How Does Your Sleep Posture Affect Your Health?
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We all know that a good night’s sleep is important for our body to restore itself. But, did you know that the way you sleep can affect your health too? When you’re sleeping for eight hours, you may be inadvertently altering your spine’s natural curve. Not all sleeping postures were created equal. Here’s a rundown of common sleep postures and their effect on health.
Sleeping on your back is the optimal sleeping position. As long as your neck is supported properly or cradled in a cervical pillow, your alignment will be as natural as possible because your hips will be evenly aligned. Back sleepers keep their spine in a neutral position so that it is not strained or contorted in any way.
Additionally, sleeping on your back can minimize your acid reflux symptoms. For people with sleep apnea, however, this position will interrupt your breathing while you sleep. If you experience any lower back pain in this position, simply place a small pillow beneath your knees to elevate them and relieve pressure off your lower back.
Side sleepers will rest easy knowing that this position comes with very minimal health risks. If you suffer from neck or back pain, this can be a comfortable position for you if you also use a supportive pillow and mattress. Sleeping on your side, however can put added pressure on your hips.
To solve this, simply place a small pillow in between your knees to keep your hips balanced and to straighten your spine. This sleeping position also reduces symptoms of acid reflux. Additionally, sleeping on one’s side has been shown to prevent sleeping obstructions for people with sleep apnea.
Stomach sleepers may love their sleeping position, but there is some evidence to suggest that it may not be the best position.
In fact, sleeping on your stomach puts extra pressure on your lower spine and can cause neck strain due to twisting the neck to rest on the pillow for a long period of time. The neck turning puts your spine to work harder than it should and can lead to neck, shoulder, and back pain. Stomach sleepers may experience arm pain because of the unnatural sleeping posture that requires you to stretch your arm over or under the pillow. This position can restrict blood flow and lead to more chronic pain.
Whatever sleeping posture you prefer, one of the key aspects to a good night’s sleep is a firm and comfortable pillow and mattress. Apart from that, a regular visit to your chiropractor can get to the root of your painful symptoms and provide you with actionable steps toward improving your overall health.