Why Your Sleeping Position Matters
A few lucky individuals can fall asleep in any pose, but most of us have a preferred sleep position. Side sleeping is the most common way to snooze, with 54% of adults preferring this method. But does your sleeping position really matter?
The way you sleep can have a profound impact on your mental and physical health! Explore the different sleep positions and how they affect you to find your ideal choice.
Sleeping Positions, Explained
Most healthcare professionals agree that side or back positions are the best way to sleep. Stomach sleeping usually has a bad reputation because it throws your body out of alignment. But your ideal position depends a lot on your body and health concerns.
Sleeping on your side helps to reduce back pain and keeps your spine straight. This position is ideal for people who have:
- Lower back pain
- Neck pain
- Sleep apnea
- Acid reflux
It's also recommended during pregnancy to relieve back pain and avoid pressure on your stomach. Make sure your entire body is aligned to make side sleeping more comfortable. You can do this by placing a cushion between your knees or using a thicker, firmer pillow for your head.
But side-sleeping isn't for everyone. This sleep position can put a lot of stress on your shoulders and jaw. There's also some research that suggests side sleeping can lead to more prominent wrinkles!
If you're a die-hard side sleeper, try to alternate sides every night or even throughout the night. This movement can also prevent hip and shoulder strain which results from laying in the same position every night.
The second most common sleep position is flat on your back. This position promotes healthy spine alignment and helps your muscles relax. Back sleeping is ideal for those who:
- Experience back pain
- Struggle with neck pain
- Are congested or sick
- Worry about wrinkles
The key to a perfect back sleep is having the proper pillows and mattress. You might need to switch to a wedge pillow to keep your neck strain-free or invest in a firmer mattress. Take our Mattress Quiz if you need help making a decision!
But back sleeping isn't ideal for everyone. For some, it can cause more problems than any other position. Sleeping on your back isn't recommended if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have GERD or acid reflux
- Snore or have sleep apnea
- Experience lower back pain
- Heavier or older
If you love sleeping on your back, but it causes pain, try to improve it! Slide a flat pillow under your lower back if you experience aches, or stack more pillows under your head if snoring bothers you.
Stomach sleeping is one of the rarest sleep options, but it does have a major benefit! Stomach sleeping is an excellent way to reduce snoring. Sadly, that's the only real advantage of sleeping on your stomach.
The downsides of stomach sleeping include:
- Increased wrinkles
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Hip pain
- Less restful sleep
If you love to flop down on your bed and snooze on your stomach, enhance the experience by:
- Using a thin pillow (or no pillow at all!)
- Placing a thin pillow under the hips for alignment
- Investing in a firm, good-quality mattress
You can also try to vary your positions throughout the night to reduce strain on your body. Many people who fall asleep on their stomachs are actually combination sleepers!
Combination sleepers tend to fall asleep in one position and wake up in a different one. They may move around at night and go through many different poses. This type of sleeper might not struggle with aches caused by sleeping in the same position, but they can experience a unique set of problems.
Combination sleepers often struggle to find the right pillows and mattresses. Since they move so much, a flat pillow might be comfortable when falling asleep but not when waking up! Pillows with adjustable filling might be the best solution for supporting every position.
The best mattress for a combo sleeper should strike the right balance between soft and firm. A medium or medium-firm mattress is the optimal choice to support every single position. Motion transfer is also a significant issue to consider, especially if you sleep with a partner.
If you're a combo sleeper, you might be affecting your partner's sleep because of all the tossing and turning! Switch to a memory foam, latex, or hybrid mattress to reduce the impact of your movements.
The fetal position often feels the most natural for us. It's a modified side sleep position with your body curled inwards. It removes all pressure from your spine, reduces snoring, and prevents acid reflux.
But the fetal position isn't ideal for those suffering from hip pain or spinal stenosis. This position can put more stress on those areas and result in a poor night's sleep. If this sounds like you, try adding a soft pillow between your knees to help keep your body aligned.
The Sleep Health Connection
It seems that your sleeping position really does matter! It can reduce certain ailments like allergies and back aches. But it can also lead to health problems, like acid reflux, if you're not in the ideal pose.
A poor night's sleep because of the wrong sleep position can also wreak havoc on your mental health. Not getting enough restful sleep can increase the risk of:
- Poor decision making
- Emotional instability
- Mood swings
But practicing good sleep hygiene and using the proper sleep position can prevent these issues!
Find the Perfect Match for Your Sleeping Position
Your sleeping position can make or break your sleep quality. But it's difficult to adjust your pose if you're used to one particular way of snoozing. Matching your mattress, bedding, and pillows to your sleep position can help you get a good night's rest, regardless of how you love to rest!
And Nest Bedding is here to help you do that. We want you to love where you sleep! Start by browsing our Certipur-US certified luxury mattresses, and you'll be counting sheep in no time!