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The Best Sleep Positions

by Kevin Yang

What are the Best Sleep Positions?

Fetal position 

The fetal position involves sleeping on your side with bent legs curled in toward your body. It’s the most popular sleeping position — and for good reason. Not only is it great for lower back pain or pregnancy, but sleeping in the fetal position can also help reduce snoring.

Still, sleeping in the fetal position does have a few downsides. Make sure your posture is relatively loose, otherwise your comfy position could limit deep breathing while you snooze. Also, if you have any issues with joint pain or stiffness, sleeping in a tight fetal position might leave you sore in the morning.

If you want to make the fetal position more comfortable, make sure your posture is loose and relaxed when you curl up. Keep your legs relatively extended. You can even try sleeping with a pillow between your knees.

Sleeping on your side 

Side sleeping is similar to sleeping in the fetal position, but your legs aren’t pulled in toward your body. Like the fetal position, sleeping on your side is pretty good for you. In addition to reducing snoring, it’s great for digestion and may even reduce heartburn.

Despite these benefits, sleeping on your side might not always be the best. Not only can it cause stiffness in your shoulders, but it can also lead to jaw tightness on that side.

Putting a pillow between your lower legs will help better align your hips to avoid low back pain.

Is there a better side to sleep on?

Depending on your health, there may be some benefit to sleeping on your left side over your right.

A small, older study looked at 10 people over the course of 2 days. The first day, participants rested on their right side after eating a high-fat meal. On the second, they switched to the left side. Researchers found that the right side was associated with increased heartburn and acid reflux, so sleeping on your left might be more beneficial.

Sleeping on your left side may also be useful for encouraging regular bowel movements. Your small intestine moves waste to your large intestine through something called the ileocecal valve, found in the lower right abdomen. Sleeping on your left side could potentially allow gravity to help with the process of moving waste through your ileocecal valve.

If you prefer sleeping on your side, choose a good pillow to avoid neck and back pain. Sleep on whichever side feels most comfortable, but don’t be afraid to switch to a different position if it’s not working for you.

Lying on your stomach 

If we had to rank sleeping positions, lying on your stomach might be at the bottom of the list. While it’s a good position for snoring or sleep apnea, the benefits don’t extend much further.

Unfortunately, sleeping on your stomach can cause both neck and back pain. It can also add a lot of unnecessary strain to your muscles and joints, which is why you might be waking up sore and tired. Placing a pillow under your lower belly might help reduce back pain.

Flat on your back 

Sleeping on your back offers the most health benefits. It protects your spine, and it can also help relieve hip and knee pain.

Sleeping on your back uses gravity to keep your body in an even alignment over your spine. This can help reduce any unnecessary pressure on your back or joints. A pillow behind your knees may help support the natural curve of the back.

Plus, if you’re worried about keeping your skin looking fresh, sleeping on your back protects the skin on your face from wrinkling.

On the flip side, sleeping on your back can be difficult for those who experience snoring or sleep apnea. It can also be difficult for anyone with back pain, which is why it’s important to make sure you’re properly supported.

 

Sources:

https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/best_sleeping_positions_sleep

https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/best_sleeping_positions_sleep

 

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