How you position your body when you sleep is an individual decision based on personal comfort levels. While research has demonstrated that side sleeping is the most common way that people rest, this is certainly not the only beneficial position to consider. Here are some of the advantages of each of the sleeping positions, designed to help you to make an informed choice about encouraging your own good sleeping habits.
Benefits of Sleeping on Your Side
Traditionally, scientists have long advocated the benefits of sleeping on your left side. While many experts have touted the decrease in heartburn that can result from adopting this sleep position, studies have demonstrated mixed results. Advocates of this sleeping position also say that it aids in digestion and improves circulation throughout the body. The reason that sleeping on the left side is the traditionally preferred position is because of basic anatomy and the location of some of the body’s crucial organs.
Advocates of sleeping specifically on your right side point to the reduced pressure on the heart that occurs in this position. It has been hypothesized that this position reduces the pressure on the heart and minimizes the disconcerting awareness of the heart beating up against the left section of the chest wall.
Regardless of the side on which you sleep, in general, sleeping on your side is the best position for those people with sleep apnea because it keeps the airways open and functioning properly. Side sleeping is also the best choice if you tend to snore and keep others awake at night. In addition, sleeping on your side has been shown to decrease snoring while boosting brainpower.
It is better to sleep as straight as possible while on your side, however, most people tend to curl up into a bit of a fetal position for additional comfort measures. Placing a pillow between the knees when curled up may help to prevent lingering soreness and alleviate pressure on the back.
Benefits of Sleeping on Your Back
Back sleeping is not for everyone. However, some people swear by the many benefits of this sleep position. Sleeping on your back can help to keep your spine aligned, preventing certain types of pain and discomfort. This position can also help to relieve buildup in the sinus cavity while also minimizing the chances of tension headaches. Skincare enthusiasts swear that sleeping on your back may help to mitigate wrinkles and other skin issues related to irritation from the pillowcase. The greatest drawback of back sleeping is that it generally increases the amount of snoring.
Benefits of Sleeping on Your Stomach
You have to look harder to find documented benefits of sleeping on your stomach. Those who struggle with snoring often find relief with this position as it opens up airways. However, stomach sleeping can be a significant issue for those who suffer from back problems because of the pressure that this position puts on the spine. It may also lead to neck strain if your head stays turned to the same side throughout the night.
What is the Best Position for Sleep?
At the end of the day, the best sleep position for you is the one that gives you the most restful night of sleep. Sleep deprivation can contribute to a host of health issues, making it important that you find the best position to encourage quality rest each night. Your personal health issues and struggles are what should dictate your preferred sleep position.
Snoring Prevention: The Best Position for Sleep
Aside from any other health benefits sleeping in a certain position might provide, it has been demonstrated that sleep position is strongly tied to snoring. In addition to avoiding sleeping on your back, there are a number of other steps that you can take to help to reduce the chance that you slip into snoring mode while sleeping.
Avoiding alcohol and other types of sedatives will mitigate the chances that relaxed muscles will lead to excessive snoring. You can also take steps to relieve nasal obstruction by using a room humidifier or taking antihistamines prior to bedtime. Some individuals find relief from snoring through the use of nasal strips or corticosteroids. If you are overweight, you may find that losing a few extra pounds will alleviate pressure and improve airflow to reduce snoring. As a last resort, there are also a myriad of medical treatments and surgeries that may help you to find relief.
Despite legions of studies, there is still no one undisputed best position for sleep. Choosing the position that is the most comfortable for you and that will address your specific sleep and health challenges will ensure that you get the best night of sleep so that you wake up feeling rested and ready to go.