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Is Your Sleeping Position Affecting Your Health? 

by Marquette Turner Luxury Homes

in Features, Health, Lifestyle, Variety

It’s common knowledge that getting proper sleep is an important contribution to our overall health and wellbeing. Without it, we go through our days groggily, lose our concentration easily, and don’t have energy for life’s daily activities. However, when we consistently get seven to nine hours of sleep each night we expect our energy levels to be high and our health to be in good shape.

Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.

Simply going to bed for the right quantity of time isn’t always enough. What’s important is the quality of our sleep each night.

While there are many factors affecting our sleep quality, we can’t be in control of all of them. It’s easy to hang up blackout curtains to block out light or to invest in a white noise machine to mask background sounds, but it may not be as easy to change your overall sleeping style. In fact, you may not even understand why you should.

Every sleeping position is not equal. Some provide more complications than others when it comes to our sleeping quality and even our overall health. Keep reading to learn how your sleeping position may be affecting you and why you may want to consider shifting it.


Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

Side sleeping

As many as 41% of adults report sleeping on their side in the fetal position as their favorite during the night, and an additional 15% sleep in an elongated position on their side, but just because this position is the most favored doesn’t mean that it’s the best.

First off, when you sleep on your side half of your body is put under the crushing pressure of the weight of the rest of your body. You may not notice this initially when you’re falling asleep, but after being under this pressure for many hours of the night you can wake up with numbness and tingling in your limbs. This also could lead to pain in the pressure points of your hips, shoulders, and knees.


Photo by Purple

Sleeping on your side can also cause pain in your back and neck. If your bed isn’t supportive enough, you can risk sleeping in a poor spinal alignment as gravity causes you to sink in the bed. Without the proper pillow structure too, your neck may sag to one side instead of staying square with your shoulders, causing impingements of your neck joints. This will cause you to wake up with pain all through your back and neck, making it difficult to climb out of bed and conquer the day.

If you’re a die-hard side sleeper but you want to avoid the pains, make sure your sleeping structure is supportive and allows your body to properly contour for a natural spinal alignment. Choosing to sleep in a straightened position rather than the fetal may help you avoid the pain as well. Elongating your body can also help combat snoring which your sleeping partner will appreciate at least.

Stomach sleeping

Stomach sleeping has a pretty bad reputation and for good reason.

When you sleep on your stomach, you’ll be forced to have your head fully turned to the side in order to breathe. This puts a serious strain on your neck throughout the night, and will undoubtedly cause you to wake up with a sore neck. Shoving your face in the pillow while you sleep is also known to accelerate the development of wrinkles. This is not ideal for those working on their beauty sleep.

Remember the problem about spinal alignment with side sleeping? The same occurs with stomach sleeping, except in a different way. When you sleep on your stomach with a pillow, your neck will be lifted, your hips will sink in the bed, and you’ll be putting a lot of strain on your lower back. If you’re insistent on stomach sleeping, make sure to use a thin pillow or trash the pillow altogether. You may also want to sleep on a firmer mattress that doesn’t allow your body to sink in too far.

Back sleeping


Photo by Mattress Advisor

If you’re worried about your spinal health, back sleeping on a pressure-relieving mattress is the best option for you. Unless you have an unreasonably soft mattress causing your mid-section to fall heavily in the bed, you should be able to sleep comfortably with your spine in its most natural position, allowing you to wake up refreshed and without pains.

Without the crushing weight of half of your body that you endure as a side sleeper, or the twisted neck problem associated with stomach sleepers, you have a pretty good chance of avoiding aches and pains all together in the morning. Talk about waking up on the right side of the bed.

Before you get too excited, you should know back sleeping isn’t any more perfect than the other positions. Although your spine will be happy about this position, your breathing airways may not. Sleeping on your back leaves your tongue falling down the back of your throat, collapsing your airways and making you susceptible to sleep apnea or increased snoring.

To combat this, you may want to try adding a few extra pillows to incline your upper body. Although, then you’re back to the issue of improper spinal alignment. Just like side and stomach sleeping, back sleeping present its own issues.

Improving your sleep quality in any position

Whichever position you choose for your sleep, you’ll undoubtedly make yourself vulnerable to some type of complication. What’s most important is that you find the position that is most comfortable for you and allows you to achieve the quality of sleep you need for your health.

If you find yourself struggling to get good sleep at night or often wake up with aches and pains, it may be wise to try adjusting to a different position. It won’t happen overnight, but with time you can learn to get comfortable in a new sleeping style.

There are also plenty of tips available for better sleep including cutting down on caffeine consumption, developing a consistent sleeping/waking routine, upgrading to a better mattress, exercising frequently, and more.

You should never allow anything to prevent you from your best night’s sleep.

Author’s bio: Laurie Larson is a writer based in Durham, NC. She writes on home, health, and lifestyle topics.

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