Not good for minimizing wrinkles, and maintaining perky breasts. If you make this your nightly pose, you may bring on premature facial wrinkles and breast sag
- When you snooze with your knees pulled up high and chin tucked into your chest, you may feel it in the morning, especially if you have an arthritic back or joints.
- This curved position also restricts diaphragmatic breathing.
The Spooning Position
Spooning is a side sleeping position for couples where the person in the back (usually the man) holds the one in the front close to their body.
- stimulates the release of oxytocin, which is a hormone that promotes bonding, decreases stress, and may help you get to sleep more quickly
- Spooning or cuddling for as little as 10 minutes is enough to trigger the release of oxytocin.
- Couples may wake up more frequently sleeping this way.
Mattresses are made of a variety of materials, and the type of material that a mattress is made out of, affect your body temperature. Some are softer, while others are more firm, and when it comes to the firmness of a mattress, you want one that is firm enough to be supportive where you need it, but also soft enough to conform to the shape of your body.
Mattresses can affect snoring and aches, and people who suffer from back pain may be most comfortable on a mattress that is softer. When shopping for a mattress, buy one from a reputable store that will let you test it for several weeks and exchange it if it doesn’t work for you.
If you’re plagued with back pain, try sleeping on your side to reduce pressure on your lower back, and place a pillow between your knees to make sure your hips are in alignment to further reduce low back strain.
Make sure your mattress is supportive enough and that it doesn’t aggravate your back pain, and when getting into and out of bed, swing both legs together and avoid bending at the waist to protect your back.