How you sleep at night can play a big role in your overall health. While getting enough sleep is very important, how you sleep also plays a big factor. Different sleeping positions can affect your back, neck and spine as well as snoring, insomnia and sleep apnea. While sleeping on your back with your arms at your side is generally considered to be the best position for your spine health, back sleepers tend to snore more and sleep apnea is strongly associated with this position.
Common sleeping positions:
Fetal position: Sleeping curled up in to a ball with your knees drawn up and your head tilted might be comfortable, but it can unfavorable for your back and neck and restrict deep breathing.
On your back, arms down: This is thought to be the best position for your spine and neck although it is also associated with snoring and sleep apnea.
On your back, arms up: Also known as the “starfish”, this position is also good for your back and may also help to prevent wrinkles and breakouts. While it can also result in snoring, having your arms up can put pressure on the nerves in your shoulders leading to pain.
Face down: While sleeping on your stomach can improve digestion, sleeping face down forces you to tilt your head to the side to breath and put a lot of strain on your neck and back as the curve of the spine is not supported.
On side: When sleeping on your side with your arms down, the spine is best supported in its natural curve. The can help reduce back pain and sleep apnea. The downside? Sleeping on your side can contribute to skin aging and wrinkles due to gravity.
Pillow-Supplemented: Regardless of which sleeping position you prefer, it’s likely you’ll get a better night’s rest with less pain by supplementing your body with a pillow. Back sleepers can put a small pillow under the arch of their spine, side sleepers and place a pillow between the knees and stomach sleepers can place a pillow under their hips.