Most of us have a preferred position to sleep in. Once this posture has become set it’s very difficult to change without many nights of disrupted sleep. However, there are long-term benefits to making the effort to change your sleep position, especially if you suffer from certain health issues. Here is a checklist of pluses and minuses of each position and tips to refine them so you can find what is your best side to sleep on.
Sleeping On Your Back
This is generally regarded by GPs as the best position to sleep in, as it allows you to get your back into a neutral, relaxed posture with the neck and torso in alignment especially with the right choice of pillows. 10% of us lie on our back.
Sleeping on your side straight legs and torso
Over half the population claim to lie on their side to sleep although from experience talking to clients whilst we start on our side we end up moving around and often end up slightly face down as we roll in the night. Around 15% of us lie on our side, with the body straight.
Sleeping on your side foetal position
Most of us claim to lie in the foetal position, which is widely regarded as the best position for pregnancy, and tends to be recommended by health professional for patients for relief from lower back pain.
Sleeping face down
This is the position to avoid as it significantly increases the chance of tightening your neck muscles and irritating your lower back as it’s not possible to keep your spine and neck in neutral alignment in this position. The neck rotates to one side causing strains and stiffness, with your lower back being pushed into extension which aggravates the joints .
Sleeping on your left hand side with a pillow under your knees
Apart from the problems of wrinkles and sagging breasts this would be my personal preference as being a lower back pain sufferer, side lying (with a pillow under the top knee) is easier to maintain than lying on my back with pillows under my lower back and knees.
Lying on your left hand side has a couple of further benefits, including draining of the brain’s glymphatic system, which is the system which cleans waste out of the brain. Sleeping on the left also helps with blood flow from the heart, facilitates lymphatic drainage, and helps elimination from the large intestine into the colon.