Everyone has a preferred sleep position, a favorite pillow and a sleep environment they are use to. These factors can contribute to health for better or worse. If you use sleep apnea devices, it is equally important to know how your sleep position may be working for or against you.
Is your bed too firm or too soft? Do you have a good pillow that supports your neck and head the way it should? Misalignment during sleep adds stress and strain to the spine, neck, shoulder, hips and jaw, which can affect how you feel each day. It can also sabotage your ability to relax well enough to fall asleep.
Find out what the experts say about your individual sleep positioning. Take the Dr. Oz Sleep quiz
Adjusting your sleep posture may be all you need. Pay attention to the following three curves on the body to ensure you are maintaining them in a natural state:
- The lower back
- The middle of the back
- Near the neck
Do you sleep on your back, your stomach, right or left side? Look at the sleep wheel and ask yourself, are you the Freefaller or the Stargazer? Maybe you are a Soldier or the most common of all, the Thinker?
Sleeping on your back is by far the best sleeping position for your body. It will give your internal organs more space to breath. If you find it difficult to stay on your back, try putting a pillow under your knees. This will keep you on your back and help to maintain the natural curves as outlined above.
This position is ideal for anyone suffering from lower back pain and can prevent hip and spinal problems. If you use CPAP machines or another sleep apnea device, this is also the best position for proper breathing and optimum rest.
The most common sleep position is on the side, or the Thinker. If this is you, it’s important to keep your back as straight as possible, even if your legs are curled up in a fetal position. A pillow between your legs is one good way to keep the back straight and it can also relieve discomfort to the legs. Try to steer toward the right side also, as sleeping on the left side will put pressure on your internal organs including the liver and lungs.
I have bad news for the Freefallers, or stomach sleepers. Experts advise against it, as it puts pressure on the internal organs and diaphragm, which is important for proper breathing. It’s also a good way to ensure you wake up with bad neck kinks and possible headaches.
Sleeping on the stomach prevents the ribcage from fully expanding by trapping it under your bodyweight. This position is only good for those who have specific medical conditions that require it, such as those with disc diseases.
It’s up to you to decide which position works best for you so that you can ensure a peaceful and healthy rest each night.
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