‘Sleeping position’ refers to the manner in which we position our bodies before or during sleep.
All of us have a favorite pose, whether we realize it or not. No matter how you lie down in bed, you are likely to get back to your favorite sleeping position by the time you actually doze off!
Experts have confirmed that the pose in which we sleep can have far reaching implications on our general health, particularly for babies.
It can make a huge difference to how fresh we wake up next morning and how much energy we have to keep us going through the next day, and whether you can get a good night’s sleep.
90% of us sleep in either of the 4 positions:
1. On the back
2. On the side
3. Like a baby, and
4. On the stomach
The position in which you sleep could be the cause of many of your problems.
Read on to know more:
1. Sleeping on the back: The best sleeping position
This is usually regarded as the best sleeping position because when you sleep on your back, your neck, head and spine maintain a neutral position. And all this happens without forcing you getting any curves along your back.
Sleeping on the back is good for:
• Fighting acid reflux: A raised head prevents acid from the stomach to be forced back into the esophagus and thus helps fight acid reflux.
• Preventing premature wrinkles because there is nothing pushing against the face.
• Preventing saggy breasts since the breasts are not dangling down and are fully supported by the body.
Sleeping on the back is bad for:
Though sleeping on the back is usually considered to be the best sleeping position, it can cause snoring. It gets worse when you sleep in this position.
Suggested reading: GERD Diet: Best foods for acid reflux/ acidity, GERD Diet: Worst foods for acid reflux, acidity
2. Sleeping on the side
If you cannot sleep on the back, try sleeping on the side! Doing so keeps the spine elongated. It can help you to avoid a neck pain or lower backache.
Sleeping like this has amazing health benefits, particularly for pregnant women.
Sleeping on the back is good for:
• Preventing neck pain
• Preventing backache
• Fighting acid reflux
• Discourages snoring
• Helps in pregnancy. Sleeping on the left side is particularly beneficial for pregnant women because it improves the supply of blood to the fetus.
Sleeping on the side is bad for:
• Causes saggy breasts because the breasts are dangling down for a long period of time at a stretch, and that causes the ligaments to stretch.
• Causes premature wrinkles: It can also bring about premature wrinkles, if Dee Anna Glaser is to be believed. She attributes these wrinkles to the face pressing against the pillow or the bed for a long time night after night.
Inspite of the downsides associated with it, sleeping on the left side during pregnancy has been found to boost blood circulation, due to which it should be the preferred pose for pregnant women.
3. Baby sleeping position:
This refers to the position in which people pull their knees up high and sleep with the chin tucked into the chest. Sleeping like this restricts diaphragmatic breathing and can cause backache and joint pain in the morning.
Baby sleeping position is good for:
• Prevents snoring
• Helps during pregnancy
Baby sleeping position is bad for:
• Back pain and joint pain. This can be all the more bad in case of arthritics, asserts Dr Olson.
• Breathing. A renowned acupuncturist at Connecticut votes against this pose since it causes restriction of diaphragmatic breathing.
• Causes appearance of premature wrinkles
• Causes saggy breasts
If you just can’t seem to sleep in any other position, try improving upon this pose by straightening out a little. Try not to curl up your body very tight to avoid back ache.
4. The worst sleeping position: Sleeping on the stomach/ tummy
The only good thing about this position is that it discourages snoring. Sleeping like this causes undue pressure along the muscles and joints because the spine is not in a neutral position. And this can cause all sorts of problems later.
Sleeping on the stomach is good for:
• Preventing snoring: Sleeping in this pose helps keep airways open and thus helps restrict snoring. So if you snore but aren’t suffering from neck or back pain, it’s fine to try sleeping on your belly.
Sleeping on the stomach is bad for:
• Causes back pain: Since the spine is not in a neutral position, excessive pressure on the spine can cause back pain.
• Causes neck pain: Sleeping on the stomach involves sleeping with the head turned to one side. This could make the muscles and joints of your neck sore.
• Prevents saggy breasts.
• Delays the onset of premature wrinkles.
Your sleeping position can influence how fresh you are after a good night’s sleep. And need we over-emphasize the importance of getting a sound sleep?
So, spare a thought and see what position suits you best.
There is no one best position for everyone. Each position has its own pros and cons.
Even if you don’t really sleep in the best position, you need not lose sleep over it. It’s never too late to bring about a change.
So, go ahead, get a sound sleep because now you know what is your best sleeping position.