Did you know that the position in which you sleep can affect not only the quality of your sleep but also your overall health?
Poor sleeping posture can cause numerous health issues, including back and neck pain, sleep apnea, fatigue, muscle cramps, headaches, impaired circulation and even heartburn. We all know the feeling, don’t we? The alarm goes off, we wake up, have a stretch, then realise our neck aches, or our shoulder hurts to move, or we feel even more tired now than we did when we went to bed. Yep, this could all be linked to poor sleeping posture.
The best position to sleep in is apparently on our backs, however, only around 8% of us sleep this way! Sleeping on our backs allows our body to rest in a neutral position, which is highly beneficial for our heads, necks and spines, as we are not placing any extra pressure on any of these parts. Sleeping on our backs also helps to reduce and even prevent acid reflux, which many of us suffer from frequently. Ensuring your head is elevated with a good quality pillow whilst sleeping on your back will allow your stomach to rest below your oesophagus, which will stop food or acid working its way up our digestive tract. However, there are some cons to sleeping in this position – for those of us who snore, sleeping on our backs can actually make our snoring worse, and, back sleeping can also cause the tongue to rest over the breathing tube, making this position dangerous for those with sleep apnea who experience periods of breathlessness throughout the night.
A huge 41% of people are reported to sleep in the fetal position, and, whilst this position is great for those of us who snore, curling up too tightly in this position can cause breathing problems, as it restricts breathing in your diaphragm. It is also not recommended for people suffering with arthritis as the bending of limbs can make us feel a bit sore upon waking up. If we really want to sleep in this position, then it is advised that we sleep in as loosely a fetal position as possible. Tucking our chin into our chests and pulling our knees up tightly can cause us health problems and disrupt our sleep.
The worst sleeping position for us is to lay on our stomach. Though this does help ease snoring, which some of us may find a god send, it isn’t really beneficial for anything else! This position doesn’t let our spine rest in a neutral position, and so the strain on this all night can cause some quite bad neck and back ache on a morning. Also, sleeping on our stomachs puts pressure on our joints and muscles, which can cause feelings of discomfort such as numbness, tingling, and aches, so it really is best to find an alternative sleeping position!
If you find yourself waking up aching on a morning then try adjusting your sleeping position, this could just be the problem!