Good sleep is a pre-requisite for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. A good night’s sleep should be relaxing and help us in being productive on the following day. In addition to having a suitable mattress and sleep schedule, your sleeping position is going to be important as well. On average, a human being sleeps for one-third of life.
Sleeping position is a matter of personal preference but you may need to switch to a new sleeping position if you wake up with pain. The position you sleep is going to affect how good your sleep has been, which is going to have a huge impact on your health.
How sleeping positions can affect your health?
When you are young and healthy, your sleeping position is not going to matter much unless you start having aches in the body on waking up. But when you start growing old, the joints and bones start to become weak, muscles start weakening and, your sleeping position becomes an important part of good sleep. There are going to be various types of issues that need to be dealt with for avoiding any pain and discomfort. Uncomfortable sleeping positions may result in some health issues, like pain in the back and neck, aggravation of sinuses resulting in snoring and sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn. Some people who are very conscious about their facial looks should be particular about their sleeping positions as any inappropriate position may speed up chronic changes to their skin.
5 Best Sleeping Positions
Some people sleep by laying flat on their backs. People experiencing stiffness and any physical pain in their bodies feel comfortable by sleeping in a back-sleeping position. If you are suffering from arthritis then this is the sleeping position that you should sleep in during the night. If you sleep on your back, it supports the natural curve of your spinal cord and the weight gets distributed evenly resulting in no undue pressure on any particular point. There is one type of mattress that provides a perfect balance between softness and firmness which is a pillow-top mattress. The top plushy layer on top gives you a luxury feel while the underlying layers provide just the right amount of support you need.
The pillow under your head should be only high enough so that it supports your head, the natural curve of your neck and your shoulders. Keeping a small pillow under your knees should minimize stress on your lower spine.
If you sleep on your back, it can help you in reducing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux. If you have suffered from GERD then ensure you sleep on your back with the position of your esophagus is higher than your stomach by having a good pillow to support this.
Also, if you are worried about the skin of your face then sleep on your back because there is not going to be any kind of pressing of the face in the pillow resulting in adding creases and lines to the skin of your face that may grow into wrinkles sooner than later.
If you have sinuses, avoid sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your back is not going to help if you snore or have sleep apnoea, it may worsen your condition.
The Soldier Position
The soldier position is like when a person sleeps on their back with straightened arms lying at their sides, like a soldier who has been ordered to stand in attention. It is a common sleeping position.
Like back-sleeping position, it allows your spine to rest comfortably and keeps your body in natural alignment. This position has all the goodness of back-sleeping whether it is for avoiding joint pains or reducing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD or delaying the onset of wrinkles by avoiding face creases or lines due to crouching face into the pillow.
Like back-sleeping, it has the same pitfalls when it comes to snoring and sleep apnoea.
The Side Sleeping Position
Side sleeping is how most of us sleep, second to back sleeping. Sleeping on your side helps the lymphatic system (a network of tissues and organs that serves as a drainage system) of your brain to flush out toxins and harmful proteins that result in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia.
Studies have shown that if you have acid reflux then sleeping on the left side is beneficial. It helps in digestion as well. Doctors have been advising pregnant women to sleep on their left side so as to help the blood circulation to the placenta. Sleeping on the side also reduces the snoring problem and is helpful to people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea. Sleeping on the right side helps in reducing heartbeat rate and blood pressure.
Some of the drawbacks of side sleeping are the development of wrinkles sooner than later because of the crouching of the side of the face into the pillow. Also, the blood circulation in the arm is going to be disrupted because of the load of the body on the resting arm.
The Fetal Position
Another variation of side sleeping is the fetal position. In this, a person curls up legs closer to the chest than stretching them out while sleeping on a side. Some studies have shown that this sleeping position is more popular among women. This position is good for pregnant women as it allows good blood circulation to the placenta and prevents your uterus from pressing against your liver. 41 percent of adults like and have a preference for this sleeping position.
Sleeping in a fetal position has more ill effects than side sleeping. The curved back is not good for the spine and bent knees may result in pain in knees. In addition, this position may restrict the diaphragm making it difficult to breathe normally.
The Spooning Position
Studies have shown that 94 percent of couples who cuddle while asleep, one way or another have a happy relationship. In the spooning sleeping position, one partner acts as a “big spoon”, cocooning and holding the other from the back in a sideways hug. The spooning position is a full-contact position that can elevate the emotional coefficient between the couple and will result in a couple having heightened comfort level during the day when in the company of each other.
Spooning allows stimulation that results in the release of oxytocin which enhances bonding and decrease in stress level.
Like other sleeping positions, this one has its own pros and cons. One of the cons is that one partner may get jostled by another during the night resulting in fragmented sleep.
The best sleeping position for you is the one that is going to make you most comfortable without putting any strain on joints, bones or muscles. It should help in keeping your head, spine, shoulders, and hips aligned.