The best and most productive sleeping position for you is often determined by what ails you. If you snore, have lower back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain or problems with pain in your hips, knees or shoulders, the best position will be something that alleviates that pain so you can get some quality sleep time. If you have heartburn or chronic acid reflux, it’s important to take that into consideration as well.
Because over 40% of Americans get less sleep than they need, it puts them at greater risk for high blood pressure, fatigue, weight gain and depression, just to name a few of the problems caused by not getting enough Zzzz’s. Here are some of the facts you should know:
The Mayo Clinic advises, “The most common sleeping position is on your side, with your legs and hips aligned and flexed. Because this position leaves your upper leg unsupported, the top knee and thigh tend to slide forward and rest on the mattress, rotating the lower spine. This slight rotation may contribute to back or hip pain. To prevent that problem, place a pillow between your knees and thighs…If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back. You might try a small, rolled towel under the small of your back for additional support. Support your neck with a pillow.”
“You’re naturally going to gravitate toward a position that you feel best sleeping in,” says Steven Park, MD, professor of otolaryngology at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. “You’ll also tend to choose one based on how well you’re able to breathe.” “The smaller the airway in your throat becomes at night, the more likely it is you’re going to sleep on your stomach,” advises Dr. Park. He adds, “You’re naturally going to gravitate toward a position that you feel best sleeping in.”
You shouldn’t sleep in one position all night. This can lead to circulatory problems, and pain issues. And your favored sleep position will most likely vary with age, mostly due to various health issues. It’s estimated that 63% of Americans sleep on their sides, with only 16% sleeping on their stomachs, and an even lower 14% sleeping on their backs.
To break it down here are the pros and cons of each major sleeping position:
Sleeping on your back is good for minimizing back and neck pain. You are basically aligned, and with the proper pillow, there won’t be any strain on your neck. You’re not forcing any curves in your back, and therefore there shouldn’t be any gravitational forces working against you. It’s also a good position for fighting acid reflux. Eric Olson, MD, a sleep specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN says, “If the head is elevated, your stomach will be below your esophagus so acid or food can’t come back up.”
The major con? Snoring. Sleeping on your back is probably the worst position for inducing snoring. If you suffer from sleep apnea, it’s double trouble.
Sleeping on your side reduces snoring significantly. It has the added benefit of keeping your spine stretched out, which is great for people who suffer from most types of back problems. The trick to this position is to put a pillow between your legs for support. Without a pillow, your body will tend to slide forward into a semi-stomach stance which rotates the spine and can cause pain and discomfort in the morning.
Sleeping in a fetal position, which can be comfortable and also instinctual, can be detrimental to your breathing. “This curved position restricts diaphragmatic breathing,” advises Dody Chang, an acupuncturist in Irvington, NY. However, if you suffer from a herniated disc this position may provide pain relief.
Lastly, is the dreaded stomach sleeping position. This situation can wreak havoc on your back, because it forces your spine into an unnatural curve in several places. If you absolutely must sleep in this position, make sure you have a good, supportive, quality mattress. Your best defense is going to be a pillow placed under your pelvis and lower abdomen to relieve the excessive curves this position forces your body into.
Above all, realize that even though you think you don’t move during the night, you actually do. The average is 2-4 times per hour, and it’s completely normal. After all, if you’re not comfortable, you’re not getting your beneficial REM deep sleep.
KAYA mattresses marry the comfort of foam material and the support of coils/springs that your body needs. This makes it suitable for all types of sleepers, even with the most unique sleeping conditions.