Which Sleep Position is Best?

As a Chiropractor, one of the questions we often ask is: What position do you sleep in? The reason is, your preferred sleep position could be giving you back and neck pain, stomach troubles, or even be aging you prematurely. CNN Health has listed both the best positions for your body, and the ones to avoid.

The Best: Back position

Sleeping on your back makes it easy for your head, neck, and spine to maintain a neutral position. Plus, you’re not putting pressure on the spine by forcing curves into it. In addition, it prevents neck and back pain, reduces acid reflux, and minimizes wrinkles. However, it is a bad position in terms of snoring. Only use one pillow if you sleep on your back, your head should not be pushed forward.

Next Best: Side position

Sleeping on your side also prevents neck and back pain by keeping your spine elongated and reduces acid reflux, and it also helps reduce snoring. It’s the best position for sleeping during pregnancy, if you sleep on your left side. You need a thicker pillow when side sleeping, it needs to fill the space between your neck and shoulder, and keep your neck neutral.

Not Ideal: Fetal position

It’ can be good for snoring less and sleeping during pregnancy, but it’s not so good for neck and back pain, or breathing as the curved position restricts full breaths. It also does not support the natural curves of the spine, and you most likely will wake up sore.

The Worst: Stomach position

This position puts pressure on your joints and muscles, which can irritate nerves and lead to pain, numbness, and tingling. Having your head and neck turned to one side even just a few minutes while sleeping can significantly strain the muscles and ligaments of the spine. Repeatedly doing so every night for years slowly adds pressure to the joints and nerves, contributing to spinal degeneration and allowing for the development of a variety of health problems. It also puts unwanted stress on the facet joints in the lower back, causing over arching in the spine.

If you’re currently a stomach sleeper, begin training yourself to sleep on your back or side. It’s not easy, but seeing as you spend about 1/3 of your life in this position – your body will surely thank you.

Sources:

CNN April 19, 2011

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