Diet and exercise are known as the two pillars of health. However, if diet and exercise are the pillars, sleep is the foundation on which they stand.
For optimal health, adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Neglecting to do so can lead to a myriad of mental and physical health problems, from depression to diabetes.
But have a regular sleeping schedule is just the start. The quality of your sleep is also critical. And for the highest quality sleep, you need to get your rest in one of the best sleeping positions.
Believe it or not, being mindful of your typical sleeping position can do wonders for your health. To learn everything you need to know about the different sleeping positions and their effect on your health, just keep reading!
1. Sleeping on Your Back
Sleeping on your back is considered by many sleep experts to be the optimal position, as it provides the most health benefits. By sleeping flat on your back, you’re more likely to keep your spine in alignment throughout the night, which can be an effective tool in relieving knee and hip pain.
Sleeping on your back is the best way to protect your spine as your sleep, but to take it a step further, try sleeping with a pillow under your knees. This will support the natural curve of your spine and reduce back pain.
If you’re concerned about anti-aging, this position can help! Pressing your face into a pillow for many hours a night can push your skin into unnatural positions, causing fine lines and wrinkles. Sleeping on your back protects you from these pillow-induced lines.
The only downside of sleeping on your back is that it’s not ideal for those with sleep apnea or severe snoring.
If you sleep on your back, be sure to prop your head up slightly with a pillow. You want to keep your stomach below your esophagus to prevent acid reflux. Propping your head up can also make breathing easier, but be careful not to go so far that you strain your neck.
2. Sleeping on Your Stomach
Though stomach sleeping is a much more popular position than back sleeping, it’s probably the worst option in terms of health. Now, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come without benefits. Sleeping on your stomach is great for preventing snoring and relieving sleep apnea.
That being said, sleeping on your stomach is tough on both your neck and back. It can strain your muscles and joints, causing you to wake up sleepy and sore.
To prevent these negative effects, sleep with a thin pillow or no pillow at all. This will minimize the stress on your neck. You should also consider putting a pillow under your hips to prevent your body from forming a U-shape and throwing your spine out of alignment.
3. Sleeping on Your Side
Next to sleeping on your back, sleeping on your side is best for your long-term health. There are several different variations of side sleeping: right side, left side, arms in front of you, and arms by your sides.
Sleeping on your left side with your arms by your sides is ideal.
This is because side sleeping can cause discomfort in your shoulders and arms due to restricted blood flow. Keeping your arms at your sides rather than out in front of you will prevent this. In addition, sleeping on your left side can reduce snoring, aid digestion, and ease heartburn and acid reflux.
Sleeping on your right side can worsen heartburn and acid reflux, though it doesn’t put the strain on your liver, lungs, and stomach that sleeping on your left side does. Because of this, it can be beneficial to switch sides throughout the night if you can.
As mentioned above, sleeping on your side can cause lines and wrinkles, as one side of your face is pressed into fabric for hours and the other side is pressured by gravity.
If you sleep on your side, do your research into pillows and the best type of mattress for side sleepers. Sleeping with the correct mattress and pillow for your sleeping position can make all the difference in the world in the quality of your sleep.
4. Sleeping in the Fetal Position
The fetal position is a variation of sleeping on your side. Instead of stretched out, you sleep with your knees pulled toward your chest and your chin tucked in.
This is a comfortable position for many and is beneficial if you’re pregnant, suffer from low back pain, or have trouble with snoring. However, it’s a rather extreme position for your body to be in for long stretches of time. It can place a great deal of stress on your neck and back and inhibits deep breathing.
If you do sleep in the fetal position, make it less stressful on your body by keeping your posture as loose and relaxed as possible. Don’t pull your knees all the way into your chest, and consider placing a pillow between them to promote spine alignment.
Keep the Best Sleeping Positions in Mind for the Ultimate Night’s Rest
The amount of sleep you get per night is critical to your health, but the way you sleep is just as important! The best sleeping positions are those that not only enable you to get a fantastic night’s sleep but also boost your health.
If you want to change the position in which you sleep, the best thing you can do is to fall asleep sleep in that position, putting pillows next to you to encourage your body to remain in that position throughout the night.
For more tips and tricks to improve your health and wellness, take a look at our blog!