When it comes to laying our heads down at night, we choose to do so in many different ways. We stick to what works (or what we think works), as we each tend to sleep in the same position night after night.
But what do these positions mean? Is your favored sleep position good for your mind and body? What does it say about your personality? Scientists and psychologists have been studying sleep positions and their effects for years.
Because humans spend about 1/3 of their lives sleeping, it makes sense for us to want to analyze our sleep positions and determine how they affect our lives. It also makes sense that we’d want to figure out what the best ones are.
Well, guess what? We’ve done it for you. Keep reading to learn about 4 of the best sleeping positions. Take your pick and start sleeping better tonight!
1. On Your Back
Only 14% of people sleep on their backs, but it’s one of the best options out there as long as you are making the most of it and you don’t have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing randomly stops and starts. There are a few different types of sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. This can cause airways to narrow or close as you breathe in, causing you to gasp for air. These gasps are so brief that they can go unnoticed and can happen 5 to 30 times every hour, all night long.
Central sleep apnea is when your brain fails to send signals to your breathing muscles.
Complex sleep apnea is when a person suffers from both types of sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous, especially if the tongue falls back into the throat, cutting off air to the brain. That being said, if you don’t suffer from sleep apnea, then sleeping on your back could be your magical position of choice!
Sleeping on your back allows for your head, chest, and spine to relax in a neutral position. If you suffer from acid reflux, rest assured you can keep sleeping on your back. Just prop your head up with a pillow so that your stomach is lower than your esophagus.
Furthermore, sleeping on your back with your face exposed to the air rather than pillows or a mattress, can lead to less wrinkles in the long run!
2. On Your Side
Sleeping on your side can be another great way to sleep for those who suffer from acid reflux.
Some people sleep on their side with their arms down, whereas others sleep with their arms out. Either way can be beneficial as long as your spine is straight. Avoid big, bulky pillows if you sleep on your side as it can put your spine in an awkward position.
The only real downfall to sleeping on your side is that it can cause wrinkles. But which side is best to sleep on?
Opting for the left side can help rid your brain of waste and improve overall circulation. It can also stimulate drainage of toxins from the lymph nodes. If that isn’t magic, I don’t know what is!
3. The Fetal Position
The fetal position is the most popular sleeping choice amongst adults. It’s also one of the most familiar sleeping poses as it’s how we sleep inside the womb.
If you’re pregnant, sleeping in the fetal position on your LEFT side is optimal. It improves circulation in both you and your baby. It will also prevent your uterus from pressing against your liver, which is on the right side.
In this position, you can reduce any strain to your hips by adding a pillow between your legs. And just make sure you’re not balled up too tight in this position as it could cause your back to be a bit sore in the morning.
Sleeping in the fetal position is also a great choice for those who suffer from sleep apnea.
4. On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach doesn’t provide as many benefits as the above-mentioned positions. It can, however, help with digestion which can do wonders for your body.
Instead of laying your head to the right or left, try propping your forehead onto a pillow so that your airways aren’t obstructed.
As is with every sleep position, there are tips for making stomach sleeping optimal. Make sure you’re doing it right to get the most out of your sleep.
Why Are Sleeping Positions so Important?
Finding the right sleep position for you could alleviate that bit of back pain you experience in the mornings. Furthermore, you can effectively help conditions such as sleep apnea and acid reflux so that you aren’t damaging your body or putting yourself in danger.
If you’re pregnant, you can improve circulation to you and your baby and keep your acid reflux at bay.
What about the best sleeping position for men, for example? If a man suffers from acid reflux or tends to snore at night, he should sleep on his side or in the fetal position. A softer pillow will help keep your spine straight and get your body and health the most out of this position.
Did you know that people who earn more tend to sleep better at night? Read about some fun jobs that pay well.
How Will You Sleep Tonight?
Unless your sleep position is directly affecting your nighttime z’s, you don’t necessarily have to change it entirely. It can be hard to change years or a lifetime of habit.
The most magical position for you might be the one you’re already used to. It just might need a bit of tweaking to make it optimal for you.
Try making the best out of your position or try one of the sleeping positions we discussed above!
Want to pair healthy eating with your new sleep routine? Browse our online magazine for some health and fitness tips.