Sleep Positions and Your Health

I found a really interesting article on Sleep.com about “How Your Sleeping Position Can Affect Your Health,” and I thought I would share some of the key points with you.  We spend (optimally) eight hours each night in a primary position so there has to be some benefits and some negative effects for remaining in a single position throughout the night.  None of the negative effects are life threatening, they are more so a nuisance.  Here are the three most popular sleep positions and how they affect your health.

  • Fetal Position – While lying on your side with your feet curled up towards your chest and your chin pulled down towards your chest as well, the fetal position is one of the most common sleeping positions.  A benefit to sleeping in the fetal position is when you’re pregnant; sleeping on your left side will increase blood flow to the uterus.  With the increase in circulation, your baby will get plenty of oxygen and nutrients while you sleep.  The downside to the fetal position won’t be felt until the morning.  Spending all night curled up can cause aches and pains in your neck and back.
  • Back Sleepers – Whether you’re a soldier or a log, a back sleeper is more prone to snoring.  Also you may want to avoid sleeping on your back while pregnant because there is more weight stressing your lower back which also affects the veins that carry blood to your legs.  If you have the proper mattress, back sleeping is great for keeping your spine in neutral alignment so you shouldn’t wake up with aches and pains.
  • Stomach Sleepers – Sleeping on your stomach greatly reduces snoring, but if you have to use a CPAP machine every night, it won’t be very comfortable sleeping on your stomach.  Also, while in the early stages of pregnancy you may find it comfortable to sleep on your stomach, as your pregnancy progresses it will become more difficult and more uncomfortable to sleep on your stomach.

I had a great opportunity to make a video for Sleep.com and it was about sleep positions, personalities and how they are related.  There is great content on Sleep.com not just about sleep but also about your health.  There are two really cool features that I love on the site.  One is that you get to share your dreams with other Sleep.com visitors and the other is the Sleep Debt Calculator, which is a really handy tool.  Visit Sleep.com and leave me a comment on this blog on what you thought about the site!

 

Contributor: Emily Barrett

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2 Responses to Sleep Positions and Your Health

  1. Doug Stewart says:

    I wonder if it’s common that you can sleep well on one side but not the other. If I sleep on my RH side, my right arm falls asleep. No problem with the LH side. Weird.

    • Hmm, you bring up a good point Doug. I have never thought about that. I’ll have to look in to that further and see if I can find you an answer.
      - Emily Barrett, Snooze Director