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The Best Position for Sleep

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What is the best position for sleep?

Well, based on people I have seen with the least wrinkles and volume loss of their face, I would recommend the back. Side sleeping as well as on the back have health benefits with the stomach being the worst possible position in terms of everything.

Many providers agree that back is best. Snoozing in savasana pose is a boon for spine and neck health, because the back is straight and not forced into any contortions. Plus back sleeping helps the mattress do its job of supporting the spine. In a perfect (and kind of uncomfy) world, everyone would sleep on their backs without a pillow, as this position leaves the neck in a neutral position. Using too many pillows, however, can make breathing more difficult. Instances of snoring and sleep apnea are much more frequent when a person is sleeping in the supine position. In fact, back sleeping is so closely linked to sleep apnea that providers prescribe side sleeping as a treatment for the condition . When we sleep on our backs, gravity forces the base of the tongue to collapse into the airway, which obstructs breathing and creates oh-so-pleasant snoring noises.

It’s also worth noting that a supported spine doesn’t always necessarily mean a good night’s sleep. A study comparing the sleep habits of good sleepers and poor sleepers noted the people with worse-quality sleep spent more time on their backs than the good sleepers .

Whether they’re curling up in the cozy fetal position or lying straight on one side, the vast majority of people report sleeping on their sides. Sleeping on the left side is encouraged during pregnancy because it improves circulation to the heart, which benefits both mom and baby. Side sleeping is also a pregnancy winner because sleeping on the back puts pressure on the lower back (which can lead to fainting) and stomach-sleeping is impossible for obvious reasons . For those not expecting, sleeping on the left side can also ease heartburn and acid reflux, making it easier for people with these conditions to doze off. In a 2003 study published in The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, subjects with congestive heart failure had a “highly significant tendency to avoid sleeping on the left side,” while subjects without the condition did not. The study’s authors also found that avoidance of sleeping on the left was related to the degree of heart enlargement and dysfunction.

Stomach sleeping eases snoring and some cases of sleep apnea, but that’s pretty much the only good thing about going belly-down at night. Resting on the tummy is widely regarded as the worst sleeping position. It flattens the natural curve of the spine, which can lead to lower back pain. Sleeping all night with the head turned to one side also strains the neck. If this is the preferred position, try using pillows to gradually train the body to sleep on one side.

Whether it’s back, side, or stomach, people tend to wake up in the position that their bodies naturally snooze in. Best is probably to alternate sides (making sure to keep your face off the side of the pillow so as not to scrunch it) with some time on your back as well.

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