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Sleep Position: How Does It Impact Posture?

Poor sleeping position could ultimately lead to neck and back pain, sleep apnea, fatigue, headaches, and more.

What is the healthiest sleeping position?

There should be no doubt in your mind that having the right sleeping pose will have not only an impact on the quality of your slumber but also on your overall health. Poor sleeping position could ultimately lead to neck and back pain, sleep apnea, fatigue, headaches, muscle cramping, gut trouble, and even impaired circulation.

Learning this might make you wonder which sleeping position is best for you.

While sleeping on your back is not considered the most popular position—only around 8 percent of people sleep this way—it is actually believed to be the best sleeping position for good health.

Why is sleeping on your back bad?

Sleeping on your back is best for your spine, neck, and head to remain in a neutral position. You will experience hardly any pain as there is no additional pressure on these areas. Also, when you face the ceiling, there is less chance of acid reflux. As long as you make use of a pillow that supports and elevates your head, everything will be fine. Your stomach needs to be below the esophagus, so there isn't any chance of the acid moving up your digestive tract. The only problem is that your tongue could block your breathing passage, which is dangerous for those suffering from sleep apnea.

Learn More: The Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Is sleeping on your side beneficial?

When you find yourself in this position, your legs and torso would be relatively straight, seeing that your spine is stretched out, it wards off neck and back pain. One advantage to side sleeping is that you are less likely to snore in this pose as your airways are more open.Statistics show that as many as 15 percent of adults tend to sleep on their side. The downside to sleeping this way is that you could develop wrinkles as half of your face gets pushed against the pillow.

What about sleeping in the fetal position?

Did you know that up to 41 percent of people choose this sleeping position? The fetal position is where you lie on your side with your torso curled up and knees bent. Usually, people sleep on their left when taking on this pose.

Pregnant women find this position beneficial as it boosts their circulation as well as preventing their uterus from pressing against the liver. The only drawback is that it can cause a little soreness in the morning if you have difficulty with arthritis in your back or joints. These woes can be prevented by straightening your body as much as possible. Reduce unnecessary strain by putting a pillow in between your knees.

How sleeping on your stomach can affect your posture

While taking on this position is suitable for easing snoring issues, it is not recommended by health experts. Only 7 percent of adults opt for this position. Sleeping in this position can lead to neck and back pain, as it is twists your spine and neck.

Choose the right mattress to ensure good sleeping posture

A good-quality mattress can ensuring better sleeping posture, maintain a healthy back, and decrease back pain. When you have the right bed, you can fall asleep—and stay asleep—easier, and wake up feeling more refreshed.

Specific health conditions might requires a particular type of mattress, such as one that will support the natural curves of their spine. Another consideration when choosing a mattress is to ensure that it is big enough for you to spread out comfortably, and that couples sleeping in the same bed have sufficient space between them. Mattresses eventually lose their supportiveness over the years and should be replaced every nine to 10 years.

The right pillow makes a difference

Contrary to popular opinion, a pillow is not just for your neck and head. Depending on the sleeping position you adopt, it will also assist your spine to stay in the right position. Pillows support the natural curve of one's neck and can be extremely comfortable.

It's not recommended to use a pillow that raises your head too high as it could place strain on your shoulders, neck, and back. Instead, opt for a pillow that keeps your neck aligned with your lower back and chest. It should be adjustable to make provisions for different sleeping positions. Replace your pillow at least once a year.

Source— Rochester Medical Center