Ah, sleep. If you’re anything like me, you absolutely love sleeping. Unfortunately, there are a lot of caveats to sleeping, such as back problems due to improper sleeping positions. At some point, everybody needs to sleep, so maximizing the benefits and minimizing the damage that certain positions could cause is important. Here are 10 of the best and worst ways to sleep.
1. Sleeping on your back
Sleeping on your back results in a neutral spinal position without the exertion of force on the back. This is the position that is often recommended by doctors due to the fact that it helps maintain neck and spine health. If you want to avoid waking up with a strained neck, this is the go-to position.
2. Sleeping on your side
People suffering from sleep apnea or constant snoring could benefit from this sleeping position. It allows the spine to be aligned while also preventing backache. The issue with sleeping on your side is that it can potentially cause facial wrinkles, as well as possibly leading to saggy breasts (due to have your body being pressed to the mattress). As a result, this position is not recommended for the entire duration of the night. Side sleepers also experience arm numbness from the pressure on one side of their body.
3. Sleeping on your stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is a major no-no. This position results in a significant amount of pressure being placed on your back (particularly the lumbar spine). It can also result in “pins and needles” in your arms and legs, which is due to the pressure it applies to joints and muscles. Breathing is also restricted since your neck is also being strained.
4. Fetal Position
Fetal position gets its name because of the position that babies take during their fetal stages in the womb. Unfortunately, as an adult this is NOT a good position to sleep in. The reason for this is that it can cause a plethora of neck and back problems, as well as restricting your breathing. The quality of sleep is hindered due to the restricted breathing. Psychologists also believe that people who sleep in the fetal position have a tendency to stress about their lives more than others.
5. Pillow cuddling
If you want better rest but don’t want the accompanied spinal pain, the pillow cuddling position tends to prove effective. People who sleep on their stomach should place a pillow beneath their hips in order to relieve a portion of the stress on the joints. Pillow cuddling is more of a supplement to other positions than it is a position of its own.
6. Arms up while on your back
Also known as the “starfish,” this position is considered good for back health. Arms up helps to prevent facial wrinkles, snoring, and even acid reflux. A downside to this position, however, is that shoulder discomfort can be experienced due to the position they’re put in. Extra pillows (looking at you, number 5) can help with this.
7. Couples on the edge of the bed, facing away from each other
People refer to this position as the “pre-divorce” position, but don’t fret, there’s not much merit to it. This problem becomes an issue when there is a great deal of distance between partners and a lack of contact throughout the night. Up to 90% of couples who sleep in this position are in happy relationships.
Spooning is considered a stress reliever, but the downside is that it can result in aches and pains. Psychologists found that physical contact, even during sleep, can result in reduced stress in both partners. The issue is that since you’re in a semi-awkward position, your body can end up achy.
9. Couples facing towards each other
Sleeping face-to-face allows for more contact than the back-to-back position, that’s why this position is generally preferred over number 7. It allows for eye contact, easy cuddling, and is considered to be a more intimate position since cuddling is so easy.
10. Back-to-back, no contact
This is the progression of number 7 and it’s not a good one. While up to 55% of couples sleep back-to-back, they still maintain some form of contact or closeness, even while facing opposite directions. In this position in particular, there is absolutely no contact to be had. This position is seen as an indication of relationship problems, but it’s to be taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes people just want to get to sleep after a tiring day, so it could mean nothing in that context.