Did you know that we spend about 1/3rd of our life sleeping? So, the way in which you sleep and the quality of your sleep would definitely have a large impact on your overall health and well-being!
Previously, we talked about the importance of finding the right bed-time pillow to suit your neck so as to prevent chronic neck-aches.
In this article, we’ll be going through the various sleeping positions, and judge if they’re neck and back approved for you!
Sleeping On Your Back
Cited by doctors as the best sleeping position, sleeping on your back can help keep your head, neck, and back in a neutral position. (You can prop a pillow under your knees to help maintain a proper back alignment if you feel uncomfortable!)
This sleeping position can also help fight acid reflux as it keeps your oesophagus over your stomach.
However, if you’re someone with sleep apnea, this may not be the best sleeping position for you. This is because gravity forces the base of your tongue to collapse into your airway, making your condition and snoring much worse.
Back and Neck Friendly?: Yes! But stay away if you have sleep apnea.
Sleeping On Your Side
Sleeping on the side is great, especially on the left and if you are pregnant, because it facilitates smoother blood flow to your heart due to force of gravity. (Since your heart is on the left side.)
For those with sleep apnea, this is the position for you. Sleeping on your left side can help relieve sleep apnea and snoring because it keeps your tongue and throat muscles in a neutral position; opening up airways for better breathing throughout the night.
With regards to how it’s good for your neck and back, this position is practically perfect for your back as it goes with the natural curvature of your spine.
However, it’s important to note not to bend your back too much, as that could end up being more detrimental than helpful to your back.
Back and Neck Friendly?: Yeap! Especially with your back slightly curved, knees bent, and arms folded. For added support, place a pillow in between your knees.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
Stomach sleeping can definitely help in easing snoring and sleep apnea, but that’s about all the pros there is to sleeping in this position.
When you sleep on your stomach, this not only causes your upper body to arch upwards, it also flattens your spine’s natural curves, causing lower back pain. Besides that, it’s also horrible for your neck because it places a lot of weight and strain on your neck muscles.
So, unless you plan on waking up with both a bad back and neck in the morning, you may want to skip this position at all costs.
Back and Neck Friendly?: No way. This position is the worst for your back and neck. If you really must sleep in this position, prop a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen to relieve the strain.
Sleeping Sitting Up/Slightly Angled Up
This sleeping position is pretty rare, but is more effective for those who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, where air-flow is poor, or those who are more obese and need help breathing. It’s also good for when your nose and throat are congested.
However, this position isn’t recommended because of the amount of strain it will cause from having both your back and neck arched for hours.
It could also potentially lead to thrombosis, which is the formation of a blood clot in a blood vessel from sitting motionless with your limbs bent for hours.
Back and Neck Friendly?: Not exactly. The only time you should be sleeping like this is if you are travelling, or really have to for medical reasons.
In the end, we can’t really always control the position in which we sleep in; especially in the middle of the night when we’re fast asleep.
What we can do, is to take the effort to change the position in which we fall asleep in so as to train ourselves to switch to a better sleeping posture.
Now that you know which base positions are best for your neck and back, go forth to tweak your sleep angles and prop a few pillows here and there to find your winning sleep position formula!