The Best and Worst Sleeping Positions for Your Health

health

guide

sleep science

A lot of us suffer from sleeping disorders or disrupted sleep. A lack of sleep can cause a range of issues, and a bad sleeping position can be a major problem.

Alice Tozzi

Sleep on it

Everyone knows how important it is having a good night's sleep. But we're also aware that for 31% of the British population insomnia represents a huge obstacle to let this happen.

  • 22% of people in the UK struggles to fall asleep every night
  • 15% struggles to fall asleep at least once a week
  • From june 2014 to May 2019 NHS prescriptions for Melatoning rose by 148%

Little did we know that our sleeping positions are playing an important role in our health: here's what's happening and how to fix it.

Back (Supine)

If lying on your back is your go to sleeping position than you're gaining all the benefits: your head is facing straight up and your weight is evenly distributed on your spine, making it the most orthopedically sound position. This position allows gravity to pull down on your face and chest, particularly beneficial for those suffering from acid reflux: with your head slightly elevated, your stomach sits below your esophagus so acid and food are far less likely to come back up. However, sleeping on your back could be the worst position if you suffer from sleep apnea, by making it harder or you to breath. Score: 10/10. Unless, you're a habitual snorer, then back-sleeping is your best option for day-today physial health. Oh, and did I mention that it helps prevent wrinkles?!

Left Side (Second Best)

If you fin snuggling on your ide the most comfortable position for you, then you should choose your left side. Sleeping on your right side pushes your blood vessels impeding maximum circulation: consequently your body moves more frequently to accomodate the lack of circulation. Sleeping on your left side, though, allows fro cardiovascular return: this means that it's easier for your heart to pump blood throughout your body when there is less pressure on that region. Score: Whether you choose to sleep on your right or left side, it's always best to place a firm pillow betweenyour knees to guarantee good alignment between hips an joints. It also helps evenly distribute your weight throughout the night.

Right Side

Although you may enjoy sleeping on your right side, this may expose you to health risk. Your right side is the location of your entire cardiovascular system: so sleeping on this side may add pressure to your rib cage and strain your lungs. This may lead to acid reflux and heart failure. However, if you're in overall good health, sleeping on your right side cannot cause you any harm. Score: If you cannot fall alseep in other position then we suggest to roll up a small towel and place it in the small of your waist to avoid sinking into the mattress.

Sleep On One Leg

This position is also known as the "horizontal tree" position, and it's performed with one leg higher than the other, and although it helps you fall asleep it's not doing any good to your health. While having both of your legs elevated during sleep can pull weigtht on your pelvin (being a remmedy for those who suffer from lower back pain), having only one leg up may be doing the exact opposite. Score: If you find yourself waking up during the night with eiter your right or left leg up, then try placing a pillow between your legs. This takes the pressure off your pelvis and helps stabilising the leg that keep moving upward during your sleep.

Stomach (The Worst)

This might come as a bad news for those who love to sleep on their belly (believe me, it breaks my heart too!). Despite this, falling asleep in thsi position is more likely to lead to pain and discomfort the next day. By sleeping on your front pulls your stomach down and hurts the curvature of the spine, and forces you to turn your head 90 degrees, which may strain your neck. That would explain the crick in your neck you had this morning! Score: Don't despair, you can still sleep on your belly, but make sure you do these things to better your health: use a firmer pillow (thsi will prop your neck, for more even curvature of our spine); place a pillow under your pelvic region (this will decrease the compression on the arch of your lower back, favouring a natural alignment of your spine).

Read More