Ever wonder if you’re prone to certain aches and pains because of how you snooze? So what position should you sleep in?
People ask me almost daily what position they should sleep in.
While it might be easy to hypothesise, the reality is, once you’re asleep you have very little control over where you end up!
We all know that sleep has a huge influence on our health. If we don’t catch enough zzzs, we’re likely to be irritable, unable to focus and prone to weight gain. But did you know that even your sleep position can affect your health?
The Log (On your side, outstretched)
As long as your pillow is the right height, sleeping in an elongated side position soothes neck and back pain, as it takes the stress off your back.
Tip: A plump pillow will support your head and neck to maintain a neutral spine position. If your pillow is too high or too low, it can send the spine out of alignment and cause pain.
The Foetus (On your side with knees tucked up)
Sleeping on your back can promote snoring as your tongue can block the throat – so resting on your side may help serial snorers. It’s also a good position for pregnant women in their third trimester.
Tip: Yes, it’s comforting to sleep all tucked up at night, but try to loosen up a bit. Even a slight straightening out of the curve will be an improvement. If you feel strain on your lower back in this position try supporting the top leg with a pillow.
The Soldier (On your back with arms by your side)
This is an ideal sleep position… if you don’t snore, that is. Plus sleeping on your back helps to maintain the natural alignment of the spine, which prevents neck and back pain. Try placing a pillow under your knees to promote this further.
Tip: Use a supportive pillow, but not one that is so firm that it elevates your head out of a comfortable neutral position.
The Freefall (Face down on your stomach)
This can be suitable for people who snore, as it opens up airways. However, it can create several problems for the spine. First, you have to face to the side, so it creates a twist at the neck that can commonly cause neck pain. It can also change the whole shape of the spine, causing a flattening out of the normal curve that we have between our shoulders. This alters the biodynamics of the spine putting pressure on the joints and muscles. Some people find it comfortable, while it leaves others nauseous due to the pressure on the breasts and stomach.
Tip: Have regular neck massages if you’re a belly sleeper. Keeping your head turned to one side for hours is likely to cause strain, so swap sides if you wake up.