There is no better feeling than crawling into your cozy bed after a long busy day. How your sleeping position affects your health is likely the last thing on your mind as you drift to sleep but believe it or not how you sleep plays an important role in your overall health. The four most common sleep positions are stomach, back, side, and the fetal position. Each of these sleep positions have their own benefits and drawbacks. Keep reading to find out how your go-to sleep position is affecting your health.
The Stomach Sleeper
Sleeping on your stomach is one of the least popular sleep positions and for good reason. The drawbacks of sleeping on your stomach outweigh the benefits by far. Although sleeping on your stomach is good for preventing snoring it is bad for pretty much everything else. Sleeping on your stomach puts pressure on your organs, airways, muscles and joints. Stomach sleepers have to sleep with their head turned to the side throughout the night which can lead to aches and pains in the neck and shoulders. One of the biggest health risks of sleeping on your stomach is the strain it puts on your spine which could lead to serious problems such as a herniated disk or nerve problems.
The Back Sleeper
Although it’s not the most popular sleep position, sleeping on your back is one of the healthiest ways to sleep. Sleeping on your back allows your body to rest in a natural position that limits the amount of pressure on your spine, shoulders, and neck. People that sleep on their backs tend to wake up with less aches and pains than those that sleep in other sleep positions. However, sleeping on your back may not be the best position for you if you have sleep apnea or tend to snore as it can make symptoms more severe.
The Side Sleeper
Side-sleeping, one of the most common sleep positions, has several health benefits and is a great option. Side-sleeping can be especially beneficial in relieving symptoms of those with sleep apnea or that snore as this position helps to open airways. Another benefit of side sleeping is improved circulation which is why it is often recommended for pregnant mothers to sleep on their side.
The Fetal Position Sleeper
Similar to side-sleeping, sleeping in the fetal position is one of the most common sleeping positions and has many of the same health benefits. Sleeping in the fetal position is a variation of sleeping on your side but slightly more curled in. Experts caution sleeping in a position that is too curled in as it can restrict breathing. Instead slightly stretch out your legs to boost airflow and reduce muscle pain.
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