When it’s time to get some shut-eye, not all sleeping positions have the same positive impact on your body.
In some cases, the way you sleep could negatively affect your body’s well-being — far outside the bedroom.
There are even a few great sleeping positions, even if you’re sleeping in the same bed with your significant other.
What Your Sleeping Position Means
While it’s tough to change your habits at first, it’s best to know if your preferred sleeping style is either supporting or hindering your health before you chose the best sleeping position when you get in bed.
Sleeping on your back
The pros: This position is great for balancing out your body weight, keeping your internal organs aligned, and preventing neck and back pain.
Just be sure to keep a pillow under your knees to help maintain proper alignment of your back. Lots of people have found that sleeping on their backs helped alleviate lower back pain also.
The cons: If you’re a snorer, then you might want to turn to one side; sleeping on your back may make your snoring even worse. If you’re experiencing neck pain, sleeping on your back may only irritate your neck more.
Sleeping on your side
The pros: Lying on your side in the fetal position with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs can help take the stress off your back. It’s important to use a pillow to keep your head in a neutral position, so your head won’t drop and affect your posture.
An added bonus is that sleeping on your left side also reduces heartburn pain. This position is also good at reducing snoring because on your side, your airways stay open, which alleviates snoring and mild forms of sleep apnea.
The cons: You’re in luck — there aren’t really any that impact your back, since this position follows the natural curvature of the spine. Sleeping on your right side will actually make your heartburn and reflux symptoms worse, so you should sleep on your left side when you have heartburn.
Sleeping on your stomach
The pros: When you have lower back pain, occasionally sleeping on your stomach can relieve pressure on your disc spaces. I know when I’ve been leaning over all day, falling asleep like this feels fantastic since it resembles the Cobra yoga position (lots of pillows required).
Sleeping on your stomach also aids in the reduction of sleep apnea and snoring because the position allows your airways to stay open and they won’t collapse.
The cons: Even if you love to sleep on your stomach, this is the position with the most risk.
According to Jonathan FitzGordon, an alignment specialist from NYC, “Sleeping on your stomach flattens the natural curve in the lower back and keeps your head turned to one side all night, which distorts the alignment of the spine in your neck.”
This position can also exert unnecessary pressure on your nerves, which will cause pins and needles when you wake up.