Whether you sleep in a cradle position, upside down, or flat on your face, everyone has their favorite go-to sleeping position. When you sleep on the most comfortable mattress wrapped up in your favorite duvet and sheets for roughly 8 hours each night, our bodies naturally form into a position we have deemed the most comfortable. However, your sleeping position doesn’t only determine your comfort levels at night. In fact, the positions you sleep in have many effects on your health. If you have found yourself struggling to get a good night’s rest— perhaps you’re waking up in pain, or waking up your partner throughout the night with your snoring and rustling— your sleeping position may be a determinant of these issues. If you're in the need to know how your go-to sleeping position is affecting your overall health and wellbeing, you need not look further. We have compiled a list of the most common sleeping positions, discussing each one’s advantages and disadvantages. Find out if your sleeping position is the right one for you:
Sleeping on Your Stomach
Also referred to as the “prone position,” here are some advantages and disadvantages of sleeping flat on your stomach.
Advantages: If you snore like no tomorrow, sleeping on your stomach may actually help ease and reduce snoring.
Disadvantages: While sleeping on your stomach can help with your snoring habits, doing so may also cause neck and back pain. Additionally, this sleeping position can create nerve pain as it puts great pressure on your nerves while you sleep.
If you commonly sleep on your stomach, it is generally advised to break this habit. If you’re finding it too difficult to do so, sleeping in this position with your forehead propped up on a supportive pillowallows your body to stay in a neutral position, relieving some of the possible nerve and general pain issues.
Sleeping on Your Back
Commonly considered one of the best sleeping positions, sleeping on your back comes with a relatively even amount of advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages: Sleeping on your back allows for your head, neck and back to be in a neutral position which can mean relief from neck pain. On top of this, sleeping on your back can be beneficial to those who commonly suffer from severe heartburn.
Disadvantages: Although sleeping on your back will be sure to relieve neck pain, there is a possibility that this sleeping position can contribute to lower back pain. With this, sleeping on your back worsens sleep apnea.
For women in their later stages of pregnancy, this sleeping position is not recommended.
Sleeping on Your Side
The most popular sleeping position of them all: sleeping on your side.
Advantages: Recent studies suggest that sleeping on your side can be good for the health of your brain, as sleeping on your side assists with a process called “waste removal” that works to clear harmful debris from the brain. If you frequently snore, sleeping on your side may also be a good go-to position.
Disadvantages: Pressing down on your face while you sleep on your side can cause more wrinkles as you grow older. If you’re concerned with how your sleeping position may be affecting your outer beauty, this may not be the right position for you. With this, sleeping on your side may worsen arthritis.
When determining whether or not you should be sleeping on your side, you’ll need to consider what your main health concerns are.
Sleeping in a Fetal Position
This position is best described as sleeping on your side, with your arms and legs closely tucked in. The advantages and disadvantages of this position prove to be slightly more specific than others.
Advantages: Sleeping in a fetal position is beneficial for pregnant women as the posture employed in this position improves circulation between the mother and the fetus.
Disadvantages: If you have problems with aches and pains in your hips, try to avoid this sleeping position. The nature of this position can negatively affect the joints in your hips.
To improve the fetal position, and to relieve any extra aches and pains while sleeping in this position, placing a pillow between your knees is highly recommended. Depending on your health concerns (your aches and pains, or your breathing patterns) your sleeping position of choice could be greatly affecting you. Consider what your main health concerns are in order to find the best sleeping position for you!