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What Side Is Better To Sleep On

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How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health Your Dreams And Your Personality

Dr. Michael Breus

We all have a favorite sleep position, the one we happily settle into, without even thinking about it, at the end of a long day. What’s yours? Mine is on my stomach , but I am usually on my right side, because my French Bulldog is snoring on my right side!

Sleep position is definitely a matter of preference. But it’s a lot more than that. Our sleep positions have wide effects on the body. Think about it: you spend roughly one-third of your life asleep—that means one third of your time is spent relatively motionless, in a handful of sleep postures. These sleep postures can affect how well and how much we sleep, and have an impact on our health. There’s research that indicates sleep position influences our dreams, and even has a connection to our personality!

Read on to find out how your sleep position might be helping your health and sleep, and what your sleep posture might say about who you are and how you dream.

It’s usually best to go with what is most comfortable as long as it does not cause pain .

Factors that affect sleep position  

When we think about sleep positions, comfort is the first factor that comes to mind. Our sleep position preferences are highly individual. You might feel squished sleeping on your stomach, but your bed partner loves it. The curled-up fetal sleep posture that feels just right to you makes your bed partner feel cramped and stiff.

Sleep position, personality and dreaming

The pros and cons of common sleep positions

Sweet Dreams,

Considerations For Choosing The Right Sleeping Position For You

Choosing the right sleep position depends on a number of factors. These include personal preference, as well as physical and medical factors such as:

  • Age
  • Snoring
  • Pregnancy

It is often challenging to change personal sleeping positions. Once we’re asleep, we may find we revert to what is familiar. The use of pillows and back supports may help keep you in your new position during the night.

What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Sleeping Pills Every Night

  • Benzodiazepine use is associated with increased rates of dementia.
  • The risk may be higher with higher daily doses.
  • The risk is higher with drugs that stay in the body longer .
  • The risk is higher in current users than past users suggesting that getting off sleep drugs may lower risk.
  • The increased risk may be about 50%.

What To Consider When Purchasing A Pillow For Side Sleepers

In your research for a pillow that is compatible with side sleeping, you’ll no doubt come across pillow manufacturers who claim their products are suitable for all sleep positions, or that their pillows’ construction and materials offer universal comfort for all sleepers regardless of body type or personal preference. These marketing claims are misleading. Each pillow is uniquely designed to provide a distinct feel. Given the demands of different sleep positions, any pillow you select will be better suited to some sleepers and less so for others.

Rather than using marketing jargon to guide your pillow search, focus on the following attributes instead.

It’s Worse To Sleep On This Side Of Your Body Says Science

The Right Pillow Could be Your Answer to Better Sleep ...

    If you obsess about sleep, you already know that there are good and bad positions you should use in bed. The worst sleep position of all? It’s sleeping on your stomach . “This position puts the most pressure on your spine’s muscles and joints because it flattens the natural curve of your spine,” observesRaymond J. Hah, MD, a  at USC. “Sleeping on your stomach also forces you to turn your neck, which can cause neck and upper back pain.”

    As for the good positions for sleep, many leading health experts will rightly tell you that you could do far worse than to sleep on your side. But if you’re a dedicated side sleeper—and good for you, if you are—science has shown that you’d be wise to avoid sleeping on one side of your body, and for several health reasons. Curious to know more? Read on to learn everything you need to know, and for some great ways to sleep better starting now, see here for The One Secret Sleep Trick That Can Change Your Life.

    Go To Single Session Pathway 3: Sleep For More Information

    I am a psychiatrist with a small private practice in Calgary and am an assistant clinical professor in the faculty of medicine at the University of Calgary. Since 2000, I have worked with over 1000 patients, all with ME/CFS, FM and ES. My passion for this field comes from my own struggle with these diseases, my desire to improve my health and then pass on what I learn. My goal is for every patient in Canada to have access to respectful, effective health care within the publicly funded system. If you are looking for help and resources to help combat ME/CFS, FM and ES, see my guides and webinar.


    Which Sleeping Position Is Best When You Have Sleep Apnea

    Lying down creates different breathing conditions for your body from when you are upright. 

    When you’re on your feet or sitting, your airways are pointing downward, leaving breathing and airflow fairly unrestricted. However, when you lie down, your body is forced to breathe in a horizontal position, meaning that gravity is now working against your airways.

    What Is The Best Sleeping Position If I Have Acid Reflux

    Sleeping with acid reflux can be downright impossible. Waking up in the middle of the night, choking on acid, and coughing violently are all symptoms of nighttime reflux. 

    At times it can feel like you’ll never get a good sleep. However, some research suggests that your sleeping position could in fact influence your nighttime reflux. 

    So, what is the best sleep position for acid reflux patients? Studies show that sleeping on your left side is better for acid reflux, whereas right-side sleeping is associated with longer esophageal acid exposure and high incidence of lower esophageal sphincter relaxation.

    In this article, we discuss the science behind acid reflux and sleep, as well as the key tips to sleeping with your upper body elevated. 

    1.8Get the Best Sleep of Your Life

    Best Sleeping Positions For Back Shoulder And Neck Pain

    If you have back pain, sleeping on your stomach or back may aggravate your pain. Switch to side sleeping to minimize your risk of back pain.

    For further relief, put a pillow between your knees to keep your hips in alignment. If you must sleep on your back, placing a pillow under your knees will take some strain off of your back.

    Shoulder, Neck, and Upper Back Pain

    Arthritis and other painful conditions along your upper spine can worsen or improve while you sleep. Studies seem to disagree, though, on what positions are ideal.

    One large study found that people had less shoulder pain who slept in the starfish position—on their backs, with hands up near their chest or head. But it couldn’t explain if those people had less shoulder pain because of the way they slept, or if they slept that way because they had less pain.

    A later study found that people who slept on their backs with their arms at their sides—the soldier position—activated their shoulder muscles less, and thus may experience less shoulder pain.

    Right Or Left Which Side Is Best For Acid Reflux / Gerd

    There is a growing body of research that points to the idea that the left side is ideal to sleep on for multiple reasons. While the exact reason that the left side is best for reducing GERD and acid reflux symptoms is not yet known, study after study shows that the left side is indeed best.

    In addition, it is standard practice for patients to lie on the left side when receiving an endoscopy, a procedure in which a camera is passed through the esophagus to inspect the esophagus and the stomach. The reason the person is asked to lay on their left side is to reduce the possibility of reflux. Having the patient lie on their left side reduces the chance of acid escaping into the esophagus while the scope inspects the stomach.

    Expert theories as to why the left side is better vary.

  • Some researchers believe that sleeping on the right side causes the muscles of the esophagus and stomach to relax more than is ideal, leading to acid leakage into the esophagus which causes heartburn.
  • Others believe that, because of the way our stomach is shaped, that sleeping on the left side positions the opening of the esophagus above the stomach, on an upward angle, preventing acid from reaching it.
  • What experts agree on is that left-side sleeping is the best for reducing acid reflux.

    “Right is Wrong.”

    David A. Johnson, M.D’s personal memory trick is to remember the phrase, “Right is Wrong.” Read more about Dr. Johnson’s findings here.

    Should You Sleep On Your Right Side Or Your Left Side

    Joe Auer disclosure page

    The average person spends about one-third of their life sleeping — so one’s sleeping position really does matter. “Eighty percent of the population will have back problems at some point in lives oftentimes caused or aggravated by the way they sleep,” Dr. Hooman Melamed, an orthopedic spine surgeon, told Medical Daily.

    So, what’s the best position for sleep? The short answer: It depends. Experts all agree that sleeping on one’s stomach is not ideal because that position does not support the natural curve of the spine. But there are benefits and drawbacks to sleeping on one’s back, left side and right side.

    George Rudy/Shutterstock

    The National Sleep Foundation says that the best sleep position is on one’s back. “Sleeping on one’s back allows the head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position,” their website explains. “This means that there’s no extra pressure on those areas, so people are less likely to experience pain. Sleeping facing the ceiling also ideal for warding off acid reflux.”

    However, the Foundation reports that only 8 percent of people sleep on their backs. Furthermore, sleeping on one’s back is not recommended if people snore or have sleep apnea.

    The American Pregnancy Association recommends that pregnant women sleep on their side. According to their website, “sleeping on one’s left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and the baby.”

    What Is The Best Sleep Position: Stomach Back Or Side

    There are three distinct sleeping positions. Most of us tend to lie on our side, but some of us sleep better on our backs or stomachs. And many of us…

    There are three distinct sleeping positions. Most of us tend to lie on our side, but some of us sleep better on our backs or stomachs. And many of us move between two or all three positions throughout the night.

    But which of the three is the best sleeping position? Each has its pros and cons, although stomach sleeping has more drawbacks than benefits. We’ll go over each position, and you can decide which sounds right for you.

    If you have a medical condition, theVerified SourceJohns Hopkins MedicineUniversity focused on medical research that produces thoroughly reviewed health articles.View sourceand the wrong one can worsen your condition.

    Different positions can lead to:

    Side Sleeping: What Side To Sleep On With Acid Reflux Better Sleep Pillow Gel Fiber Pillow ...

    A good night’s rest can be the difference between a day of inspiring productivity and a day of extra coffee and feeling sluggish. Many Americans, however, are suffering from sleep deprivation for reasons they may not expect. Acid Reflux and GERD affect more people than you might expect, and many sufferers of nighttime heartburn and stomach discomfort find themselves researching best sleeping position and side sleeping to reduce acid reflux symptoms. In this guide, we will explore how acid reflux and GERD sufferers can get a better night’s sleep by sleeping on their side and which side will provide the most relief.

    Cannabis As A Sleep Aid: Here’s What You Need To Know

    Many people with ME/CFS, FM and ES are trying cannabis products to assist with sleep. There are naturally occurring cannabinoids including tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol and a number of synthetic pharma-produced cannabinoids such as Nabiximol Dronabinol and nabilone . Now that naturally occurring cannabinoids are legally accessible in most countries, sales of synthetic products have plummeted. People clearly prefer natural cannabis products. 

    An extensive review of the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids by the National Academy of Medicine in the U.S. concludes that there is moderate evidence that cannabinoids improve sleep quality and daytime refreshment in people with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain. However, the research is hampered by the lack of comparison of different strains and cannabis molecules. Furthermore, the same cannabinoid molecule can have different effects if inhaled by vapour versus being taken by mouth. 

    It is important to be aware that although naturally occurring, cannabis has side effects. Some side effects like getting high or getting the munchies are not too serious. Some are more problematic. Tolerance develops to the sleep effects of cannabis. This means that when people discontinue cannabis, they often experience insomnia for a period of time. This can make it hard for people to discontinue use when they wish. 

    Potentially Serious Side Effects Of Cannabis Include:

    • Motor vehicle accidents while impaired
    • Impaired learning, memory and attention after use
    • Development or worsening of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, especially in younger individuals who are heavy users
    • Cannabis dependence
    • Development of other substance use disorders  
    • Impact on insurance and benefits coverage

    The Best Sleeping Positions For Sleep Apnea Sufferers

    Most people have a favorite sleeping position. Maybe you like to curl up on your side, or perhaps you like to relax on your back and spread out your limbs. You may even be most comfortable when you are lying on your stomach. While the way you arrange your body while you’re asleep might not seem like a big deal, it can actually have a big impact on your health. What you think of as your go-to sleep position may be working against you and affecting your body over time. In particular, it can affect how well you breathe at night which is a big deal for those suffering from sleep disorders. Let’s discuss how your nightly sleeping position may have a bearing on the severity of your sleep apnea.

    What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Restful Sleep


    The best sleeping position is generally the one that promotes the best slumber. This varies from person-to-person based on personal preference and physical and medical factors. While some studies suggest that sleeping on one’s side is preferred, as we’ll see below, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Read on to learn more about the benefits and risks associated with various sleeping positions.

    What Sleep Positions During Pregnancy Should I Avoid

    Sleeping on your back: This can cause problems with backaches, breathing, the digestive system, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure and cause a decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby. This is a result of your growing abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels .  You can also develop sleep apnea as you put on weight.

    Sleeping on your stomach: When you are farther along in your pregnancy, your breasts become more tender and your abdomen continues to grow, both making sleeping on your tummy uncomfortable. Using a donut-shaped pillow may help you sleep comfortably on your stomach.

    Reasons for your discomfort may include:

    During pregnancy, you may find yourself wrestling in bed trying to get comfortable before falling asleep. When you are pregnant your body goes through a variety of changes causing your regular sleeping positions to no longer work for you.

    • Increased size of the abdomen
    • Back pain

    Waking Up With Heartburn In The Middle Of The Night

    Falling asleep soundly can be a feat for reflux patients. Nighttime heartburn is a common occurrence for reflux patients, so much so that 75% of reflux patients report experiencing heartburn at night at least once a week. 

    Patients often report waking up choking, coughing, or feeling a strong acid sensation at the back of their throat. This is also accompanied by a sharp chest pain that could easily be mistaken for a heart attack. 

    Although doctors have yet to understand what separates daytime and nighttime heartburn, a study revealed the possible indicators of nighttime heartburn, which include:

    • High BMI
    • Asthma
    • Snoring 

    Patients with nighttime heartburn tend to be treated differently than those who only experience symptoms in the daytime. This is because nighttime reflux sufferers often have more complex and aggressive symptoms compared to daytime patients. 

    At night, patients with heartburn symptoms aren’t just experiencing empty symptoms; they’re also experiencing acid reflux. Nighttime reflux tends to have a “longer clearance time”, which means the acid stays longer in the esophagus before receding again. Because of this, doctors suggest more intensive therapy methods in order to protect the esophagus from prolonged acid contact. 

    Chronic esophageal exposure to acid may eventually lead to esophagitis and respiratory complications. Part of the GERD diagnosis involves distinguishing between nighttime and daytime symptoms in order to provide the right treatment plan. 

    Best Sleeping Position For Snoring And Sleep Apnea

    To minimize the risk of snoring, it’s usually best to sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back may aggravate snoring, but for a smaller number of snorers, back sleeping helps them feel more restful the next day.

    Tips to Stop Snoring

    If you snore, but still want to sleep on your back, try stacking a few pillows underneath your head to reduce the risk of snoring. If snoring wakes you up or if you wake up gasping or feel tired during the day, it’s time to see your doctor.

    Sleep Apnea

    Severe or loud snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea, a condition that causes you to stop and start breathing while you sleep due to airway obstructions. Sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

    If you have sleep apnea, the way you sleep is well-known to influence how sleepy you feel throughout the next day.

    One large study found that most patients with obstructive sleep apnea slept better on their sides, experienced less interrupted sleep, and were more wakeful the next day. However, this same study found that people with severe OSA actually felt sleepier the next day if they slept on their sides, as compared to their backs. Ask your doctor for sleep recommendations if you think you might have OSA.

    Can Side Sleeping Help Clear Toxins From Your Body

    Can Sleeping in Separate Beds Actually Be Good for Your ...

    When we sleep, our bodies are not only recovering and gaining more energy. According to different studies, our bodies actually clear themselves from waste and harmful chemicals that could potentially lead to cognitive decline. Our bodily system that is in charge of it is called glymphatic system and it has been found that side sleepers were about 25% better at clearing toxins from the brain than back or stomach sleepers.

    Is Sleeping On Your Side The Most Common Position

    Most people prefer to sleep on their side. This is supported by a study showing that children sleep on the side, back, and front equally, with a growing preference for the side position when approaching adulthood. Side-sleeping with an arm overhead is the most common sleep position, representing 55 percent of the time asleep in bed. Research suggests that the preferred side position increases with age due to a loss of flexibility of the spine.

    Patients with heart failure, however, instinctively avoid the left side position during sleep, possibly to avoid discomfort and shortness of breath. Instead, this population prefers to sleep in the right side position.

    Sleep Positions To Relieve Back And Shoulder Pain

    Research indicates that it’s possible to reduce back and shoulder pain and discomfort and increase sleep quality by modifying sleep posture. The best sleeping position for both lower and upper back pain is on the back. This position distributes weight across the entire spine. To help maintain the natural curve of the spine, place a pillow under your knees. The best sleeping positions for neck pain are on the back or the side.

    Sleeping on the side with an arm overhead may aggravate and delay healing of an acute elbow injury and result in chronic pain. Therefore, people with tennis elbow who prefer sleeping on their side should keep the arm down.

    Which Side Is The Best To Sleep On: Left Or Right

    Sleeping on your left side is thought to have the most benefits to your overall health. In this position, your organs are freer to get rid of toxins while you sleep. Still, either side can offer benefits in terms of sleep apnea and chronic lower back pain relief.

    You don’t have to stick with one side the entire night. Feel free to start on your left side and see how your body feels.

    It’s also normal to shift around while you sleep from side to side, or even onto your back. is the hardest on your spine and organs, so try to avoid this position if possible.

    Sleeping Positions For Couples What Do They Mean

    According to body language experts and psychologists, couples sleeping positions can actually signal attitudes and feelings toward each other. Here are what some couples sleep positions mean.


    Positions like The Spoon and The Loose Spoon can signal trust among sleep partners. Turning your back away from someone is a vulnerable position, assuming the position says “I trust you.” However, if your nightly spooning takes place on your partner’s side , he or she may be trying to play hard-go-get. Or they may just be trying to get away from your cuddly annexation—it’s not called the cold shoulder for nothing.


    Couples sleep positions that involve the intertwining of legs and arms suggests the same “intertwining” of your lives. Positions like The Leg Hug or The Nuzzle can signal a strong emotional connection—that you function as a unit. However, psychologists warn that physically intense positions like The Tangle may mean you overly depend on one another, that you may be sacrificing your independence by being too tangled up in each other’s lives.


    Head positions during sleep also suggest a relationship hierarchy, say researchers. Touching heads or equal positioning suggests a relationship equality and synchronized thinking. People who sleep closer to the headboard usually have a more domineering personality, while lower placed noggins signal lower self-esteem and submissiveness. Of course, it could always just be case of Little Bo Peep vs. Bigfoot.

    The Dreamers Guide To The Best Sleeping Positions

    The sideways siesta. The horizontal hibernation. Whatever you call it, a good night’s sleep is a precious thing. What can we say? At Purple, we’re dreamers at heart.

    Whether you dream each night of flying through Manhattan decked out in a red cape, or riding on the back of a majestic tyrannosaurus rex, your sleep position has a profound effect on the quality of your sleep and your dreams. One sleep study survey of college students found a connection between dream content and sleep positions. Here were the results:

    • Left Side Sleepers – Less acid reflux, but more nightmares than right side
    • Right Side Sleepers – Acid reflux may cause dreams about swallowing or burning
    • On Back – More nightmares and difficulty remembering dreams
    • Stomach Sleepers – More intense dreams, but more restlessness overall

    While your sleep position may influence what and how your dream, don’t go changing your routine to achieve Inception just yet. There are also physical factors to consider. Overall, getting your body in whatever position it needs to achieve the restorative slumber of REM sleep is still the best way to influence your dreams.

    What Does Side Sleeping Have To Do With Digestion

    The reason why sleeping on the right side increases risks of gastrointestinal and digestive issues lays in the way our organs are positioned inside our body. Your stomach is on your left side, therefore, gravity works well to consolidate your dinner and take it slowly down towards the intestines. On the other hand, when you sleep on your right side, the gravity works against your gastric juices creating a perfect environment for acid reflux.

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