Most people don’t get enough sleep, and most people know that a lack of sleep can lead to some significant health problems. What many people are not aware of is that the position that one sleeps in at night may also affect one’s health. Certain sleeping positions are better than others when it comes to preventing back problems, as well as some other disorders.
Sleeping on one’s back is the best overall sleep position. Sleeping on the back helps support the spine and keeps both the neck and spine in a proper alignment. Sleeping on one’s back is also helpful for those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease. There are some negatives to sleeping on one’s back, however. This position can increase snoring. Those who suffer from asthma and other respiratory problems often find it difficult to get air when sleeping in this position for an extended period of time as well.
If a person doesn’t like sleeping on his or her back, the next best position is on the side. Sleeping on one’s side isn’t as good for the spine as sleeping on the back, but it does provide support. Side sleeping does reduce the chances of snoring during the night.
One of the worst sleep positions when it comes to maintaining good back support is the fetal position. Sleeping in a tightly curled position puts stress on the back and other joints. Sleeping in the fetal position can also be detrimental to breathing patterns. With that said, those who have preexisting respiratory problems will not want to sleep in the fetal position.
Sleeping on the stomach is probably the worst sleep position of all. When a person sleeps on his or her stomach, it forces the head to be placed on one side for an extended period of time. This places a lot of stress on the neck, which can lead to orthopedic problems and joint pain. Some people experience numbness in the extremities if they sleep on their stomachs for an extended period of time. There is one significant benefit to stomach sleeping, however. People that sleep on their stomachs tend to snore less than those that sleep in most other positions.
Most people don’t sleep in the same position throughout the night. It is extremely common for people to move around quite frequently in their sleep, perhaps without even realizing it. It’s important to start out in a good position and try to maintain that as best as possible.