What are your concerns?

close
Inaccurate
Hard to understand
Other

Or copy link

ask-doctor-icon

Ask Doctor for Free

Be the first to let Hello Doctor know your thoughts!

The Best Healthy Sleeping Positions

    The Best Healthy Sleeping Positions

    We all know that we need at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep as adults to function properly. However, did you know that your sleeping position can have a huge effect on your health? Something as small as changing your sleeping position can have a positive impact on your health. Here is a quick rundown on everything that you need to know about healthy sleeping positions.

    Why Does My Sleeping Position Matter?

    healthy sleeping positions

    Firstly, we spend about one-third of our lives asleep or trying to go to sleep. Therefore, our posture while we sleep can have long-term effects on our health.

    Spine health

    Another reason why your sleeping position matters is because it can impact your spine health. If your spine is misaligned while you sleep, it creates a lot of stress and strain on your hips, jaw, shoulder, neck, and spine. So if you feel a lot of pain and tension in these areas when you wake up, the culprit could be your sleeping position.

    Sleep apnea

    Additionally, people with sleep apnea can reduce their symptoms and sleep better when they change their positions. Some symptoms of sleep apnea include morning headaches, loud snoring, gasping for air while sleeping, difficulty staying asleep, etc.

    Other conditions

    Even if you do not have a problem with sleeping, you can experience a better quality of sleep when you change your sleeping position. It can also potentially help reduce the symptoms of people who deal with acid reflux and arthritis.

    Why Do We Have a Preferred Sleeping Position?

    Comfort is the first thing many of us think of when we think of sleeping positions. But is there another reason why we choose a certain position? While your sleeping position may solely due to preference, some factors cause people to prefer a specific sleeping position.

    For instance, age can play a role in your sleeping position. Most adults will prefer the side-sleeping position and this will often be the preference as they get older. Most older adults will prefer to sleep on their right side.

    Even gender can potentially affect what sleeping position you may like. For instance, women are more likely to sleep in a fetal position compared to men.

    Why Do Millennials Have Trouble Sleeping?

    What Healthy Sleeping Positions Should I Try?

    If you are interested in trying out a new sleeping position, you need to learn about the pros and cons first. Here is a quick look at some common sleeping positions and what you should know.

    Fetal position

    One of the most common sleeping positions is called a fetal position. It is similar to how a fetus would be positioned inside a mother’s uterus. Overall, the fetal position is one good example of healthy sleeping positions.

    The fetal position is also the ideal way for a pregnant woman to sleep, particularly if they are sleeping on their left side. Sleeping on your left side, while you are pregnant can improve circulation to the fetus while reducing the chances of stillbirth.

    Most chiropractors and doctors will tell you that sleeping on your side is ideal for everyone. It can also help lessen the symptoms of acid reflux: you can benefit from sleeping on your left side as sleeping on your right side may aggravate the symptoms.

    However, you can optimize the fetal position to get a better night’s rest. Instead of curling up into a tight ball, which can limit your diaphragm and lungs, let your body relax and slightly stretch it out.

    Soldier sleeping position

    People with sleep apnea might also experience worse symptoms from the soldier position because it can cause snoring. Soldier position indicates you lie flat on your back with your hands to your sides.

    However, it is not a good choice for people who often get lower back pain. Although you may choose this position and ease your lower back pain by putting a rolled-up towel or pillow under your knees to support your spine’s natural curve.

    Log position

    If you are looking for a sleeping position to help you with your sleep apnea symptoms, then you should consider the log position. In this position, you sleep on your side with a fairly straight back but have both of your arms down and near your body.

    The log position is also an excellent way to help reduce back and neck pain from sleeping. You can make this sleeping position better for you by placing a folded towel or blanket or a soft pillow between your knees. It will help ease any pressure being placed on your hips.

    What Sleeping Positions I Should Avoid?

    Sleeping on your stomach is arguably one of the worst, if not the worst, sleeping positions. It is especially terrible for people who have frequent back pain and spinal problems, such as scoliosis.

    When you sleep on your stomach, your neck is being twisted to the side to breathe. This sleeping position also puts a lot of pressure on your joints and muscles, which irritate spinal nerves and can lead to discomfort and pain when you wake up.

    In the stomach sleeping position, your airway easily opens up, which can greatly help with snoring. However, the negative effects of sleeping on your stomach can outweigh the one benefit of it. It would be best for you to speak to a medical professional, like a doctor or chiropractor, to see if you can sleep on your stomach.

    healthy sleeping positions

    Key Takeaways

    While we may be eager to jump into bed and call it a night, think about your sleeping position before you shut your eyes. The right healthy sleeping position can help you get a better night’s sleep and have a more positive impact on your overall wellbeing.

    Learn more about Healthy Sleep here.

    health-tool-icon

    BMI Calculator

    Use this calculator to check your body mass index (BMI) and find out if you're at a healthy weight. You can also use this tool to check your child's BMI.

    Male

    Female

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    We Spend About One-Third of Our Life Either Sleeping or Attempting to Do So, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21056174/, Accessed June 22, 2020

    Sleep Apnea, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/syc-20377631, Accessed June 22, 2020

    Gastroesophageal Reflux Diseases (GERD), https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gerd/symptoms-causes/syc-20361940, Accessed June 22, 2020

    Mother’s Sleeping Position and Risk of Stillbirth, https://www.nhs.uk/news/pregnancy-and-child/mothers-sleeping-position-and-risk-of-stillbirth/, Accessed June 22, 2020

    Scoliosis, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/scoliosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350716, Accessed June 22, 2020

    Picture of the authorbadge
    Written by Kip Soliva Updated Jun 04, 2021
    Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
    Next article: