So what are the best sleeping positions if you want to avoid wrinkles? How about if you have a bad back? Or maybe you want the ideal sleeping position to stop you snoring. This article take a look at some of the popular positions to sleep in.
What Will I Learn?
Best Sleeping Positions
The best sleeping position for one person may be one of the worst positions for someone else. The sleeping position you use may also need to be changed at certain times of your life.
For instance, women who like to sleep on their stomach will not be able to do so during pregnancy.
There are many different sleeping positions even without throwing in the how many pillows conundrum!
Certain injuries and medical conditions can also force us to amend the way we sleep. If you have ever severely bruised or broken your ribs you will probably remember a time when you were unable to sleep on one or both sides.
Sleeping in the wrong position can also cause neck or back pain, aggravate sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and/or cause a variety of other undesirable issues.
Let’s take a look at some popular sleeping positions along with the various pros and cons.
Best Sleeping Positions for Certain Situations
On the Stomach
Sleeping on the stomach is also known as the “prone position” and, as with all the other sleeping positions, it has its good points and bad points.
The good thing about sleeping on the stomach is it may help prevent you from snoring. However, one of the biggest problems with sleeping in this way is your spine is not aligned. This can cause you to wake up with back or neck pain.
The Freefall Position
Sleeping in the freefall position also involves lying on your stomach. It differs from normal stomach sleeping because it involves tucking your arms underneath your pillow or placing them either side of your head.
Freefall is one of the most popular sleeping positions but, as with normal stomach sleeping, it places a strain on the back.
Flat on the Back
Many people find it extremely comfortable to sleep on their backs, but it’s one of the worst sleeping positions for causing or worsening snoring. It’s an equally poor choice for people with sleep apnea.
Back sleeping is also known as the supine position and, apart from encouraging snoring, spending your nights in this position can also lead to back pain. So, if you have problems with our back or have a tendency to snore, this is one of the worst sleeping positions to use.
Back sleeping is also a poor choice for women to use during late pregnancy. The problem with sleeping on your back while pregnant is it places the full weight of the baby on the back and intestines. It also applies pressure to the main vein that carries blood from the heart to the lower body. None of these things are good.
Apart from causing/aggravating problems with backache and hemorrhoids and interfering with digestion, sleeping on your back during pregnancy can also rob your baby of oxygen and nutrients. It it also increases your chances of snoring – even if you have no previous history before pregnancy.
However, back sleeping may be a good option for people who suffer from heartburn. Using a small pillow to incline the head sometimes helps get the problem under control.
The Soldier Position
The soldier position is a form of back sleeping. When you sleep in this position, your arms are down and held close to the body. Viewed from above, by a fly on the ceiling, you would look a little like a soldier standing to attention.
As with any form of back sleeping, using the soldier position presents a greater risk of snoring.
The Starfish Position
This is another form of back sleeping and it presents all the problems that are normal issues for anyone who sleeps on their back.
When you sleep in the starfish position, your arms are held upwards in a position that’s similar to the one that Muslims use when they are praying to Allah. Viewed from above, the position is a little reminiscent of a starfish.
This is the most popular sleeping position. Side sleeping is also known as lateral sleeping and it’s one of the best sleeping positions for people who snore.
However, although side sleeping may help keep snoring under control, it can cause some people to experience shoulder pain.
The uppermost leg may also move into a position that drags the spine out of line and has the potential to cause back pain. Fortunately, this is an issue that can be rectified by sleeping with a pillow between your knees.
Side sleeping also increases the likelihood of wrinkles and may encourage the skin on the face to expand over time.
Some people believe this sleeping position can also encourage breast sag in women. At present, there is no proof that this is so but women who worry about it can support their breasts with a pillow during sleep opt to sleep in a bra.
The Fetal Position
The fetal position is very popular with people who like to sleep on their sides. As you are probably aware, adopting this posture involves curling the legs up towards the torso and the arms towards the face so the body resembles a fetus in the womb.
Rather appropriately, the fetal sleeping position may be a good option for pregnant women because it supports healthy circulation for mother and baby.
Unfortunately, this type of side sleeping may cause discomfort in the hips. This is another problem that can be remedied by placing a pillow between the knees.
Not one of the more popular sleeping positions, the log position is a form of side sleeping that involves keeping the arms down next to the body.
Sleeping in the log position may be a good option for people who snore but it may cause you to wake up in pain if you suffer from certain types of arthritis. It’s also no good for people with shoulder problems.
People who adopt the yearner position during sleep lay on their side and stretch their arms out in front of their bodies.
If you have breathing difficulties, the yearner may be one of the best sleeping positions to use. However, as with other forms of side sleeping, it can also cause or increase pain in the shoulders.
Spooning is a side sleeping position that requires a partner. It’s an intimate way to sleep because it allows couples to snuggle together.
The partner who is behind pushes close to the body of their loved one and places an arm around them. It’s normal when sleeping in this position to curl the legs up slightly while bending the knees.
It’s another good option for people who snore but brings with it all the normal side sleeping disadvantages along with an additional problem. When either partner moves in their sleep, there is an increased likelihood that the movement will wake up the other.
Best Sleeping Positions for Certain Conditions
Okay, that’s got the popular sleeping positions out of the way. Now let’s look at some other consideration certain people may need to bear in mind before they climb into their beds.
Congestive Heart Failure
If you have congestive heart failure, it’s best to avoid sleeping positions where you lay on your back or left side. Using these positions may make sleep difficult by making you more aware of your heartbeats.
Sleeping on the right side, instead of the left may also help protect the heart from further damage.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
GERD is an unpleasant stomach problem that occurs when stomach acid flows out of the stomach and irritates the esophagus. [source]
Many people who suffer from GERD find they sleep best on their left sides. Sleeping on the right side can cause extra acid to leak into the esophagus. Stomach sleeping has the potential to do this too. Back sleeping may be a possibility. The best course of action is to try it and see how you go.
If you are keen on delaying wrinkles, none of the side sleeping positions are likely to be the best options for you.
Unfortunately, although back sleeping may be kinder to your face, it may not be so good for your ears because the sound of your snoring may keep you and the rest of your household from sleep.
If you snore but are still keen to try back sleeping, you may need to invest in an anti-snore pillow or try to control your snoring with an alternative device.
Controlling Snoring and Sleep Apnea
The best way to reduce the risk of snoring is to sleep on your side instead of on your back.
When snoring is particularly severe, it can be a sign of sleep apnea. This is a potentially life-threatening condition that causes breathing to stop multiple times throughout the night.
Sleep apnea is associated with many other health issues including hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, it’s important to share your concerns with a doctor. Although sleeping on your side may help control the volume of your snoring, it will not alleviate the condition causing it.
When you have a problem with one or both shoulders, or regularly wake up with shoulder pain, you may need to modify your sleeping position accordingly. If the problem only affects the shoulder on one side, try sleeping on the other side instead.
If the problem affects both shoulders, you may have to try sleeping on your back or stomach instead.
Some research suggests the starfish may be one of the best sleeping positions for people who are prone to shoulder pain. Other research shows the soldier position may help alleviate shoulder pain as well.
If you have back pain, sleeping on your back may help to alleviate it. Sleeping on your stomach will probably make it worse but, if you are trying to avoid snoring, it may be feasible to sleep on your stomach if you place a thin pillow under your stomach to take the pressure off your back.
Sleeping on your side, with a pillow between your knees, may also help you to avoid snoring without facing troubles with your back.
If you often wake up with neck pain and don’t have other issues that prevent you from sleeping on your back, going to sleep without a pillow might be the answer. It will help align your head, neck, and back.
If you are a side sleeper, your problem with neck pain could be due to the wrong choice of pillow. Using a pillow that is too plump, or using two pillows instead of one, will overly elevate your head and force your neck out of line with your back. Sleeping on a pillow that’s too thin can do a similar thing.
It’s best to avoid sleeping on your stomach or back during pregnancy. One of the side sleeping positions, such as fetus, will probably be best.
It’s also a good idea to try and choose your left side instead of your right. Doing so will help you and your baby benefit from optimum blood circulation.
It will also probably be beneficial if you place a pillow between your knees.
An additional pillow beneath the stomach may prove useful for helping support the weight of your bump. In both cases, the pillows will help remove some of the strain to your back.
Although it’s already been mentioned earlier in this article, pregnant women should avoid sleeping on their backs. This is so important, it bears repeating twice.
Experts say it’s particularly important to avoid back sleeping during the second and third trimesters. It hard on the back and can present dangers for your baby. Research shows back sleeping can significantly increase the likelihood of stillbirth.
It’s not just while sleeping. When you are pregnant, it’s also best to avoid laying on your back during the day.
Best Sleeping Positions – The Bottom Line
There are three main sleeping positions. You can sleep on your stomach, your back, or your side. All of the other ways to sleep are just variations on a theme.
Although we all have our favorite sleeping positions, certain options may not the best ones to use. Even though we may find sleep comes easier in a particular position we may have to avoid using it due to ongoing health issues such as sleep apnea or problems like snoring.
We may also have to avoid certain positions on a temporary basis due to short-term issues such as pregnancy or injuries to specific parts of the body, such as the shoulders.
Adjusting to a new sleeping position can be a difficult task, but it’s possible to adapt over time. After a while, what was once strange can become the new norm. It’s just a case of having patience and being willing to give new things a try.
I hope you have enjoyed this article on the best sleeping positions.