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Which Sleep Position Is Healthiest?

The Pros and Cons of Sleeping on Your Side, Back, and Stomach

When it's time to get some shut-eye, not all sleeping positions have the same positive impact on your body. In some cases, the way you sleep could negatively affect your body's well-being — far outside the bedroom. While it's tough to change your habits at first, it's best to know if your preferred sleeping style is supporting or hindering your health.

Sleeping on your back . . .
The pros: This position is great for balancing out your body weight, keeping your internal organs aligned, and preventing neck and back pain. Just be sure to keep a pillow under your knees to help maintain proper alignment of your back.

The cons: If you're a snorer, then you might want to turn to one side; sleeping on your back may make your snoring even worse.

Keep reading to learn about sleeping on your side or belly.

Sleeping on your side . . .
The pros: Lying on your side in the fetal position with your knees bent and a pillow between your legs can help take stress off your back. It's important to use a pillow to keep your head in a neutral position, so your head won't drop and affect your posture. An added bonus is that sleeping on your left side also reduces heartburn pain.

The cons: You're in luck — there aren't really any, since this position follows the natural curvature of the spine.

Sleeping on your stomach . . .
The pros: When you have lower back pain, occasionally sleeping on your stomach can relieve pressure on your disc spaces. I know when I've been leaning over all day, falling asleep like this feels fantastic, since it resembles the Cobra yoga position (lots of pillows required).

The cons: Even if you love to sleep on your stomach, this is the position with the most risk. According to Jonathan FitzGordon, an alignment specialist from NYC, "Sleeping on your stomach flattens the natural curve in the lower back and keeps your head turned to one side all night, which distorts the alignment of the spine in your neck." This position can also exert unnecessary pressure on your nerves, which will cause pins and needles when you wake up.

Source: Thinkstock
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