Your sleeping pose can have a major impact on your sleep and your health. Poor posture while awake or asleep can increase joint, back and neck pain, fatigue, sleep apnea symptoms, muscle cramps, impaired circulation, indigestion, and premature wrinkles.
Although only 8% of people sleep on their backs, it’s the healthiest option for most people because it allows your head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position. Body weight is evenly distributed and the natural curve of the spine maintained. Sleeping facing the ceiling helps to avoid acid reflux. However, it can cause the tongue to block the breathing tube. So for sleep apnea sufferers, sleeping on your back may aggravate the condition. Another downside is more severe snoring while sleeping on the back.
Fifteen percent of adults sleep on their side. If you sleep on your side, you are less likely to snore because your airways are open. It is the best option for people with sleep apnea. However it can strain the lower back because the body is twisted. A firm pillow between the knees can help to restore the natural alignment of the hips, pelvis and spine. The downside for side sleepers is wrinkles because half of your face pushes against a pillow.
Forty-one percent of adults choose the fetal sleep position, where you sleep on your side with a rounded torso and bent knees. This position may provide relief for people suffering with a herniated disc. This pose is also good for snorers. But resting in a fetal position that’s curled up too tightly can restrict breathing.
Seven percent of adults sleep on their stomach. This position twists the spine and places stress on the neck, shoulders and back. While it eases snoring, it can lead to back and neck pain, joint numbness, tingling, aches, and irritated nerves. This position may relieve pain for people with a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. It’s best to try to choose another position.