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Which Sleep Position Is Healthiest?

What Your Sleeping Position Says About Your Health


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.

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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.

Join The Conversation
lauren lauren 6 years
I am a side sleeper, I can't actually fall asleep any other way! @Josslyn, first welcome to the sugar network, if you are looking to getting into shape, following FitSugar is a great start and there is a great group called Get Fit for 2011 where our members talk about their fitness goals, etc! Have fun exploring!
le-romantique le-romantique 6 years
I've been a stomach sleep since I was a baby... always heard how it was bad for you, but I'm fine!
imLissy imLissy 6 years
I can't breathe when I sleep on my back. I usually sleep on either side. If I can't fall asleep, I try my stomach for a while, but I usually end up rolling to the side.
TiVo TiVo 6 years
I am also trying to learn to sleep on my back. I'm normally a side sleeper, but I've heard/read that having your face on the pillow like that can cause more or deeper wrinkles. Yikes!
Nicolie Nicolie 6 years
I just started going to a chiropractor and he gave me a long lecture as to why I shouldn't be sleeping on my stomach as well as diagnosed me with a reversal neck curve. So I'm learning to sleep on my back...
chequettex chequettex 6 years
I usually fall asleep on my side or in a half-on-my-side, half-on-my-stomach position. I can't fall asleep on my back - that usually doesn't happen unless I'm super-tired and just happen to land that way. I get sleep paralysis when I sleep on my back, and it's very scary so that also keeps me from trying to fall asleep that way in the first place.
Josslyn Josslyn 6 years
Hi there, new to sugar and joined to find out if any of you guys have any tips on exercise and diet, looking for a program I can get into with hubby, any ideas? Joss
amber512 amber512 6 years
The only con I care about - not getting any sleep. I can't sleep unless I'm on my stomach. I try to go to sleep on my side or back, but I stay wide awake the entire night. Or somtimes I'll wake up and realize I have rolled onto my stomach during the night. Sorry, anything else is not happening!
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