Some people swear by sleeping on their sides, while other people just can’t drift off unless they’re lying flat on their backs. No matter which position you prefer to sleep in, it’s always a good idea to evaluate your sleep quality to see if it’s right for you. Here are some easy ways to determine which sleep position is best for your particular needs.
On your side. Whether you sleep with your legs straight or in more of a fetal position, sleeping on your side is likely the most common position among adults. This is a fairly healthy way to sleep, because it elongates your spine and prevents acid reflux, since it relaxes the muscles in your abdomen and neck. If you prefer to tuck your legs up in a fetal position, you’re making the position a bit less healthy, since tucking your legs too tightly can constrict your breathing and cause some muscle cramping, particularly in the hips or neck. If you prefer to sleep on your side, try to straighten your legs and leave your neck relaxed.
On your back. Sleeping on your back may be the least common sleep position — in fact, only 8% of people sleep this way. Despite its uncommon nature, sleeping on your back is actually the healthiest way to sleep. Here’s why: when you sleep on your back, it allows your back, neck, and head to align in a neutral position, without extra pressure on any one area. It’s a great way to allow those muscles to relax, especially after a long day of tension from sitting at a desk or performing manual labor. Sleeping on your back is also great for relieving acid reflux and aiding in digestion.
On your stomach. This is also a fairly uncommon way to sleep, but it’s a popular position with anyone who is trying to stop snoring. Sleeping on your stomach puts pressure on your muscles and joints, especially in your back and neck, which can cause cramping and pain come morning. The best way to alleviate this is by sleeping facedown, but for obvious reasons, this isn’t particularly comfortable; to make it easier to breathe, try propping your forehead on a pillow.