While I normally write about things I recommend, I want to have more variation. I will continue to do recommendations of things I come across, but I also want to post my findings of questions that I have (on any topic). These are not questions unique to myself; however, I have taken the time to research the topics and find out the answers. When I find an article that has been written about the subject, I will simply summarize the findings and direct you to the article (for further investigation).
I have always preferred to sleep on my back, but recently I have also been starting to sleep on my side a bit. I am not sure what brought about this change, but I have noticed it a bit recently when trying to fall asleep. This had me curious about whether it is best to sleep on your back, side, or stomach. Here’s what I found:
According to Dr. Stephanie Estima in her post “This One Sleep Position May Be Destroying Your Health”, the best position to sleep in is on your stomach, without a pillow. This sounds both uncomfortable and unusual, and I could not really find any other articles that supported her way of thinking. However, Estima’s reasoning is that it “can offer the most benefit in terms of opening the airway, improving diaphragmatic breathing, lowering the workload of the heart overnight, and improving oxygenation. Check out her full article if interested in hearing more.
According to an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine though, there is no “best” way to sleep. Instead, all of the different sleeping positions have their advantages and disadvantages as listed below:
Sleeping on your back – Could exacerbate neck pain, but help alleviate lower-back pain.
Sleeping on your side – Could help to reduce snoring, sleeping on your right side could increase heartburn, but sleeping on your left side could help cool the burn
Sleeping on your stomach – Could reduce snoring, but also could cause creases or breakouts on your skin
Finally, according to Sleep.org, the best ways to sleep rank as follows:
- On your back – Best for relieving head, neck, and spine pain (Bad for those with sleep apnea though)
- On your side – Decrease acid reflux and good for back and neck pain (Bad for wrinkles)
- In the fetal position – Improves circulation and good for snorers (Can leave you sore if you tuck too tight)
- On your stomach – Good for snoring (Can lead to back and neck pain); better to lie facedown than with head to the side
Unfortunately, it seems like there is mixed research on the best way to sleep, and I could not find one conclusive answer. While it seems like sleeping on your back and side are the most common answers, sleeping on your stomach was also advised by one article. It seems like it’s more personal preference, and just seeing how your body reacts to it. There are also pros and cons for each position, and it depends on what type of sleeper you are. If you are having issues sleeping or waking up with pain though, definitely try to switch your position and see if it helps!
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