Getting enough sleep is the most important thing in your life, but did you know that the way you sleep can also affect your health? Let’s take a look at eight common sleeping positions and what they do to your body.
On your back, with your arms at the sides
Sleeping on your back with your arms at your sides is generally considered the best sleeping position for a flexible back and neck, as long as you don’t use too many pillows. It is true that sleeping on the back promotes snoring and can even cause chronic snoring problems.
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Lie on your back with your arms up
This so-called “starfish” pose is good for the back. Whether you have your arms around your pillow or not, sleeping on your back will help prevent wrinkles and cracks in the skin. However, even in this position you are more likely to have snoring problems and suffer from heartburn. You can also put pressure on the nerves in your shoulders with your arms raised, which can lead to pain.
Sleeping on your stomach can improve digestion, but unless you find a way to breathe through your pillow, this type of sleeping will likely result in tilting your face in one direction or the other. This can put a lot of tension on the neck. This way of sleeping can also lead to back pain, because the spine is not supported.
Sleeping curled up in a ball with your knees pulled up and your chin tilted down might be comfortable, but it can also put pressure on your back and neck. The extreme curl of the fetal position can also limit deep breathing. Sleeping in a fetal position is very pleasant for people with snoring problems and women who are pregnant.
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On your side with your arms at the sides
If you sleep on your side with both arms down, the spine is best supported in its natural position. This can certainly help reduce back and neck pain, as well as sleep apnea. The disadvantage? Sleeping on your side can contribute to skin aging due to gravity, making you more likely to develop wrinkles and sagging breasts.
Lie on your side with your arms forward
This position has many of the same benefits of sleeping on your side with your arms straight down. However, sleeping with your arms forward can restrict blood flow to your nerves and cause pain in your arms.
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On the right side
If you are a side sleeper, which side will you sleep on? Sleeping on the right side can worsen heartburn while sleeping and lying on the left side can put heavy pressure on internal organs such as the liver, lungs and stomach. For pregnant women, doctors usually advise sleeping on the left side as this can improve blood circulation for the fetus.
The complement of a good pillow
Regardless of which sleeping position you choose, it is highly likely that you can get a better night’s sleep with less pain in the morning by using a good pillow.
Sleepers who lie on their backs can place a small pillow under the arch of the back. Sleepers who lie on their sides can place a pillow between their knees. And stomach sleepers can place a pillow under their hips to support the joints and ensure complete and pain-free relaxation.
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