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The Best Sleeping Positions And More!
How well are you sleeping?
Sleeping is something so simple and so natural, yet good sleep isn’t all that easy to master. Poor sleep has been associated with several health problems, ranging from stress and anxiety to heart disease and diabetes.
Research has indicated that it is not only the length of your sleep that counts, but there is also a comfort factor involved which is directly related to the position you sleep in. You may have a favourite sleeping position, and if you are waking up in the same position as well as experiencing some pain, you more than likely need to change your position.
The way you sleep plays a major role in snoring, indigestion, as well as neck and back pain issues.
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Which are the healthiest ways to sleep?
Studies have shown that most people, in spite of any health benefits, tend to sleep in the positions they find the most comfortable. This includes the back, side, or stomach. If you have any medical issues such as pregnancy, arthritis, muscular pain, or general body aches, the doctor may recommend a change in your sleeping position.
Here is a list of the pros and cons of the best and healthiest ways to sleep.
- If you are a stomach sleeper, you may find that sleeping on the stomach eases heavy snoring. However sleeping in this position can make some medical conditions worse, especially neck and spine problems. Because the spine and neck are subsequently out of alignment, this may put pressure on the nerves and lead to numbness and tingling in the arms.
- Sleeping on the back works well for the neck and spine health. If on your back, the flatter your pillow is – the better, as it keeps the neck in a neutral position. If this is your favourite position, you may experience some lower back pain from time to time. Unfortunately, the downside is that back-sleeping may increase snoring, and research has shown that it is often linked to sleep apnea. This happens because gravity may cause the back of the tongue to partially block the airways, leading to snoring and possible episodes of sleep apnea.
- Side sleeping. Sleeping on the side is definitely the most popular sleep position. However, doctors maintain that health benefits are mostly obtained by sleeping on the left side. It is known that sleeping on the left side promotes digestion and eases acid reflux. It also improves circulation and helps to drain built-up toxins from the lymph nodes. For these reasons, especially the circulatory benefit, medical science recommend sleeping on the left side during pregnancy. All side-sleepers are advised to change sides from time to time, to avoid numbness and pins-and-needles in the arm you are resting on if blood flow is restricted.
- The soldier position. In this position, people lie on their backs with arms down at the sides of the body, almost looking as if they are standing to attention. This is not a good position for snoring and could keep you awake during the night.
- The log position. Sleeping in this position on your side with your arms next to your body, may be good for you if you snore, but bad for arthritis as you could wake up in pain. You will potentially have a good night’s rest as it is a very comfortable position – that is of course, if you don’t have other interruptions!
- The restless sleeper. No matter which sleep position you decide take, you still seem to toss and turn for most of the night, and never really get a good night’s restful sleep. You may also be disturbing you partner with the endless tossing and turning, which can lead to other problems if it is not attended to. Here are some simple ways for you to improve restlessness hassles.
- Try not to sleep on your stomach, as stomach muscles bearing down can pull the spine out of alignment, and result in neck and back pain. If you must sleep on your stomach, putting a pillow under your tummy will help to take some of the stress from the spine.
- Evening coffee with caffeine, and alcohol at night, also leads to restlessness. Avoid if you can!
- If the tossing and turning is due to pain, ask the doctor about some pain medication.
Nobody has a perfect night’s sleep every single night, but paying attention to what might be the cause of your tossing and turning, and making sure that your bedroom is neither too hot nor too cold, will go a long way towards solving a restless problem.
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The importance of a good mattress
A mattress plays a major role in the quality of your sleep. Specifications differ from brand to brand, but a qualified sales person should be able to help you select a mattress that will be best for you. You may need a new mattress if you get up in the morning with a sore back which goes away as you move around – this means the mattress is no longer giving the support you need.
It is important to note that no mattress will cure a real back problem. A bad mattress will make the condition worse, while a good mattress may help to ease the pain and discomfort.
Some mattress tips to prevent restless tossing and turning.
- The old story that the firmer the mattress the better for you has been shot full of holes. A hard mattress is death by pain for arthritic patients. These folk need a softer yet supportive feel for the sore joints and back, with enough comfort to choose any sleep position they are comfortable with.
- Folk with lower back problems need a medium to firm mattress to support the bottom of the spine.
- Invest in a good pillow to support your neck and the top of the spine.
Mattresses are a specialized science – ask the salesman for advice if you are unsure of anything.
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Something to take away
You may have a favorite sleeping position, regardless of health benefits, than another position may offer. Trying other sleeping positions will do no harm, and who knows, you may find something better!