If people paid as much attention to sleep positions as they did to the positions in the Kamasutra, we would probably have a far fewer back ailments. There are a variety of ways people sleep, however, not all of them are the same. Some are good for your back, some for your digestion, some absolutely atrocious for your back and rest of the body. While it may not be possible to change your sleeping position overnight, it will definitely hold you in good stead to understand what position you sleep in and what it is doing to your body.
There are a number of ailments that are related to sleeping positions, including sleep apnea, heartburn, fatigue, etc. It is also related closely to the health of your skin. What position works for you is a matter of practice, and knowing your body.
Here are some of the best and worst positions to sleep in:
Sleeping on the Back (Supine Position)
This is widely considered to be one the best positions to sleep in. This position makes things very comfortable for your back, neck and spinal column and keeps them very well aligned. Keeping your spine in its natural, neutral position through the night is the best way to make sure you wake up rested and without any kinks in your back. This position is also supposed to help with acid reflux. It can help people with chronic stiffness in the back and/or neck.
There are, however, drawbacks to this position. Back sleeping is often associated with snoring as well as sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back can cause the tongue to fold back causing a block that encourages snoring. If your pillow is too high, this position can also cause lower back pain. To sort it out, place a rolled towel, or small pillow under your knees or the small of your back.
Sleeping on your Side
Side sleeping is one of the most widely practiced position in the current population. Sleeping on the side, while keeping your head equidistant from both shoulders and a pillow between your knees to keep your spine balanced, ensures good sleep. Research says that it helps with snoring as well as sleep apnea and can vastly increase the quality of rest you are getting. Pregnant women are encouraged to sleep on their left to decrease the pressure on the aorta and help the circulation.
Side sleeping does not have too many drawbacks if you are using the right sized pillow and keeping your spine balanced with a pillow between your knees. However, those with joint problems may get disturbed in the night with the irritating dead arm syndrome. Sleeping with the right sized pillows can alleviate this nicely. Sleeping on the right can worsen heartburn, so you’d do well to sleep on your left if you are prone to it.
Sleeping on your Stomach (Prone Position)
This position, while frowned upon by many, is considered to have a few benefits as well. It is said to lower blood pressure as well as lower the stress on the lower back. This position also help open the nasal airways, cutting down on the snoring. This position is also supposed to improve digestion.
There is however a significant downside to sleeping in this position. In this position this spine falls flat, and because you cannot breathe face down, the neck is flexed as well. This puts a lot of stress on the nerves of your arms. This position also induces a lot of strain on your chest, breasts, joints and muscles. This makes it, according to experts, one of the worst sleeping positions out there. Despite some of the superficial benefits.
Sleeping positions are subjective and observing what position works best for you is a matter of knowing your own body and sleeping position.