After experiencing a year of drastic changes in the way we live our day-to-day lives, the Coronavirus has created a lot of extra stress for people. Scientists and therapists alike prescribe several activities to relieve stress for people. One of those activities is simply getting a good night’s sleep. Although, getting a proper, good night’s sleep can sometimes be difficult, especially if you live in an active household. If that sounds like you, check out another one of our recent articles about how to get good sleep in an active house.
When it comes to sleeping, however, everyone seems to have their favorite sleeping position that feels most comfortable to them. What some people may not know is that their sleeping position may actually be the reason why they aren’t able to achieve a good sleep during the night. It may also be the reason why they wake up with aches and pains in the morning even if they were able to get a good sleep the night before. Getting good sleep is important, especially during times as stressful as these.
Even after the pandemic is over, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of different sleeping positions.
Sleeping on your back may also be referred to as the supine position. Experts suggest that nearly 13% of people sleep on their back in various positions, such as the soldier or the starfish. It is also said to be one of the more beneficial sleeping positions aside from a few drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons of back sleeping positions.
- Sleeping on your back makes it easy to keep your head, neck, and shoulders in alignment. This greatly helps to reduce back pain.
- Facing towards the ceiling when you sleep also alleviates any acid reflux throughout the night.
- This position is also great for helping with acne and wrinkles. It keeps your face off the pillow, free from any tension or bacteria.
- People who have a problem with snoring may experience a worsening of effects from sleeping on their back.
- Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can also be worsened by someone sleeping on their back because of the added weight on the body.
- For those who are over 20 weeks pregnant, it is often advised to avoid sleeping on your back. If you are more than 5 months pregnant, you may want to speak with your healthcare provider, but most doctors advise to switch over to sleeping on your side.
Sleeping face down or on your stomach is another sleeping position. Also known as the freefall or prone position, only about 7 percent of people sleep on their stomachs. Though many experts suggest that is for good reason. There are still some benefits to sleeping on your stomach, along with some drawbacks, of course.
- Sleeping on your stomach has been shown to reduce the side effects of sleep apnea.
- For the same reason freefall sleeping helps relieve sleep apnea symptoms, it can also help reduce obstruction of the airways and lead to less snoring.
- Laying face down while you sleep may also aid in digestion. Lying in a prone position allows your digestive tract to stretch out, which may potentially alleviate any gastrointestinal issues.
- This sleeping position puts the most strain on the back, neck, shoulders, and other joints. That is because when sleeping in this position most of the weight is concentrated in the core, causing it to sink down further than the rest of the body.
- Increased back, neck, and joint pain is extremely common for people who sleep on their stomachs because of the added strain.
- Sleeping on your stomach may also perpetuate some of the pain and symptoms experienced with acid reflux.
When it comes to sleeping on your side, there are several different positions. The most popular sleeping position is said to be the fetal position, more than 41% of people fall asleep this way. The fetal position is a side sleeping position where people curl their knees up to their chest.
Around 15% of people sleep in the log position, which is another side position where people lay on their side with their legs straight and their arms to their sides.
The yearner position is used by about 13% of the population, where people lay on their side with their legs straight and their arms stretched out in front of them.
Here are the pros and cons to side sleeping:
- Doctors encourage women to sleep on their left side while pregnant because it improves the blood circulation for both mother and baby.
- Sleeping on your side also eases symptoms associated with heartburn and acid reflux.
- Symptoms associated with conditions like sleep apnea and snoring are also reduced or alleviated by sleeping on your side.
- While sleeping on your spine can make it a little easier to keep your neck, spine, and shoulders in alignment, it can also cause more pressure in areas like your hips and lower back.
- Side sleeping, especially the fetal position, can lead to more pain from the added pressure being placed on places like your hips and lower back.
- Circulation to certain areas of the body can also be cut off or slowed down because of the added pressure that sleeping on your side can place on the body. Places like your hips or arms if they are resting underneath your body as you sleep may be at risk of reduced circulation.
As illustrated above, each sleeping position has their own benefits and drawbacks. It is mostly about your preferred sleeping method, but experts do suggest trying to retrain yourself to sleep in a different position if you are experiencing any pain or other symptoms because of the way you sleep.
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