Your sleep position is already in your mind. When you bed down for the night, there’s a sleep position that you assume to feel the most comfortable. But, is it the best sleep position?
There are numerous positions that people sleep in — there are back sleepers, side sleepers, stomach sleepers, and those who sleep in a combination of those. The ultimate goal of any sleep position should be to keep your spine in a neutral position. With that in mind, there are some physical benefits and consequences that accompany each sleeping position. Sleeping on your back or sleeping on your side offer more potential benefits than sleeping on your stomach.
Furthermore, the right kind of bedding can either help or hinder better sleep quality — depending on which position you sleep.
Benefits of Sleeping On Your Back
According to a recent study, only 8% of people prefer to sleep on their backs. Sleeping on your back is conducive to the one goal of sleep when it comes to posture — keeping your spinal alignment. The position doesn’t put undue pressure on your back, neck, or head, especially when you have a pillow that complements the sleeping style.
If you suffer from acid reflux or digestive problems, sleeping on your back is a better sleep position for you. When your esophagus is higher, physically, than your stomach, there are fewer chances for stomach acid to creep up into your esophagus. However, there is one sleep position that’s best for heartburn, which will be explored later in sleeping on your side.
Sleeping on your back has other potential benefits, such as:
- Reducing tension headaches
- Relieving sinus buildup
- Avoiding creases, wrinkles, and irritated facial skin
Back sleepers may need additional pillows to achieve spinal alignment. A pillow under your lower back or under your knees may help alignment. As for the type of pillow to lay your head on, it’s recommended that your pillow has a lower height to help keep your head in a neutral position.
Cons of Sleeping On Your Back
If you are pregnant, there are clinical reasons to not sleep on your back. Not only is it uncomfortable, sleeping on your back can cause backaches, breathing problems, digestive issues, hemorrhoids, or low blood pressure. Use several pillows to support yourself as you sleep on your side. Particularly, a pillow behind your back may help deter you from rolling over onto your back and a pillow under your top leg will assist in spinal alignment. If you have more questions about sleep positions while pregnant, consult with your doctor.
Sleeping on your back is not helpful if you are prone to snoring, as the position of your jaw, airway, and neck could exacerbate snoring. Sleep apnea isn’t helped by sleeping on your back — it might be best to avoid it.
Benefits of Sleeping On Your Side
Often affiliated with sleeping in the “fetal position,” sleeping on your side is a great option to help keep spinal alignment. If you use a pillow with higher loft to rest your head, you may keep your spine and neck in a neutral position while keeping your airway clear.
Sleeping On Your Left Side
For those with gastrointestinal issues, such as acid reflux, sleeping on your left side, in particular, may ease symptoms like discomfort in the stomach or throat. Gravity will help waste move through your ascending colon, transverse colon, and your descending colon. Sleeping on your left side may help alleviate many gastrointestinal discomforts, especially when your esophagus is positioned higher than your stomach.
Sleeping On Your Right Side
Conversely, sleeping on your right side may exacerbate symptoms of indigestion or acid reflux for a similar reason to sleeping on your left side — gravity. A 2010 study suggests that lying on your right side may increase heartburn.
Also, recent studies have indicated that sleeping on your side may help diminish waste in the brain (or interstitial waste) and could reduce the chances for Alzheimer’s.
Cons of Sleeping On Your Side
There are a few physical considerations when sleeping on your side. First, you may experience shoulder discomfort if you don’t position it right. Gravity will also pull your jaw downward when you sleep on your side, which could lead to some achiness in your jaw or jaw muscles. Lastly, you expose your skin to the pillowcase. Redness or irritation may occur as your facial skin rubs against the pillow.
Consider using a couple of additional pillows if you’re a side sleeper. Wedge a pillow between your knees to help alleviate pressure on your hips. Hug another pillow with your top arm to allow the arm to comfortably rest while you sleep on your side.
The Trouble With Sleeping On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is perhaps the worst position to sleep in. If you snore throughout the night, sleeping on your stomach will help remedy that — but that’s one of the only benefits of that sleep position. Shelby Harris, a sleep medicine expert and professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, says that the absolute worst sleeping position is lying on your stomach. According to Harris, you may experience numbness, tingling, and increased chances of muscle and joint pain.
It’s hard to find a comfortable position for your neck because you have to turn your head to the left or right in order to have a clear airway. In the morning, you may wake up with a stiff neck or achy neck muscles. If you’re a habitual stomach sleeper, it’s best to have a pillow with low height to help keep your neck and spine in a neutral position.
Find The Right Pillow
No matter what position you sleep in, your pillow should help maintain neutral positions for your neck and head. JUVEA™ pillows are created with different heights to match your sleeping needs. If you’re a back or stomach sleeper, pillows with low height may be best for you. However, if you sleep on your side during the night, then you’ll need a pillow with more height that fills that space between your head and the mattress.
Explore our pillow collection to find your dream pillow.