Just like everyone has their own taste in clothing, their own favorite foods, and their favorite TV shows to binge – everyone has a preferred sleeping position. Each of us has very particular ways we like to nestle into our beds that make us most comfortable. But there are actually some ways that are healthier than others. Despite all the possible positions one can sleep in, these can be broken down into a few broad categories:
Whether you crank your neck to the side or just lie face-down on the pillow, sleeping on your stomach is not considered a very healthy position. It may relieve snoring for some, but it’s not a good position for keeping your spine in alignment.
Your cervical spine, the part in your neck, will be turned upwards away from the thoracic spine. Also, the lumbar of the lower back is not supported, which can exacerbate low-back pain. Putting a pillow under your stomach can help, but overall, it is best to try to avoid stomach sleeping – even if it’s your preferred position.
Potentially the healthiest position is sleeping on your back. When you have a good mattress and pillow that supports the head, sleeping face up keeps your entire spine in alignment. This position is also good for those with acid reflux because they can keep their esophagus raised above their stomach so that acid does not make its way down the pipe at night.
One potential issue with back sleepers involves breathing since the tongue is forced into the back of the throat more. Most will be able to breathe fully, but those with sleep apnea and snoring problems may have difficulty in this position.
Another good position, and probably the most common, is side sleeping. With proper pillows for the head and between the knees, side sleeping is a very supportive and healthy position. There are not many problems with side sleeping and the spine is mostly in alignment.
This position is better for those who snore than back sleeping, but if you curl into a fetal position it can still restrict breathing. Side sleeping is comfortable for most so many people trying to break the stomach sleeping habit may prefer side over back positions.
West Cary Wellness can give more direction around proper alignment during sleep
A large portion of your life is spent sleeping, so it is incredibly important not to spend these hours doing more harm than good to your body while it tries to rest. At West Cary Wellness, we have in-depth knowledge of spinal alignment that can help create better sleep habits.
Residents of Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Morrisville, Chapel Hill and surrounding towns should always feel free to rely on us as their local spinal experts. We can be reached at (919) 303-1577 and would be happy to discuss your optimal sleep positioning with you.