Most of us have a favorite sleep position, even if we go to bed and wake up at different times. But be careful: the way you like to sleep might cause health issues, from simple aches to more serious conditions like sleep apnea. It’s a good idea to understand the good and bad about different sleep positions and learn some tips to make them better for you.
Lots of people love sleeping in the fetal position, where you curl up on your side. In fact, more than 4 in 10 people sleep this way, and women do it twice as much as men. Good news: it’s mostly healthy! It lets your spine chill in a natural way. Some studies even show that sleeping on your side might help keep your brain clean and could lower the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Plus, if you’re pregnant, this position is great, especially on your left side. It helps blood flow to the baby and keeps the baby’s weight off your liver.
To make the fetal position even better for sleeping, try not to curl up too tightly. Stretching out a little can help. If you’re too curled up, it can squeeze your lungs, making it harder to breathe. By relaxing your back a bit, you’ll breathe easier and get even better rest!
If you sleep on your side with both arms down, you’re doing what’s called the “log position.” About 15% of folks sleep like this, and it’s a thumbs up for your health! Sleeping this way, with your back straight, can reduce problems like sleep apnea. Plus, it can help avoid neck and back pain because your spine stays in a neat line. So, if you’re a log sleeper, you’re on the right track!
To make the log position even better, pop a soft pillow or even a folded blanket or towel between your knees. This simple trick can help reduce pressure on your hips, making your sleep more comfy and kind to your body!
The “freefall” position is like diving into a dream. If you sleep on your stomach with your arms under your pillow or beside your head, that’s you! While it feels like you’re melting into your bed, this position can cause some back and neck pain. Plus, you might find yourself wiggling around a lot during the night trying to get comfy. So, while it feels snug at first, stomach-sleeping might not be the best for a peaceful night.
Want to improve the freefall position? Ditch the hard pillow. It can mess with your neck’s comfort. Instead, use a softer pillow and place it slightly under your forehead. This way, you can face the mattress directly without turning your head. Doing so not only feels better on your neck, but also ensures you breathe easily through the night. So, if you’re a belly sleeper, this little switch can make a big difference!
The “soldier” position is when you sleep flat on your back with arms beside you. Though it might sound restful, it can lead to snoring – a noisy issue for half of adults, especially as we age. Beyond the noise, snoring can mess with your sleep and even cause some artery problems near the brain. And if you have sleep apnea, where you sometimes stop breathing or breathe shallowly, this position might make it worse. Plus, it can be rough on your lower back. But hey, there’s a silver lining: if you have acid reflux, where stomach acid moves up into your throat, this position can actually help! So, there’s some good with the bad.
Want to sleep better in the soldier position? Pop a pillow or a rolled towel under your knees. This small change supports the natural bend of your spine, reducing the risk of back pain. However, if you snore or have sleep apnea, you might want to switch it up and sleep on your side. That’ll help you breathe easier and snore less. So, adjust a little and catch those zzz’s in comfort!
In the “starfish” position, you lie on your back but spread out: legs apart and arms up beside your head. This pose, just like the soldier one, is good for those with acid reflux. However, there’s a catch. It might make you snore more, and if you have sleep apnea, this position can make it worse. So, while you might feel like you’re floating in the ocean like a relaxed starfish, remember there are some snags to watch out for.
To make the starfish position better, slide a pillow under your knees. And if your mattress feels like a marshmallow, consider getting a firmer one. A good mattress that supports your spine can be the key to waking up without those pesky backaches. So, with a bit of tweaking, even a starfish can sleep in comfort!
Thinking of changing your sleep position? Remember, old habits die hard, especially if you’ve been sleeping the same way for a long time. So, give yourself some time to adjust. If you’re looking to sleep on your back, consider investing in a supportive mattress. And if you’re trying out side-sleeping, a contour pillow between your knees can be a game-changer. Small tweaks can lead to big improvements in your sleep!