A person's sleeping position might not seem like much in the way of contributing to health, but it is actually an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. Depending on the sleeping position, it can actually help or hinder a person's overall health and comfort.
On Your Back
Sleeping on your back is generally considered the best position possible. Having your arms at your sides promote the health of the spine and neck, as long as there are not too many pillows under the neck. This does tend to cause more snoring.
Sleeping on your back with arms rested upward is sometimes called the “starfish” and arms can be above or below the pillows. Sleeping like this can prevent facial wrinkles and acne, but it can put pressure on nerves in the shoulders, causing pain or discomfort.
Sleeping face down could improve digestion, but having your head tilted to one side to breathe can lead to straining of the neck. Sleeping in this position can also lead to back pain because the curve of the spine is not supported.
This is when side sleeping, the knees are drawn up into the chest forming somewhat of a ball. This position is found comfortable by some, but it may lead to straining the neck and back and restriction of breathing. This position can help with snoring problems or if pregnant.
When sleeping on your side with arms at your sides the spine is supported in its natural curve. This reduces back pain and trims the risk of sleep apnea. The downfall of side sleeping is that it can contribute to the aging of skin, especially on the face and breasts. However, side sleeping with arms out in front of you may cause arm and shoulder discomfort because of the restricted blood flow as well as pressure on the nerves. This can be made worse by positioning your arms out in front of you.
If side sleeping is a must, which side is slept on matters. Sleeping on the right can make heartburn worse, and sleeping on the left side can strain internal organs while helping to minimise acid reflux. In pregnant women, sleeping on the left is advised, as this can help circulation in the fetus.
Depending on the sleeping position, pillows can be used to support the body. If sleeping on your back, a small pillow can be placed in the arch of the back or under the knees. When sleeping on the side, a pillow between the knees will do the trick. Stomach sleepers can have a pillow under the hips to support their joints for full relaxation. Memory foam mattress toppers may also help with overall comfort without investing in a completely new mattress.
If having trouble sleeping or experiencing pain, evaluate your sleeping positions. Adding a pillow strategically can help to reduce any pain caused, if it is not possible to completely change the sleeping position. Investing in a memory foam mattress may also positively impact the way you feel after waking up in the morning.