Sleeping Positions And One’s Health

By Yin Nwe Ko


I Remembered some words of Samuel Taylor Col­eridge in one of his poems. Please let me mention them.


“Oh, Sleep! It is a gentle thing,

Beloved from pole to pole”


I like them a lot. Moreover, I think you all will agree with my idea about it because everyone across the world likes to sleep. However, there will be scarce peo­ple who will completely know how sleeping positions and health are associated with each other.


Everyone sleeps different­ly; there are loads of positions in bed to sleep in. Some people like sleeping on their sides on a waterbed, others prefer sleeping on their backs on a hard mattress – but we all do it. We spend about a third of our lives asleep, which is a lot! But what is the best position to sleep in?


Sleeping is very important for your body and mind; in a way, you’re charging yourself. That’s why sleep deprivation can have negative consequences; it can affect your memory, your con­centration, your reaction time, your decisiveness, your emotions, and your physical well-being. So, sleeping is good for you. But not just that, your sleeping position can also have a positive or nega­tive influence on your body.


Try to get at least six hours of sleep every night. Research has shown that sleeping less than six hours is just as bad for you as skipping a whole night’s sleep. It is okay if this happens once in a while, but even after two weeks of sleeping too little, you will notice a difference in your mind and body. You might think that you function normally after a rough night, but this is not the case.


There are several positions of sleep.


All people can be divided into roughly three categories: those who sleep on their stomachs, those who sleep on their backs, and those who sleep on their sides. Your sleeping position can be good for your mind and body, but it can also cause ailments.


Do you sleep on your back? Then you are in luck because this is the healthiest position to sleep in! Sleeping on your back is good for your spine, as it will be aligned nicely. This position causes little strain on the muscles in your back and neck. Moreover, this position is the best for your skin. Your face won’t develop wrinkles and spots as quickly as those who sleep on their side or their stomach. This position is also good for women, as sleeping on their backs will prevent chest wrinkles as well as sagging breasts. The only disad­vantage is that it worsens snoring.


Do you sleep on your side? You’re not the only one, because this is the most common sleep­ing position. When you sleep on your side you can develop pain in your arms and legs because you are constantly lying on one side. Sleeping on your right side is also disadvantageous for your diges­tion and heartburn. An upside: sleeping on your side improves circulation and lessens snoring.


More than 60 per cent of peo­ple sleep on their sides, with men spending more time on their sides each night than women. As chil­dren, we split our nights by sleep­ing in all positions equally, but by adulthood, a clear preference for side sleeping emerges. The flexibility of our spine decreases as we age, which may make the side sleeping position more com­fortable for older adults


Sleeping on your side offers several benefits. It promotes healthy spinal alignment and is the sleep position least likely to result in back pain, especial­ly when supported with pillows. Side sleeping also may reduce heartburn and snoring, making it a better sleeping position for people with sleep apnea or acid reflux.


We have bad news for peo­ple who sleep on their stomachs. This position is the unhealthiest. You will develop neck complaints, since your head is completely turned, and back issues. Your spine has to take on an awkward position, which will also cause you to toss and turn more. Because of this, your sleep will be disrupted more. Also, try sleeping on a full stomach, it will not be pleasant! It does lessen snoring, though, so you have got that going for you.


During sleep, your body works too. Your sleep position can either help or hinder that process, depending on how effectively it supports the natural curvature of your spine. It’s also common for people to wake up with brand new aches and pains in the morn­ing, sometimes due to sleep posi­tion We spend a third of our lives asleep or resting as mentioned earlier, so it is important to choose a sleep position that assists your body with physical recovery. A proper sleep position can relieve stress on your spine, while an un­healthy position can increase pain or stiffness in the back, arms, or shoulders, all while contributing to lower-quality sleep.


The best sleep position is one that promotes healthy spi­nal alignment from your hips to your head. What looks like for you depends on your health situation and what you find comfortable. Having said that, some positions are considered healthier than oth­ers. Specifically, sleeping on the side or back is considered more beneficial than sleeping on the stomach. In either of these sleep positions, it is easier to keep your spine supported and balanced, which relieves pressure on the spinal tissues and enables your muscles to relax and recover.


However, if sleeping on your stomach feels good to you, don’t feel forced to change it. You can minimize your risk of pain and improve spinal alignment with the right mattress and pillow. Differ­ent sleep positions provide differ­ent benefits that may be helpful for you if you’re dealing with back pain, pregnancy, allergies, acid reflux, or other health condition. In these cases, it may be worth trying a new sleep position to en­able more restful sleep. In one study, a group of adults with back pain was trained to sleep on their backs or their side. They experi­enced significant pain relief in just four weeks.

Adjusting to a new sleep posi­tion takes time, but it is possible. Be patient with yourself and use pillows to help train your body to the new position.


Experts recommend that those who are pregnant sleep on their sides with theirs. The side sleeping position relieves the pressure of a growing belly, enabling the heart to pump and blood to flow easily throughout the body. In particular, the left side is recommended because it prevents pressure on the liv­er and facilitates healthy blood flow to the fetus, uterus, kidneys, and heart. If you feel discomfort sleeping on your left side during pregnancy, you can switch to the right side now and then to relieve pressure on the left hip. You can also relieve tension by placing pillows under the belly, between the legs, and at the small back.


The best sleeping position is on your side with a pillow or blanket between the knees. Side sleeping can also relieve symp­toms for those with neck or back pain. Choose a pillow with a loft, or thickness, that matches the distance between your neck and your shoulder. With a thicker pil­low, your neck will stay aligned with your spine as you sleep on your side, preventing pain and soreness while maintaining prop­er alignment.


If you’re already a side sleep­er and want to go for that gold star, opt to sleep on your left instead of your right side. Sleeping on the right may increase pressure on your internal organs, which is why experts recommend the left for pregnant women and sleepers with acid reflux or gas­troesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Sleeping on the right can also intensify symptoms of heartburn. Sleeping less symmet­rically can increase your risk of pain symptoms upon waking up, so use pillows to achieve a side sleeping position that aligns your spine from your hips to your head. Put pillows on either side of your body to keep yourself in place, and place a small pillow between the knees to even out the hips.


You have already read the advantages and disadvantages of various sleeping positions which were mentioned as much as with­in my reach. Whether you have known them before or not, you sleep every night. However, when you learn more about them, you can weigh your current health and your knowledge of various sleeping positions, I assume.


Reference: Tips and Tricks[i]