Yes, the way you sleep at night has a direct effect on the quantity and quality of sleep you get and your overall health too. There are different sleeping postures, notably, we have the side sleepers, back sleepers and stomach sleepers. While it is best to adopt a position you sleep comfortably in, still, not all sleep positions are rewarding. Thinking if your sleep position is safe or unsafe for you? Let’s examine the different sleep positions and how they impact your sleep and health.
UNSAFE SLEEPING POSTURE
WORST: Sleeping on your stomach
Few people about 7% of adults sleep naturally and comfortably on their stomachs. However, this may not be a safe position for you and is considered the worst sleep position. This sleep position applies undue strain on your back and neck leading to back and neck problems. It causes strain on the ligaments, muscles, joints of the spine, and over time can compromise your spinal health. Consequently, you may experience nerve issues such as numbness and tingling and pain in the affected area. Besides, this position can compromise your breathing and blood circulation.
Also, because you have to turn your head to one side in this position, there’s a tendency that blood circulation will be limited and breathing may be difficult. Although, this position help reduce the sound of snoring, so does sleeping on your side too. So, it is recommended you sleep on your side
If you find it difficult to switch this sleeping position, try to improve it. Elevate your pelvis with a thin pillow, this will help position you correctly and alleviate pressure on your lower back.
BAD: Sleeping in the fetal position
You sleep in a fetal position when you sleep on your side and bring your knees up to your chest. This is one of the most common sleep positions with approximately 41% of sleepers. This sleeping posture is not recommended because it can lead to discomfort on your back and neck, wrinkles, saggy breast, and restrict breathing.
SAFE SLEEPING POSTURE
OK: Sleeping on your back
This is a better sleep position that promotes spinal alignment. Sleeping on the back helps your spine stay in a neutral position. This sleep position helps prevent and alleviate neck, shoulder and back pain and decreases problems with acid reflux. However, sleeping on your back increases snoring and worsens the symptoms of sleep apnea. Similarly, sleeping on the back is a healthy sleep position for newborns and infants. Research shows that babies who sleep on their back are less likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome.
Best: Sleeping on your side
Most people sleep comfortably on either side. In fact, experts recommend either side position because of its many benefits. First, sleeping on either side helps the spine remain in a neutral position and helps alleviate neck, back and shoulder pain. Also, sleeping on either side can help decrease snoring. Again, side sleepers are less likely to have episodes of sleep paralysis. However, sleeping on either side may cause quick ageing since smooching your face on the pillow every night can cause wrinkles. Side sleeping may also cause saggy breasts, and pressure on the muscles except you alternate your sides.
Sleeping on your right side
While sleeping on your side is safe, right side sleeping posture can cause acid to leak through your oesophagus, this aggravates heartburn. Although, if you are at risk for a heart attack, sleeping on the right side is ideal for you. This is because lying on the right side reduces the heart rate and blood pressure. Therefore, sleeping on the right side may protect people with heart failure from further complications.
- Sleeping on your left side
Experts recommend sleeping on your left side for some conditions such as pregnancy, obstructive sleep apnea, general snoring, neck and back pain. However, sleeping on the left side can put a strain on internal organs like the liver, lungs, and stomach, but also while reducing acid reflux. Other benefits of sleeping on your left side include: it helps your brain clear toxins, prevents heartburn, decrease the risk of stillbirths in pregnant women.
How you sleep and the type of mattress you sleep on play a major role in providing support and comfort for your body. You should avoid any sleep position that places pressure on any parts of your body to avoid sleep disruption. In summary, to enjoy quality sleep, ensure you have a good sleeping environment, buy a quality mattress and adopt a safe sleeping posture. You can be said to have found the right sleep position for you if you sleep soundly, wake up fully invigorated and go about your day’s activities relaxed and focused.