As many might agree, a good night’s sleep makes you feel refreshed, happy and ready to take on the day with energy. As a college student who had been sleeping on a squeaky unsupportive mattress for far too long, a few years ago, I decided to invest some of my newly earned cash on a top-of-the-line bed hoping to rid muscle aches and wake up feeling refreshed. After a couple months went by and I continued to wake up with muscle woes and a lack of energy, I thought, what gives?
We all know how important it is to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night, however, when it comes to good sleep, quality is just as important as quantity. Recent research studying sleep patterns has found that an individual’s body position directly affects the quality of their slumber. Snoozing in the wrong position can cause muscle cramping, impair circulation, and leave you feeling less than ideal in the morning. When attempting to get into an ideal sleep position, there are three major curves that should be aligned in the lower, middle, and upper part of your back close to your neck. Listed below are the most commonly used sleep positions along with some helpful positional hints to help you get the most out of your slumber.
Sleeping on your back is ideal for ensuring your head, neck and spine maintain a natural position during the night. Back sleeping is also said to prevent wrinkles because there is nothing pushing against your face. Despite being an overall ideal position, laying on your back can lead to snoring over time and may also be dangerous for people with sleep apnea, heart failure, and/or gatroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The solution? Try putting a pillow under your knees and a small pillow under your lower back. Those with the above medical conditions should also consider sleeping in a more semi-upright position.
Sleeping on your side is also a great sleeping position because it supports the natural curve of the spine and is helpful in preventing unwanted neck or back pain. Sleeping this way has also been found to reduce snoring! If you’re a side sleeper, try a moderately thick pillow. It has been found to help fill the space between your shoulders so your head and neck are supported in a neutral position. If you suffer from back pain, try placing a pillow between your knees to help get rid of pressure on your hips and lower back.
As comfortable as it may be, sleeping on your stomach is not recommended as it can cause increased neck and lower back pain. Despite preventing snoring, stomach sleeping makes it hard to for the spine to maintain a neutral position. This pose has also been found to put increased pressure on joints and muscles and can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling over time. Can’t quit the stomach snoozing? Try using a very thin pillow or none at all; this helps keep your beck from straining or being twisted at an uncomfortable angle.
For more information about sleep postures and recommendations, check out this helpful article on WebMD.
What kind of sleeper are you? Let us know of any sleep time secrets that have worked wonders for you!