Can Your Sleep Position Impact Your Health?
It’s not hard to recognize the consequences of a poor night of sleep. You feel fatigued, irritable, and sometimes unproductive. But did you know that the position you sleep in can directly correlate to the quality of sleep you get and impact your overall health? If you’ve never considered how your sleep position can affect your wellbeing, you can want to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of side, back, and stomach sleep positions.
Life-long back or stomach sleepers may find it surprising that sleeping on your side is the most common sleep position, and by far. To fall asleep at night, the majority of adults align their left shoulder and left hip or right shoulder and right hip along the surface of their mattress.
If side sleeping comes naturally to you, you may want to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of this sleep position. Benefits include:
- Sleeping on your side can help open up airways while you sleep, reducing snoring and alleviating sleep apnea.
- Research shows that sleeping on your right or left side can improve gut health.
- If you don’t position your neck correctly, sleeping on your side can lead to neck soreness and pain.
- Sleeping on your side can leave creases on your face, which may not seem like an issue, but night after night of these indentations can lead to wrinkly skin or breakouts.
If you regularly sleep on your side and plan to keep it that way, you’ll want to keep this sleep position in mind when you purchase your next mattress. For a good night’s sleep, the ideal mattress for side sleepers offers supportive relief to hips and shoulders.
If you sleep on the side, you’ll want to avoid options like memory foam, which can sink too deep under your bodyweight. Conversely, products that are too hard on your shoulders and hips can create discomfort. Pressure-relieving air foam mattresses are excellent solutions because they offer the perfect balance between softness and firmness.
With this position, you sleep with your back flat on your mattress, facing up. Back sleeping, the second-most common sleep position, offers a few distinct advantages:
- Sleeping straight on your back keeps your head, neck, and spine aligned, which evenly distributes pressure.
- Laying on your back with your head on a pillow keeps your head slightly elevated above your stomach. This position can help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
- People with lower back pain tend to prefer sleeping on their backs.
On the other hand, back sleeping is commonly associated with the following issues:
- Sleeping on your back can increase snoring and sleep apnea symptoms if you don’t elevate your head properly.
- Compared to side sleeping, sleeping on your back puts more pressure on your spine and hips.
- During pregnancy, sleeping on your back can disrupt circulation and should be avoided.
The best type of mattress for back sleeping is more firm, pushing back a little harder on your body. It should provide sufficient pressure support throughout to keep your spine in its most natural position. Compared to side and stomach sleepers, back sleepers have a bit more flexibility when choosing a mattress material, as air foam, memory foam, latex, and innerspring mattresses can all offer the right level of firmness.
Sleeping on the stomach means lying in bed facing down, usually with your head raised on a pillow. Especially for back sleepers, this sleep position may sound a bit bizarre or uncomfortable. However, it does come with a distinct benefit: like side sleeping, sleeping on your stomach can reduce snoring and sleep apnea.
However, there are quite a few issues associated with sleeping on your stomach. Potential drawbacks of stomach sleeping can include:
- This sleep position disrupts your neck and spine’s neutral alignment, which distributes most of your weight to the middle of your body. This can lead to pain and even numbness or nerve pain while sleeping.
- The aforementioned misalignment of your spine and neck can lead to a twisted neck or even herniated disks.
- Even early on in a pregnancy, stomach sleeping can be dangerous for both mom and baby.
Considering these complications associated with stomach sleeping, you may want to try and switch up your sleep position. However, if you can’t break the habit, you want to make sleeping on your stomach as comfortable as possible.
If you sleep on your stomach, choose a mattress with the right firmness to try and maintain your natural spinal posture. A good mattress for this sleep style includes supportive structures to prevent your spine from twisting. By propping up your hips and midsection, the solution helps alleviate back pain.
Like a good mattress for side sleepers, the right option for stomach sleeping should offer more firmness. Avoid memory foam solutions that allow the body to sink into the mattress unevenly, and therefore cause spinal misalignment. Alternatives like air foam promote better posture to help you sleep better all night.
8 Hours of Comfort and Support
Out of the 24 hours in a day, you should spend roughly eight of those hours sleeping. Can you imagine maintaining the same position for eight hours while awake? When shopping for your next mattress, keep those eight hours of maintaining the same position in mind, and look for an option the provides proper support based on your unique sleep habits.