The best sleeping position is a personal choice, however there are a positions that will help you sleep and those that will cause you to wake up with aches and pains. Medical research has shown that the best position to sleep in is on your back whilst using a thin pillow as it allows you to keep you head, beck and spine in a neutral position and therefore elevates back and neck pain, however it will not help with snoring if you’re prone to this. It’s also been said that sleeping on your back reduces wrinkles, however this is very much more of a myth than actual fact and I cannot find any accurate medical research to back this up.
Across the internet, there are many different explanations to the best and worst positions to sleep in with some even taking into account your personality to decide which is the best position to sleep in. Typically however there are three key positions that the average person will sleep in, the back, the side and front. Again, we can look at the Pro’s and Con’s of each position, but which is going to give you the best nights sleep is really a personal choice.
Sleeping On Your Back
As mentioned above, the key benefit to sleeping on your back is your posture. Keeping your head, neck and back in a straight line will benefit you more than anything else as it allows your body to complete relax and not being forced into any contortions.
Before we get into the key con’s, if you’re going to sleep on your back, make sure that you only use a single, soft pillow. The aim of sleeping on your back is to keep your posture straight. If you use multiple pillow, you end up raising the head which creates a kink between the head the shoulders and in turn causes neck pain.
There is also a lot of frankly myths across the internet that sleeping on your back reduces wrinkles on your face. Yes I can see the idea behind this as I understand that allowing the skin around your face to breath rather than it being squeezed up into a pillow at night will help reduce wrinkles, however there is no medical studies or any scientific research to support this.
Sleeping on your back is not all positive as it does promote snoring and sleep apnea. When you sleep on your back, gravity forces the base of your tongue into the airway which obstructs breathing and increase snoring. If you suffer from snoring, it’s generally recommended that you sleep on your side, however if you suffer from back and neck pain, I would advise you to sleep on your back and look at snoring aids to reduce your snoring.
Sleeping On Your Side
Across the world, the sleeping on your side is the number one choice to get a good nights sleep and whilst this information is not entirely accurate given that we’re unconscious during sleep, most people will start off sleeping on their side before moving to other positions.
The best side position to sleep in is the one that keeps your head, neck and spine in a straight line and therefore the number of pillows that you need to achieve this does depend on the width of your shoulders. What you do with your legs, is really a personal choice. The fetal position where you effectively curl up on your side is generally considered a great position to sleep in.
The choice of whether you sleep on the left or the right side is really up to you however sleeping on the left side is generally consider better than sleep on the right side for both blood pressure and digestion. This comes down to how the organs in your body are situated with the heart being on the right side and the stomach being in the middle, but the TUBE being directed towards your mouth on the right side.
Sleeping on the left side, stretches out the heart which allows it to pump better and therefore increasing blood flow and keeps the stomach straight which helps to ease heartburn and acid reflux.
The key problems with sleeping on your side really refers towards the flow of blood around your body. Firstly lying on your side means that most of your upper-body weight is situated directly on your shoulder/arm which causes restricted blood flow to the arms and often causes “pins and needles” where especially the hand has suffered from restrictive blood flow.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended in any cases. I have heard reports that sleeping on your stomach directly reduces snoring, however whilst this is true, the side-effects far out weight any benefits from reduced snoring. If you’re trying to reduce your snoring at night, I would highly recommend that you look at snoring aids, rather than sleeping on your stomach.
The key problem with sleeping on your stomach is that is reduces the natural curve of the spine which can lead to lower back pain, whilst sleeping with your head fixed to one side will also cause neck pain. If this is the only position that you can sleep in, you need to use pillows and start training your body to sleep on the side. Start by sleeping half on the pillow and half on the bed and the increase the number of pillows under you until your lying at 45 degrees.