What is the best sleeping position for you

Ever woken up with a stiff neck or back and had your entire day ruined? The position that you sleep in has a huge impact on not just how well you sleep but the rest of your waking day as well.

So which position is the best to get a good night’s sleep? It all depends on your needs. Different sleeping positions can have different benefits, and you might find yourself favouring different positions depending on your physical health and needs.

Let’s look at some of the common sleeping positions and their benefits.

Fetal Position

This is the most popular position by far, and with good reason. The curled position, with your knees tucked into your chest, helps alleviate lower back pain and snoring among adults. It is also especially favoured by pregnant women as it improves circulation for both the mother and baby and reduces pressure on their veins and internal organs. 

However, curling into the position too tightly for too long can leave you feeling slightly stiff in the neck, and limit deep breathing during the night.

On your Stomach

This sleeping position can help adults with their snoring and sleep apnea issues, as their tongues and soft tissues are pulled down on and airways are opened. However, this position isn’t advisable for pregnant women and those with existing neck and back issues because of the stress it places on your spine and joints. When sleeping on your stomach, your neck and back are out of alignment as you need to twist your neck out to breathe. 

If you’re used to sleeping on your stomach, you can use a thin pillow to reduce the angle between your head and neck and keep them in alignment. Placing a pillow under your hips can also help reduce lower back pain. Stretch well before and after sleep to loosen your muscles and get your body in alignment. 

On your Side

Similar to the fetal position, sleeping on your side is generally great for you. Your spine is well supported by the natural curve of your body and it can help with snoring and sleep apnea issues. Did you know that the side that you sleep on also matters? Sleeping on your left side (the side on which your heart and certain important organs for digestion are) can help with digestion and reduce heartburn

As with most positions, sleeping on one side throughout the night can cause some stiffness in your shoulders and jaw tightness. For those concerned about their skin, sleeping on your side for too long can also contribute to wrinkles.

Choose a good and supportive pillow to avoid neck and back pain. Placing a firm pillow between your legs helps to align your hips and reduce lower back stiffness. 

On your Back

Sleeping on your back has been widely proven to be the best position to sleep in with a multitude of health benefits. Your spine and neck are in full alignment due to gravity. This also helps reduce pressure on your joints, so those with hip and knee pains are most comfortable sleeping in this position. Sleeping on your back limits contact between your pillow and your face, helping to keep it clean and slow down the onset of wrinkles. 

However, sleeping on your back can also trigger and worsen sleep apnea issues, as your tongue is more likely to rest on your airways. Those with existing back pain should ensure that they are well-supported, perhaps with an additional soft pillow under their back. 

On average, we spend about 26 years of our lives sleeping. It’s important to not spend them sleeping in uncomfortable positions that can negatively impact the rest of the time you spend awake. 

Establishing good sleeping habits like a simple night-time ritual and wearing comfortable clothing to bed can also help improve the quality of your sleep in a big way. 

It might be tough to inculcate new sleeping habits, especially as an adult, but don’t stress too much about it. Listen to your body and do what works for you at a gradual pace and in a healthy manner.