How Your Sleep Position Affects You

What You Need To Know About Sleep Positions

The Pros and Cons of Different Sleep Positions

Sleeping is an important part of one's life

In fact, a person will sleep for almost 50% of their time while on Earth. If it's such an integral part, why do people not focus on it as much as they should? People are often faced with a very pertinent question What is the ideal sleeping position?

Most people never ask this question! and they really should

This article is going to take a look at the pros and cons of the main three sleeping positions. You will get a closer look into each sleeping position and the impact it has on your body.

Back Sleepers

back sleepers

This position involves lying down on one's back while staring up at the ceiling. It's a standard position, and one many people consider as the go-to option at nighttime.

Here is a look at the pros and cons of lying down on your back for 8-10 hours.

Pros

1.  Ideal for Spine and Neck 

According to studies, this is the ultimate position for those dealing with any form of back/neck pain.

The spine's alignment is in its ideal state when a person rests on their back. As soon as the position is shifted, this diverts the pressure and pushes against the spine. By sleeping on the back, it's like putting your body into a balanced, neutral state without exerting pressure on the spine.

This is important for those who are starting to notice a change in their back/neck and want to alleviate discomfort as soon as possible. Lying down on one's back is a beautiful option.

2. Lets Facial Skin Breathe and Remain Fresh 

The second advantage is being able to let your face breathe.

Yes, it is impossible for the skin to breathe, if it is stuffed under covers or into a soft pillow. The pores won't open, and this can start to give rise to acne for those who are prone to breakout. It's best to lie down on one's back in such cases to avoid such a breakout.

Cons

1. Exacerbates Snoring or Sleep Apnea

By sleeping on one's back, it's easier to make your snoring worse. The airways tend to close down, and that's when air pushes against the sides. When this occurs, the snoring starts to elevate in intensity. This is why it's recommended to push a snoring man/woman to his/her side.

This opens up the passageway and makes it easier for them to sleep quietly. For those who are resting on their back, it's easier to start to worsen your snoring and make it impossible to fix. The same applies to those who are dealing with sleep apnea.

Side Sleepers

side sleeper


The next type of sleeping position is resting on one's side. This could be on the left or right side depending on preference.In general, the person will place all of the weight on one side of the body.

Here are the pros and cons of sleeping on one's side.

Pros

1. Ideal For Overcoming Heartburn or Acid Reflux

Are you dealing with ongoing heartburn/acid reflux?

If this is the case, you need to start sleeping on your side. This is the ultimate way to reduce the chances of the heartburn occurring. Remember, it is acid that comes up from one's digestive system and into the esophagus. This isn't a nice feeling especially when it happens all the time.

For those who are in this situation, lying down on your side is the way to go. You are also asked to play around with which side you sleep on to see if this makes a noticeable difference.

2. Helps Digestion

If you are starting to note a severe bout of constipation or other digestion-related issues, it's best to focus on this sleeping position. Being on your side is a great way to avoid putting pressure on the digestive system. When you lie down on your back or stomach, the digestive system takes the brunt of the weight.

To relieve some of the ongoing symptoms, it's best to look at lying down on your side.

 It is going to make it easier to digest food and feel right about your metabolic rate throughout the day. This is one of the reasons bodybuilders prefer to rest on their side to maximize digestion.


3. Stimulates Toxin Reduction in Body

Toxins are a real concern in the human body, and it's best to make changes as soon as possible.

Side sleepers are well-built to get rid of these toxins. This occurs by exerting pressure in the right areas and not pressing down on the lymph nodes. This helps flush out the toxins and get rid of them as soon as possible. The lymph nodes stay healthy, and that makes it easier to maximize your health.

This is a common advantage of sleeping on your side and not putting pressure on the lymph nodes every night.

4. Improves Blood Circulation

Blood circulation can start to wane with the wrong sleeping position.

This is why sleeping on your side is recommended. It keeps the blood flowing and is not going to cause problems. The blood will flow better, and this will ensure everything is running as it's supposed to.

5. Helps Brain During Sleep

Your brain is active throughout the day, and it's best to give it a bit of rest at night. However, your sleeping position is going to determine if that's possible or not. If you don't sleep on your side, it's possible to push the brain to work harder. It has to manage the pressure you're putting on it, and that's why sleeping on your side is a good idea. It will keep the brain in "rest mode" throughout the night.

6. Pressure Can Be Divided Between Left and Right

A lot of pressure is put on one area of the body when you are looking at other sleeping positions.  This can be distressing and lead to numerous aches. However, with side sleeping, you're looking at two options in front of you. If you desire, you can roll over and sleep on your left/right side depending on what you were doing before. This makes it easier to split the stress on your body.

Cons

1. Puts Pressure on Lungs and Stomach

One of the issues with side sleeping has to do with the pressure put on your lungs and stomach.

Of course, you are sleeping while pressing against something, so it is the lungs and stomach that take the brunt of the force. This isn't ideal, but it's something you are going to have to deal with as a consequence of side sleeping. It's one of the first cons mentioned by experts when it comes to the position.

It has a lot to do with the body's anatomy and where the lungs or stomach are positioned.

2. Can Cause Numbness in Arm

Since you are leaning against one arm, it is going to be under the body. This can lead to pain or numbness in the limb. If you're not careful, you might be waking up in the morning with a numb arm that takes a while to feel normal again. This is why you want to pay attention to how you're sleeping at night.

3. Places Stress on Shoulders

The last con of side sleeping is the stress you are putting on the shoulders. A lot of weight is pressed against the shoulder making it harder for you to avoid pain in the joint or nearby area. Pay attention to this and make sure to switch sides, so the weight is well distributed.

Stomach Sleepers

stomach sleeper

The final sleeping position is lying down face-first on one's stomach.

This is a common sleeping position for many people as they look to stuff their face into the soft pillow. 

Here are the pros and cons of this position

Pros

1. Reduces Snoring

One of the positives of this option is knowing you're alleviating some of the pressure on your airways.

By lying down on your stomach, it's easier for the airways to remain clear and for the air to get out. Your nasal passages will open up, and it's better for those who don't want to snore throughout the night. The same applies to those who are dealing with ongoing sleep apnea.

It's easier to reduce snoring by rolling over and lying down on the stomach with your head into the pillow.

Adjustments can be made based on pillows under one's leg to provide further relief while on your stomach.

Cons

1. Horrible for Facial Skin

There is nothing worse than rubbing your clean face against a dirty pillow. The oils are going to rub against the skin, settle in, and clog the pores. This is highly damaging and not the route you want to take. It's better to eliminate the issue and sleep in another position.

Your facial skin is going to take a beating in this position.For anyone that is prone to acne or other related skin conditions, this position doesn't help things along at all.

2. Increases Back and Neck Pain

Another con has to do with back and neck pain. Those who are sleeping on their stomach will be putting their body in the worst possible position. This is when the spine is going to have a curve to it according to sleep experts. The body tends to put the most pressure on the spine in this position.

Over a longer period, this is going to have an impact on how the spine looks and the amount of pain one feels.

It's better to avoid lying down on one's stomach if possible.

Concluding Thoughts

In general, each position has its merits, and it comes down to the person and their underlying requirements.

However, when it comes to the most positives, the best option is to sleep on your side followed by lying down on your back.

The worst option is to sleep on your stomach as it can do a lot of damage and is not recommended. However, you are always advised to make adjustments based on your medical history. For example, a person with snoring issues might like the idea of resting on his/her stomach.

 

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