Sleep Positions and Their Effect on Your Health

June 12, 2018

How you position yourself when sleeping plays a significant part in your overall health. When you wake up with a stiff neck, sore back, or achy shoulders, you should rethink your sleeping position for a healthier you. Knowing you spend, on average, a third of your life sleeping, make sure it is in a sleeping position that will enhance your health, not hinder it.

Types of Sleeping Positions - here’s a breakdown of the most common sleep positions and their advantages and drawbacks.

Back Sleeper

  • This is the healthiest sleeping position because it allows for proper alignment of your body.
  • Sleeping on your back with your arms by your side allows the body to be in a neutral position without any unusual curves in your spine.
  • This position is especially helpful in preventing back pain, reducing acid reflux, and is also helpful in preventing wrinkles.
  • To alleviate back pain in this position, place a pillow under your knees to ensure your spine is properly aligned. Should you need further support, you can add a small, rolled towel under your lower back for additional support.  

Side Sleeper

  • This position is most recommended for pregnant women, especially to sleep on your left side to increase the amount of blood and nutrients to reach your baby.
  • This sleeping position keeps your spine neutrally aligned and is also good for minimizing snoring by opening the airway.
  • Make sure you support your neck in this position with a fairly thick pillow.
  • To adjust for spine misalignment in this position, place a supportive pillow between your knees so your top leg is supported and your hip and spine are aligned.

Stomach Sleeper

  • The stomach position is not usually recommended because this position forces you to twist your neck to the side so you can breathe, possibly irritating spinal nerves.
  • However, this position can help with those suffering from digestive issues.
  • To assist with support in this position, place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdominal area.

Tips to Help You Sleep Better

  1. Choosing a Mattress - Choose a mattress that provides support for the natural curves of your spine, is comfortable, and is roomy enough for you and your partner.
  2. The Right Pillow - Choose a pillow based on your sleeping position that allows for proper support.
  3. Alignment - Always aim for proper alignment in your chosen sleeping position. Use pillows for proper support depending on your chosen position.

As you prepare for sleep, remember a healthy sleeping posture helps your back by allowing muscles and ligaments to relax and heal themselves while you sleep. Use pillows as extra support and to fill in gaps where needed in any sleep position you ultimately choose. Your comfort level during sleep dictates how you feel upon waking, so make the most of your sleeping hours and take care of your body.  

Avoid sleeping problems by purchasing a pillow specially-designed by chiropractors for proper spine alignment.