As a part of our journey towards better sleep we often discuss different ways to enrich our sleeping environment, our pro-sleep habits etc. yet the way we sleep, literally how we sleep has a major effect over our health, just like the surroundings.
Everyone has their own favorite sleeping position, and surely there is no one solution for all. Different persons will probably find it easier to fall asleep in some positions, while for others it just won’t fit.
Each position has different pros and cons, and just as always, we wish to provide you with science-based information to allow you smart personalized choices.
Overall, the main idea of beneficial sleeping positions is due to the similarity of your body position to its natural pose, keeping the spine as natural as possible by maintaining its different curves, keeping your legs in physiologic relation etc.
For adults, a side-sleeping position is the most common, as more than half of adults across the world fall asleep each night on their side, and for good reason.
Side sleeping position keeps our spine almost the same as our anatomical baseline, which can even help reduce physical stress and back pain. Moreover, sleeping on the left side allows our stomach (which has an angle to the left) a better function, keeping our digestion easier and enabling a better recovery through the night. It’s especially recommended for people suffering from GERD, a reflux syndrome that actually improves while choosing a side-sleeping position over a period of a few weeks, and even an immediate relief while showing symptoms.
While sleeping on your side, take under consideration this slight change that will upgrade your body position and place a pillow between your legs. By doing so, you will keep your legs in their anatomical position, improve pelvic state and the lower spine position, avoiding hand pain, back pain and pelvic pain.
Next in line is the back sleeping position, also known as supine. As approximately 40% of us fall asleep on our backs, there is a strong correlation between supine-related mistakes and lower back pain, neck pain and even sleep apnea.
So how can you know it’s right?
- Make sure your head is not too high due to a massive pillow or wrong positioning of it. Your pillow should support the neutral neck arch, and fill it, without creating extra stress over the neck and airways.
- If your legs are straight while lying supine, you will probably feel your lower back as it compensates for the weight of your legs while they’re away from your body center. Placing a pillow below your knees and even a little one below your lower back will fill the missing spaces created by your natural spine shape & curves.
Last and least is stomach sleeping positions, a.k.a prone position.
This is the least healthy sleeping position, as it changes the spine’s shape, increasing lower back stress, placing the neck in an unhealthy position and known to worsen snoring and increase the risk of sleeping breathing problems. For these reasons it might be best to try one of the other sleeping positions.
Wait, but I don’t sleep alone…
Sure! Well, actually most people spend more than 70% of their night’s sleep sleeping on their own, some within the half-bed borders and some exceeding…
Spooning sleeping position is popular among the cuddlers of us, and it’s actually just like sleeping on your side. Just notice that the bigger spoon should have enough space for the lower hand, or else it might create discomfort. And just the same for hugging sleeping position, just notice that option will surely have one of you on the right side, without the digestive advantages of left-side sleeping position.
All in all, while trying to improve your sleeping quality, remember these two compartments that should be taken care of in parallel: those that are exclusively related to your body, and those of the environment.
A balanced combination of the two will surely create a better night’s sleep!