Sleep has enormous effects on our overall health and sleep deprivation causes impaired attention and irritability. It affects every part of our lives, whether our daily routines or our activities and thinking. People usually compensate lack of sleep with overworking, hyperactivity and very often, they become less social and more depressed and nervous.
When a person does not get enough sleep, there are usually many consequences on organism and metabolism (weight gain, infections, for instance). However, sleep deprivation is not the only action that affects our health.
Did you know that sleeping position also affect our health?
There are eight common sleeping positions, and all affect our health and performance. However, there are also many sleeping position variations, whether on side, back or stomach. Have you ever considered how important the sleeping position is? One may not have a preference, however, given that a particular sleeping position affects health, everyone should learn more about it.
Did you know that lying on your front with your hands around the pillow and your head turned to one side is good for digestion? Or that lying on your back with both arms pinned to your sides may lead to snoring and a bad night’s sleep? Some sleep positions are very bad for health.
What are eight common sleeping positions?
#1 On your back, arms up
This position is called “starfish” position and as it appears, it is very good for the back. The positive side of this position is that it may also help to prevent facial wrinkles and skin breakouts. However, whether you have your arms up around your pillow or not, sleeping on your back may cause some problems. “Starfish“ position can result in snoring and problems with acid reflux, which many people have experienced.
Additionally, when you put your arms up, you put pressure on nerves in your shoulders, which in turn leads to pain.
#2 On your back, arms at sides
This is considered the best sleeping position. When one is laying on back, the neck and spine are in a good relaxing position. However, those who sleep on their backs snore more often than those who sleep in other positions, and as well as “starfish” position, this one can cause problems with acid reflux. Sleep apnea (brief interruptions of breathing during sleep) can also increase when sleeping on your back.
People who have an underlying sleep disorder should not sleep on their backs, and sleeping position may be very significant. Patients with leg cramps and restless leg syndrome will experience discomfort when sleeping on their back as well.
It is interesting that sleepers who lie on their backs with arms up near their head or the pillow are good listeners, helpful, and are uncomfortable being the center of attention, according to some researchers.
#3 Face down
Many believe that this position will bring them the best rest and relaxation, however, sleeping with face down, can cause back pain, as the curve of the spine is not supported, and it is not recommended. Although sleeping on your stomach is good for digestion, it may cause interrupted sleep and discomfort as well.
#4 Fetal position
Many people sleep in this curled-up manner, and according to some researches women are twice as likely to rest in this position.Sleeping curled up into a ball with your knees drawn up and your chin tilted down is comfortable for many, however, many problems can occur, especially on the neck and back. Fetal position can also restrict deep breathing.
For those who sleep in the fetal position is said to have a tough exterior but are still sensitive and may appear to be shy.
#5 On side, arms at sides
This is the best position for the spine and it is recommended for those who have back and neck pain. Sleeping on your side with both arms down can reduce the pain and reduce sleeping apneas as well. However, this position can contribute to facial wrinkles, sagging breasts and skin aging.
#6 On side, arms out
The benefits are similar to those of sleeping with your arms at sides; however, this position can cause shoulder and arm pain. When sleeping with your arms out blood flow is decreased. Given that the blood flow is restricted to some parts of the body, the additional pressure on the nerves is noticed on shoulders and arms.
#7 On the right side
For side-sleepers, the side you sleep on makes a big difference. Sleeping on the right side can worsen heartburn, while sleeping on the left can put more pressure on internal organs such as liver, lungs and stomach. For instance, pregnant women should sleep on the left side, because this position will improve circulation.
By supplementing your body with a pillow, it’s highly probable that one can get a better night sleep with less pain. Those who sleep on their back can put a small pillow under arch of the spine, stomach sleepers can place a pillow under the hips to support joints and side sleepers can place a pillow between the knees.
It is also very interesting that sleeping position can help alleviate certain pain and problems. For instance, if you have a sinus pain (from allergies, or a plain cold), you should lie on your side, propped up, with extra pillows under your head, and let the gravity help with drainage. If you have a shoulder pain, you need to lie on side, in a “hug“ pose. Although this position can trigger shoulder pain, it can also alleviate the pain.
For women who have PMS problems and pains, sleeping position is very important. When feeling moody or bloated or if you have cramps, avoid lying on your stomach or curling up in a ball. Lying on back is the most comfortable position, because lying on your side will affect breast ligaments, while lying face down will put extra pressure on your uterus. Place a pillow under your knees to keep your lower spine from arching too much, and keep your arms neutral at your sides.
Sleep and sleeping positions are more important than one would think.
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