Better believe it: Your sleep position matters

Better believe it: Your sleep position matters

Sleeping Student

Your mattress plays an important role in your quality of sleep, but so does the way you lay in your bed. Sleep positions are a very personal thing. Side, back, stomach; try changing your position and you’ll see just how tied you are to yours. Or maybe you’re the type of person who changes your position throughout the night (about 5% of the population does).

If you find yourself lying in the same sleep position, it’s important you know that how you lay each night affects your body. After all, lying in bed takes up nearly 30% of your life. From helping lower blood pressure to being bad for wrinkles, here’s the good, bad and the ugly of the most common sleep positions.

Back sleepers

Pros: Considered one of the best positions for sleeping, sleeping on your back has loads of pros. This position follows the natural curve of the back and neck, but only if you elevate your head slightly by using a firm pillow. A firm mattress, can also help this sleep position, but make sure to never let your head lie directly on the mattress. This position also helps prevent acid reflux.

Additionally, this position is good for arthritis and your organs since your body weight is evenly distributed. And there are cosmetic benefits related to this position, as well: fewer wrinkles (you’re not pressing your face into the pillow).

Cons: Snoring can be worse for back sleepers because the throat becomes relaxed as you sleep, and gravity can limit breathing, meaning this position is not good for people with sleep apnea. Evidence also shows that people have lower oxygen levels if they sleep in this position often, which is not good for those with asthma, other respiratory problems or heart disease.

Side sleepers

Pros: A huge bonus of sleeping on your side is that it follows the natural curve of the spine. Sleeping on your side also prevents snoring. And if you have acid reflux problems, sleeping on your left side can help keep it at bay (this position helps keep the muscle between the stomach and throat closed). Also, if you’re pregnant, sleeping on your left side helps increase blood and nutrient flow to your baby.

Cons: For the ladies, this sleep position can contribute to sagging breasts and extra wrinkles. It’s also not ideal if you have bursitis, suffer from arm or shoulder pain, or if you have rotator cuff problems.

Stomach sleepers

Pros: This sleep position has been rumored to lower blood pressure, and it also relieves lower back pain (by taking pressure off disk spaces). Also this position helps open upper air ways, making it good for reducing snoring. A pocket spring mattress, like the Simmons Beautyrest Classic series, can help mold to the shape of your body and provide better support in this position.

Cons: This sleep position can be bad for the neck, since the head is turned all night. It can also be bad for the nerves and cause numbness in the hands, since the bones in the neck slowly compress the spinal cord.

Your sleep position can have an impact on more than just your level of comfort and quality of sleep. Knowledge is power when it comes to getting the best sleep possible. In a future post, we’ll talk about how to train yourself to sleep in a different position if your current one is causing you problems, and we’ll talk about how to choose the right mattress and pillows to support your sleep position. Noticing any issues related to the way you lay when you sleep? Leave a comment, and let us know how your sleep position works (or doesn’t work) for you.