Ever wondered if you could improve your sleep just by switching sleeping positions. Is sleeping on your side better if you have digestive issues? Can sleeping on your front give you neck problems?
We all have a lot of questions surrounding sleeping positions. In this post we’ll look at whether there’s such a thing as a good or not so good position to ensure optimum sleeping conditions.
The Sleep Foundation states that the main thing to consider with regard to sleep position is healthy spine alignment. The healthy aspect is straight alignment of your spine from your hips to your head.
The three main sleeping positions include lying on your back, sleeping on your front or resting on your side. Each of these positions then have a certain form that you naturally roll into when you sleep. Which one do you adopt?
🪂 The free fall – you hug your pillow whilst lying on your stomach
💂♀️ The soldier – you ‘plank’ whilst asleep… arms by your side with your body in perfect alignment lying on your back.
⭐ The starfish… put your hands up if you like Sleep Well! This one’s where you sleep on your back with your arms up by your pillow.
👶🏽 The fetal – where you curl up in a ball. We all have the tendency to revert back to childhood, so it’s understandable some do so whilst sleeping.
🪵 The log – on your side with your arms and legs straight. If you can do this you have a great centre of gravity.
🫂 The yearner – waiting for an embrace with your arms stretched out in front of you whilst lying on your side.
For those of you that sleep on your side, you are in the majority. This position has a number of benefits which include a reduction in snoring, back pain relief and comfort for pregnant sleepers. It also gives great spinal alignment. This is aided by a good pillow in-between your knees and another for your head.
If you prefer to sleep on your back then your neck may thank you. Misalignment of your spine is avoided by sleeping this way. It also provides a natural way to decongest your nasal passage. Additionally it’s good for winding down mentally before falling asleep. You naturally feel relieved when you essentially ‘sink’ into your pillow, feeling a real sense of relief and calm.
If you fear for the day that your body naturally ages, then avoid side sleeping. This position squishes your face more, stretching and pulling against the pillow, which can increase your chances of wrinkles.
The most obvious downside of sleeping on your back is snoring! If you are worried about you or others snoring then it’s best to change things up with your sleeping position, or leave the room with your hearing intact. Another downside to this position is the force of gravity. Some people can find it harder to breathe and feel the pressure on their organs, causing discomfort and disruption to your sleep cycle.
If you manage to fall asleep on your front it’s worth noting that your body will be working overtime to breathe. The pressure of your overall body weight is put on your rib cage to defy gravity and push outwards against your mattress in order to take a breath. Front sleeping can also have an adverse effect on your spinal health as it naturally curves to accommodate your pillow height. You’d also have to sleep with your neck twisted (unless sleeping on a massage table with a face hole…check you out!) in order to breathe, leading to poor spinal alignment.
There are many different sleeping positions and forms in which we sleep. The most common and a favourite within Team Sleep Well is side sleeping.
However, no matter what position you choose to sleep in it’s best to still stick to a bedtime routine. We’ve got some great ideas on how to ‘get the good sleep habit‘ in our FREE downloadable PDF.
As always, listen to your body. If you find yourself waking up in the night because you’re in pain or wake up with a niggling ache then this could be down to your sleeping position. Just like any habits, they can be broken and healthier positions adopted. So although it may seem odd and not as comfortable at first, try to ease yourself into a different sleeping position with your spinal health at the forefront of your mind.
Now is the time to invest in your sleep. Get a good quality mattress and pillow and, if you need that extra little nudge to get you to sleep in your new position, then you’ve always got Sleep Well to enjoy thirty minutes before bedtime.
Happy Sleeping, with love Sleep Well x