How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health
There are a lot of things that we do in life without giving it a second thought. That’s certainly the case when it comes to our sleeping habits. They are called sleeping habits because we do them without any forethought.
Did you know that the position in which you sleep could be affecting your health? It’s true, and it’s something you probably don’t think much about. If you are having problems with back and neck pain, maybe it has something to do with your normal sleeping position. If you struggle with sleep-related issues like sleep apnea or snoring, that too may have something to do with your normal sleeping position.
In the following sections, the information is going to focus on the primary sleeping positions from worst to best for your health.
According to the medical profession, stomach sleeping is by far the worst possible position in which to sleep. To begin with, the use of a pillow while stomach sleeping puts the neck and the spine in a very unnatural position. Over time, it can cause a multitude of skeletal problems. It can also cause a lot of future issues with pinched nerves.
The only motivation someone might have to sleep on their stomach is it does eliminate snoring problems but at what cost? If you must sleep on your stomach, you should use a flat pillow and try to sleep with only your forehead resting against it.
Just a quick blurb about fetal sleeping. Some people feel safe and comfortable sleeping as they did in their mothers’ wombs. The problem for kids and adults is the fetal position puts a lot of undue pressure on the spine and neck. It can also restrict breathing.
This is the second-best position for sleeping, with the appropriate pillow and mattress, back sleeping puts the neck and spine in the preferred position. People who habitually sleep on their backs tend to have fewer back and neck problems later in life.
Of course, there is a trade-off with back sleeping. As gravity pulls down the throat muscles and soft tissues in the throat area, it opens the door to breathing problems. If someone has snoring or sleep apnea problems, there is a good chance they are in the habit of sleeping on their back. The way to try to mediate these kinds of issues is by finding the right pillow. Back issues can also be mediated with pillows placed under the knees.
In a perfect world, this would be the position in which you would want to sleep. This is the position that is largely recommended by physicians and sleep specialists.
As for the benefits of side sleeping, it enables people to keep their spines in the most natural positions. That helps mediate neck and back problems later in life. It also gives the right support to the pelvis, hips, and legs. All of that translates to better skeletal health.
As for snoring, side sleeping really helps keep the airways open. Even if someone snores on their side, it is usually minimal and not very loud. That works out well for sleeping partners.