Health

The best and the worst sleeping position for your health

Everyone, has their own favourite sleeping position. But do you know the position that you sleep in can have a profound impact on your sleep quality and your body?

Awkward sleeping posture can result in pains in different areas of the body, including the back, neck, shoulder and hip.

So it all comes down to the one question: what are the best and worst sleeping positions for your health?

Here we discuss the pros and cons of some sleeping poses.

On the side

Sleeping on your side includes both lying straight on one side and curling up into a fetal position. This is the most popular sleeping position.

Side sleepers have the healthiest sleeping pose because sleeping on one side opens up the airway and improves blood circulation. So side sleepers are less likely to snore or experience numbness in their muscles.

For people who sometimes suffer from heartburn or acid reflux and the subsequent insomnia, sleeping on the side, in particular on the left side, can calm the symptoms.

An explanation of this is that left-side sleeping position keeps the junction between stomach and oesophagus above the level of gastric acid.

As scientific as it sounds, sleeping on the left side is indeed the most beneficial position for one’s sleep quality and overall health.

However, this posture is not without flaws. Many side sleepers tend to put their arm or hand under the head while drifting into sleep. But this habit can increase the pressure and restrict blood flow in one arm, resulting in a “rubber arm” where numbness is experienced.

Also, because the shoulder and the hip take on a lot of the body weight when the head is rested on one arm, the sleeper is more likely to have shoulder and hip pain from this sleeping position.

On the back

Another popular sleeping pose is sleeping on the back. A benefit of this pose is that it supports the spine and the neck, especially with a memory-foam mattress that moulds to the shape of your back.

Because sleeping on the back elongates the spine, the sleeper’s general posture can also benefit from this snoozing pose. There is also no pressure point for a specific part of the body, therefore lying on the back is the most neutral position for the body.

Female back sleepers rejoice, as sleeping on the back can prevent sagging breasts due to the magical force of gravity. Having one’s face fully exposed, without pressing against the pillow, can also prevent wrinkles, though having a silky pillowcase can solve the problem for side sleepers.

On the other hand, it also needs to be noted that sleeping on one’s back can cause snoring or even periods of breathlessness (aka sleep apnea), as the tongue often blocks the breathing tube.

On the stomach

This relatively uncommon sleeping position is the least recommended pose of all.

Whilst lying on the stomach can ease snoring, it can create a lot of stress on the spine and muscles. The spine is unlikely to be in a neutral position in this case and a lot of pressure is focused on the lower back, causing pain and numbness.

Lying on the stomach and turning the head to one side, in particular, is very distressing for the airway and the neck. The neck is twisted unnaturally and can because stiff if the position is maintained for too long.

The best option for people sleeping on their stomach is to get themselves to gradually switch to a different position for the sake of their health.

Overall, sleeping on the side or on the back is recommended for people to improve their sleep quality and posture. The readers can weigh the pros and cons of each sleeping position and choose one that suits them the best.