Studies show that too much sleep or too little sleep is linked to a host of problems. From obesity to heart disease to diabetes, there is no escaping that how you sleep can affect your overall health. What you may not be aware of, is that the position you prefer to sleep in has an impact on your health as well. Some positions can cause snoring, sleep apnea, heartburn, lower back pain, shoulder pain as well as wrinkles!
Let’s review the list!
Pros: Sleeping in the most restful yoga position called Savasana, places all of your vertebrae and connecting ligaments in perfect alignment. Your mattress was designed to support your head, shoulders, mid back, lower back, and legs. This position, with a pillow that raises your upper body so that your stomach is lower than your esophagus, is the best way to avoid acid reflux. Back sleepers are also eliminating any pulling or sagging of the skin as in stomach or side positions delaying the appearance of wrinkles.
Cons: Although a very restful and restorative pose in yoga, very few people can sustain this position throughout the night and will revert to side or stomach position. Over several hours of sleep in this position, if you don’t have the most supportive of mattresses, muscle strain can occur. Most importantly, snorers should avoid this position as gravity will pull down the base of the tongue further into the airway which forces out the sound snorers are known for. Sleep apnea, when the sleeper stops breathing because of the constricted airways, is also a dangerous condition and worsened in this position.
Pros: Studies show that a large number of people report sleeping on their side. This position, with the appropriate pillow to adjust for shoulder size, is best for people with acid reflux and most especially sleep apnea, and of course pregnant women. A pillow strategically placed between your knees can reduce any lower back strain while in this position. Full body pillows that cradle your body and legs are designed for side sleepers and support them completely.
Cons: The Fetal position, although comforting, puts added pressure on internal organs not making this position ideal. For people concerned about skin quality, side sleeping causes sagging which can result in premature wrinkles. Without the proper pillow for sleeping in this position, strain to the neck and shoulders is certain to occur. Placing your knees one above the other can also cause strain on your lower back. If this is your favourite position, strategically placed pillows or body pillows can reduce unnecessary strain.
Pros: This position is very helpful to those who suffer from intense snoring as it keeps the airways clear due to the gravitational pull. Typically when one suffers from an upset stomach or excess gas, this position tends to relieve many of the symptoms.
Cons: Clearly there are more cons to sleeping in this position as it causes a lot of issues. For one, the neck would be the most to suffer as this position forces the head to over rotate and face extreme left or right pulling at the neck and shoulders. It can potentially affect your breathing as well as blood circulation. Those concerned about skin quality, this position forces the skin on the cheeks to be in a pulled position, therefore, increasing the early arrival of visible wrinkles.
Pillows are designed for different sleeping positions in order to properly support the head. Body pillows are not only a fad but are also purchased by pregnant women and those who love full body support.
When you shop for a pillow, ask the Sleep Expert which pillow is the best one for your sleep preference. And if you need to replace your mattress, make sure that you pick up the right one for your specific sleep needs.
Gerry, Your Sleep Expert