Sleep is a big part of everyone’s lives. Without the requisite hours of sleep, one would be reduced to a person who is not functioning at their optimal best. While getting enough sleep seems as simple as just lying down and closing your eyes until you fall asleep, it is not that simple in real life. The number of hours of sleep you get each day depends on several factors like the quality of your mattress, your sleeping position, and so on.
Different people adopt different sleeping positions depending on their comfort. While some sleeping positions do not harm your health, others can be detrimental. It is essential to make sure that you are sleeping in the right position. After all, a bad sleeping position leads to minimal sleep, leading to larger health issues and ailments. If you are not interested in opening up that can of worms, it is time to switch to a better sleeping posture.
Factors that Affect your Sleeping Position Choice
While people lay down to sleep, they often pick a position that is the most comfortable. Since comfort is a more subjective term, it often changes from person to person. While some people feel comfortable sleeping on their side, others prefer to sleep on their stomachs. The comfort a sleeping position offers your body plays a role in whether you prefer it or not.
Studies have shown that as people age, they tend to gravitate towards the side sleeping position. People start preferring it once they reach adulthood and then continue sleeping on their side as they grow older. Interestingly, older people do not tend to move about much once they have fallen asleep. So if they are sleeping on their side, it is more likely they will wake up in the same position in the morning, whereas children tend to shift positions frequently around the night. Parents with young kids can testify to this fact. Once the human body starts aging, it becomes less flexible and more prone to pain stiffness. This is one of the reasons why older people prefer to sleep on their side throughout the night.
Interestingly studies have shown that women show a higher preference for the fetal sleeping position than men. This might be because women are advised to sleep on their sides when they are pregnant. Once they deliver the baby, they continue sleeping on their side in the fetal position and continue with this habit. Pregnant women are advised to sleep on their left side as it improves the blood and nutrient flow to the fetus. Over time, women adopt this habit and prefer the side sleeping position over other sleeping positions.
Different Sleeping Positions
Different people prefer different sleeping positions. It is important to find one that is more beneficial to your health and allows you to get uninterrupted sleep at the same time. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular sleeping positions:
- Sleeping on your Back
This particular position is not very popular, in fact, only about 8 percent of the entire population in the country actually sleep on their back. However, this position is deemed to be the best sleeping position by medical professionals all over the world. When you sleep on your back, it allows your spine to rest in its natural alignment and distribute your body weight evenly at the same time. This prevents any new pressure points from forming, thereby taking away the need to keep changing your position throughout the night.
Sleeping on your back allows you to catch your required hours of sleep without any interruption, letting you wake up each morning feeling refreshed. People who are suffering from any form of physical pain or stiffness find it difficult to fall asleep at night, are often advised to try sleeping on their backs. In fact, this sleeping position has also been observed to help reduce acid reflux and GERD night time symptoms.
- Sleeping on your Side
This particular sleeping position is the most preferred position by men and women alike. Although it is not as beneficial as sleeping on your back, it comes in a close second. Sleeping on your side helps those who tend to snore or have sleep apnea. It can also be beneficial in reducing your neck and back pain. However, you need to place a pillow that fits in the gap between your neck and the mattress to make sure that your neck gets the support it needs. Some people place an extra pillow between their legs while they sleep on their side.
Interestingly, side sleeping has also been observed to help people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome as it protects your wrists whilst you sleep. When you sleep on your left side, it helps reduce acid reflux and aid digestion at the same time. In fact, pregnant women are advised to sleep on their left side to improve blood circulation and nutrient flow to the fetus. When you sleep on your right side, it helps lower your nervous system activity, which in turn lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.
- Sleeping in the Foetal Position
The fetal position involves sleeping on your side in a curled-up manner. This particular sleeping position is very popular among women. It offers the same benefits as sleeping on your side. However, you need to be careful not to curl up too tightly else you will wind up waking up feeling stiff in the morning. Experts suggest using a body pillow for better sleep and to prevent curling up too tightly.
- Sleeping on your Stomach
Although 7 percent of sleepers prefer this sleeping position, it is deemed to be the worst sleeping position for your health. In fact, this sleeping position can induce snoring as well as sleep apnea. People who prefer this position are often advised to switch to other sleeping positions gradually.
There is no doubt that sleeping on your back is the best among all sleeping positions in bed. It helps keep your spine stay in its natural position while you get your required hours of uninterrupted beauty sleep.