3 Healthy Sleeping Positions for Your Best Night’s Rest
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Ah, sleep. Those blissful eight hours where you can finally shut out your problems and turn off your brain for a while. However, you might spend more time tossing and turning than relaxing if you can’t find healthy sleeping positions.
You probably have a strong preference for your back, middle or side. However, minor adjustments can significantly increase your comfort levels. Here’s how to modify three healthy sleeping positions for your best night’s rest.
1. On Your Back
Sleeping on your back has several advantages. It may help relax you by reminding you of the position your childhood caregivers placed you in as an infant. Placing babies in this sleeping position helps reduce death from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Many experts consider sleeping on your back to be the optimal position because it distributes your weight across the largest surface of your body, minimizing pressure points. However, adult bodies change over the years, making it trickier to get comfy in this position.
A mattress that’s too firm won’t support your lower back. Your best bet is medium firmness so that it cradles this part of your body, allowing the muscles to relax.
Additionally, you might experience increased low back pain in this position if you tend to carry your weight around your belly. Try tucking a throw pillow under your lower back if a too-firm mattress leaves a gap between this body part and your bed.
Finally, those with sleep apnea may have trouble sleeping on their backs. Your tongue and soft tissue can too easily fall back and block your airway. The lack of oxygen can jolt you awake, leaving you gasping for air. If this scenario applies to you, talk to your doctor about a CPAP machine that will maintain an open airway, allowing you to rest.
2. On Your Belly
Sleeping on your belly might seem natural, but it can lead to unintentional health consequences. Why? This position can strain your spine as most of your weight concentrates in your midsection, making it impossible to maintain a neutral alignment.
Furthermore, this position can lead to pain in the neck. You have to turn your head to either side to avoid suffocation.
However, if your reaction to this news is, “I sleep on my belly because it’s comfortable, and I intend to keep doing it,” you can take measures to improve your positioning and prevent health woes. For example, you can place a thin pillow under your hips to keep your spine in a more neutral alignment.
Skinny is the word for your neck pillow, too. The thinner, the better — it will reduce the degree of angle on your neck.
However, you will need to change positions if you get pregnant. Sleeping on your belly while expecting puts too much pressure on your unborn baby, restricting blood flow and oxygen. Your best bet is lying on your left side to promote healthy blood flow and oxygen levels.
3. On Your Side
Your side may be the healthiest sleeping position of all, but it can still lead to trouble for some. Problems arise when your spine gets out of alignment from your waistline dipping in, causing an unnatural curvature.
One solution is placing a pillow between your knees to help align your spine. Insisting on one for this purpose can even reveal an interesting insight into your personality. Those who do so refuse to compromise on comfort and take their health seriously.
Another modification is to switch sides throughout the night or every other. Which side suits you best depends on underlying health factors. For example, people with heart failure often sleep on their right side, as left-sleeping puts undue pressure on this organ. People with this condition should also avoid back-sleeping, which puts too much pressure on their lungs.
However, those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often sleep on their left. Doing so prevents gastric juices from spilling back into the esophagus, causing pain that disrupts sleep. Likewise, pregnant mamas benefit from assuming this position, as it improves blood flow from the heart to the uterus while keeping pressure off the liver.
Healthy Sleeping Positions for Your Best Night’s Rest
With a little creativity, you can make your favorite resting position more comfortable. Try one of these healthy sleeping positions for your best night’s rest.