What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Me
At the end of the day, the best sleeping position is the one that leaves your body aligned, rested, and healthy. And that differs between every sleeper! A pregnant woman may need to sleep on her left side, while an older man may prefer sleeping supine to relieve back pain.
Test what feels right for your body. However, keep in mind that stomach sleeping comes with more drawbacks for your health.
If curious about changing your sleeping position, youre in luck. Good sleep hygiene just takes practice. Studies show that sleepers can train themselves to sleep in a new position. 1A few tips for switching up sleeping positions:
- Be patient Sleep habits take time to form. To switch from sleeping on your side to your back, it might take a few weeks at least.
- Use props Ever heard of the tennis ball technique? By sewing one into the front of your pajamas, you can prevent rolling onto your stomach while sleeping. And for side sleepers, a firm pillow between the knees is crucial for spinal alignment.
- Buy quality bedding The right mattress, pillow, and support can make all the difference in sleep. Back and stomach sleepers often need firmer mattresses, while side sleepers need more cushion . For more information on this, discover the differences between a plush vs. firm mattress. Similarly, back and side sleepers may need a more structured pillow for support, while stomach sleepers need a thinner pillow to minimize neck pain.
Get A Pillow Designed For Side Sleepers
The best pillow for side sleepers is one that supports proper alignment between your neck and the rest of your spine. Your neck should stay aligned with your upper back to avoid creating any pressure or neck pain upon waking up. If you sleep on your side and are prone to neck pain, you might want to avoid a feather pillow and opt for a supportive latex pillow instead.
Measure the space between your neck and the edge of your shoulder. When you go shopping for pillows, that measurement should be close to the pillows loft, which describes the height of a pillow.
You can use additional pillows to make side sleeping more comfortable. Place a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned, reduce pressure on your knee joints, and prevent straining your lower back.
Reasons To Sleep On Your Left Side
Not everyone does best with right side sleeping. In fact, there are three distinct groups of people that may do worse.
1. Acid Reflux Sufferers
People suffering from acid reflux may sleep better on their left side. This is because studies show that acid reflux may be worse with right side sleeping. Thus, if your acid reflux is causing you more symptoms than your heart, you may want to consider sleeping on your left side.
2. Vagus Nerve Arrhythmias
The vagus nerve connects the heart, brain, and gut. Because of this connection, vagus nerve activation may be an important cause of arrhythmias.
With vagus nerve stimulation, you get increased parasympathetic activity which is the exact opposite of the fight or flight response with sympathetic stimulation. Thus, to quiet your vagus nerve at night, studies suggest that you may want to try sleeping on your left side.
3. Too Slow of a Heart Rate at Night
If you have ever worn a heart monitor, your doctor may have told you that your heart beats too slow at night. If this is the case, sleeping on your left side could stimulate a sympathetic response and increase your heart rate.
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What Is The Best Pillow For A Side Sleeper
The best pillows for side sleepers are firm and lift the head and neck to maintain spine alignment. The pillow should be 4 to 6 inches thick. Side sleepers also benefit from tucking a pillow between their legs to maintain hip alignment, and some find hugging a small pillow keeps their arms from falling asleep. You also want to make sure that you keep your head and neck in alignment with your back versus bending your neck forward on your pillow, to prevent neck pain.
Can Sleeping Posture Predict Your Personality
That depends on what you consider “personality.” In the 70s and 80s, some researchers claimed they could use sleeping postures to predict if someone were impulsive, feminine, anxious, self-confident–even whether they could be hypnotized.
More recent studies have cast doubt on these theories. The research has been criticized for using “woefully small” numbers of sleepers. Many contradictions have been found between these studies as well.
A more recent attempt to associate personality traits to body positions during sleep came up empty-handed. It showed only a “very weak relationship between sleep positions and personality,” and, using predictions from earlier models, failed to reliably predict the participants’ personality traits.
But on the Other Hand…
Even if earlier studies are unreliable, there may be another way that our sleep postures say something about our personalities. Some sleeping positions are associated with well-rested sleepers. Maybe people who prefer them wake up less crabby and irritable, and are more alert during the day.
Here are some examples, using the Big Five personality traits. A group of 22,000 American and Japanese adults were measured over 10 years. The ones who slept poorly tended to become less conscientious over time. The ones who slept best were the most extroverted and the least neurotic.
So, at the end of the day, the best sleeping position for you may simply be the one that leaves you feeling your best the next day.
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Cold Or Upper Respiratory Infection
Symptoms of a cold or upper respiratory infection tend to worsen at night. This is because mucus accumulates in the sinuses and throat when a person lies down. Sleeping with the head elevated can help alleviate associated symptoms, such as a stuffy nose.
Sleeping with the head elevated
Raising the level of the head can help drain the sinuses, preventing nasal blockages and associated headaches. Propping two or more pillows under the head before going to sleep should be effective.
People who have sleep apnea or a tendency to snore should avoid sleeping on their backs, especially when they have a cold. This is because the position may cause the tongue to partially block the flow of air, making breathing difficulties worse. Experiment with various positions to find one that feels comfortable.
How Do You Switch Your Sleeping Position
Are you a side sleeper or a combination sleeper? If yes, then chances are you spend a good amount of time lying down on your left side anyway. But, making the switch may not be a walk in the park if youre a predominant back or stomach sleeper.
Here are the most critical steps to help make the switch as effortless as possible.
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Sleeping On The Stomach
There are many reasons why experts do not recommend sleeping on the stomach. They include:
- It is challenging to keep the spine in a neutral position, which can cause back and neck pain.
- Placing the head on one side can strain the neck.
- Tucking hands or arms under a pillow may lead to numbness, tingling, pain, and longer-term damage.
For those who sleep on their front, placing a firm pillow under the hips can raise the bottom of the spine, making sleep more comfortable.
Here are some tips to help digestion before going to bed:
Choosing A Pillow For Side Sleepers
Here at Nectar, we tried to take the guesswork out of choosing a pillow, by designing the pillow weve always wished we had. Our specially designed Nectar pillow combines the best of soft and supportive pillows. The outer shell provides luxurious oomph while the inner shell is made out of three types of foam that contour around your body, whether you use the pillow under your neck or between your knees.
Since pillow preference can vary from sleeper to sleeper, we also ship the pillows to you overfilled. This way you have control over how much fluff you want: simply remove the stuffing until it feels right. You can also save the extra stuffing in case you want to adjust your pillow later. Finally, wrapped it all up in a cooling Tencel fabric because, lets face it, if a pillow makes you too hot, youll just toss it aside.
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Side Sleeping Pros And Cons
|Causes wrinkles and breast sagCan exacerbate arthritis Prevents deep breathing|
Side sleeping is best for people suffering from chronic back pain, sleep apnea, or acid reflux, as well as anyone who is pregnant.
When you sleep on your side, your airways are left open, your head and neck are aligned, and your esophagus is slightly elevated. This all creates an atmosphere that prevents snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux while ensuring comfort. In fact, one of the first lines of treatment for snoring and mild cases of sleep apnea is to start sleeping on the side.
However, the downside to sleeping on your side is that because one side of your face is lying on a pillow, it can cause facial wrinkles. For women, sleeping on your side causes your breasts to lean downward, leading to breast sag.
Fetal position sleepers may experience a few more downsides. When youre curled up too tight, it can restrict your diaphragm, making it difficult to breathe deeply. Those with arthritis in the back or joints will feel worse the tighter theyre curled up. Fortunately, the solution is as simple as stretching out a bit. Just dont tuck your chin in too close or pull up your knees too high.
Sleeping On The Left Side Of The Pregnant Woman
As for pregnant women, it is also recommended to sleep on the left side, as the American Sleep Foundation website says that sleeping on this side improves blood flow from the heart to the fetus, uterus and kidneys, while also maintaining the pressure of the liver.
If you feel uncomfortable, doctors recommend switching to the right side for a short time instead of sleeping on your back.
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Sleeping Well On Your Side
Most people sleep on their side, and its a strong choice, with two important caveats. Sleeping with your bottom arm under your pillow or your top leg stretched out can lead straight to shoulder and neck pain. Side sleep can also put pressure on your stomach and lungs, but for the most part its a safe and popular choice.
Sleeping on your side is especially good for:
Eat 3 Hours Before Bedtime
Some people believe the ideal time to eat an evening meal is 3 hours before going to bed. This gives the stomach time to digest the food properly. It moves into the small intestine and can prevent problems, such as heartburn.
Once a person lies down, the stomach contents can reflux into the esophagus, which can lead to heartburn or chest discomfort. Food intake prompts the body to release insulin, affecting a persons internal body clock and increasing wakefulness.
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It Bolsters The Lymphatic System
According to Ayurvedic medicine, sleeping on your left side allows your body to better filter lymph fluid and waste via the lymph nodes as the left side of our body is the dominant lymphatic side. Western research has also found that sleeping on the left side can help the body process waste materials from the brain. In contrast, sleeping on your right side can decrease the lymphatic systems efficiency.
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.
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.
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How To Make The Switch
If you are ready to make the switch, youll find that it may take some time to build the new habit of sleeping on your left side. Implementing a few simple strategies can help ensure a smooth transition. For instance, you may want to experiment with putting a body pillow behind your back so that its harder for you to roll off of your left side during sleep. It can also be helpful to try sleeping on the opposite side of the bed than you normally do that way your sleep orientation wont feel much different .
It will also be important to choose a mattress thats ideal for side sleeping. Because sleeping on your side can put pressure on the hips and shoulders, its important to choose a softer mattress that will help relieve pressure in those areas. Also be sure to look for a mattress that allows the spine to rest in natural alignment. And of course, make sure that whatever mattress you choose feels comfortable to you. The combination of a comfy bed and a health-promoting sleeping position is sure to increase your chances of sleeping well and feeling great whenever you wake up.
If you make your own coffee in the morning, chances are youre only making the same boring kind everyday. Now its time to put an end to the cynical habit and turn you into an instant coffee connoisseur.
The only difference here is taste. And when it comes to coffee, taste matters. A lot.
Benefits Of Sleeping On The Left Side
curling up on one side in bed sets up the body for better sleep and excellent overall health. But, sleep experts specifically tout left-side sleeping as the better of the two. The good news is that the majority of side sleepers primarily lie on the left.
Let us take a look at a few merits available from sleeping primarily on your left side.
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Sleep Better On Your Back
A side position might be the most popular, but sleeping on your back is by consensus the most beneficial. Your back remains straight and your pelvis untwisted. Lying with your arms and legs extended out can be good for your spine and neck – some say it could even lead to fewer wrinkles! Remember though, support is essential. Your legs need to be supported by pillows your head and neck should be supported, but not pushed forward.
Sleeping on your back is particularly suited for:
- Sore Hips: When your hip is injured or inflamed, avoid adding pressure by lying on it. Sleeping on your back takes the pressure off your hips and offers a much-needed break from the daytime stress of walking and sitting.
- Teeth Grinding: If stress, anxiety or genetics is causing you to grind your teeth, lying on your back can relax your jaw and facial muscles. People tend to subconsciously turn toward a bent arm, so keep your arms straight to avoid falling out of position.
- Stiff Neck: Pick a pillow that keeps your head aligned in a straight, neutral position nothing too flat or puffy and sleep with your hands at your side to avoid unnecessary neck pain.
Digestion Benefits And Left
Many people believe that sleeping on the left side is the best option for digestion. However, whether a person chooses to sleep on their front, side, or back, it is imperative that they get themselves in the correct position, have supportive pillows, and a firm mattress.
- Gut health: There is no medical evidence to support that sleeping on one side is more beneficial than the other. However, the location of the stomach is a clue. The stomachs natural position is on the left side, where it can digest food more effectively. Gravity helps the waste travel from the small intestine to the large intestine.
- Help with heartburn: People who experience heartburn should sleep on their left side, as right-side sleeping relaxes connecting muscles between the stomach and the esophagus. When these muscles contract, they help control the acid reflux process. Research from the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology has shown a higher likelihood of acid reflux from sleeping on the right side.
The National Sleep Foundation have carried out polls since 1991 to identify peoples sleeping habits in the United States. In 2020, they highlighted that significant numbers of people in America feel sleepy about 3 days per week, which often impacts on their daily lives.
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