We spend at least a third of our lives asleep, a must since sleeping repairs the body and rejuvenates the mind. Sleep deprivation is, in fact, among the most common problems experienced by adults and even children – and part of the reason is improper sleeping posture.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should get 7-9 hours of restful sleep every night but it isn’t always possible for many people because of neck, shoulder and back pain, among other reasons. In turn, the pain in these parts of the body can partly be caused by bad sleeping posture. And so the vicious cycle can continue until certain measures are adopted ASAP.
For starters, you have to take a look at your preferred sleeping posture – on your back, on your side, or on your stomach. While sleeping posture is a matter of personal preference, as is the case for the choices in mattress, pillows, and linens, each one has its pros and cons. Here then are the sleeping postures ranked from best to worst.
#1 On Your Back
Sleeping on your back isn’t the most popular posture but it’s the best for many reasons:
- It allows your head, neck and shoulders to be in a neutral position while your spine remains in alignment during the entire night. These areas will then not experience undue pressure and stress resulting in reduced pain.
- It aids in warding off acid reflux, especially when a pillow is used in elevating the head above the stomach.
But sleeping on your back isn’t enough. You should also keep your neck supported with a pillow and your knees should have a pillow tucked underneath it for good support. You must also feel relaxed from your neck to your feet while in this position while your mattress must have the right balance between support and comfort.
Emphasis must be made that sleeping on your back can make sleep apnea including snoring more severe. If you have been diagnosed with the sleep condition, you have to work with your doctor in finding the best possible position for your needs.
#2 On Your Side
People who belong to the following categories will benefit the most from sleeping on their side:
- With obstructive sleep apnea
- With tendency for general snoring
- With neck and back pain
- With acid reflux
Your chest and legs should be relatively straight to get the most benefit from sleeping on your side. You want to elongate your spine, which will reduce back pain, and keep it in its natural alignment.
Sleeping on your side will be better when you use an ergonomic pillow under your head, which should be thick and firm enough so that your head doesn’t tilt downwards. You must use two other pillows – a small pillow under your waist and a larger pillow between your legs.
Experts say that sleeping in a fetal position can increase the risks of neck and back pain because it places undue strain on these areas. But a few people can benefit from sleeping in a loose fetal position, too, such as pregnant women and general snorers.
#3 On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is a good position for reducing the severity of snoring. But this isn’t such a great sleeping posture for most people because it results in back and neck pain for many reasons.
- It doesn’t keep the spine in its neutral position since the body is an overarching position.
- It puts undue pressure on the joints, muscles and bones, which can lead to irritated nerves, body pains, and numbness.
- It forces your neck to assume an unnatural rotated, tight and closed position that compromises blood circulation and breathing patterns.
If you sleep on your stomach, then it’s time to start thinking of sleeping on your back!