Sleep is one necessity that we cannot do without. Like food and water, sleep serves a purpose to our bodies that can cause us harm if we don’t get the right amount of sleep in the right amount of days. The thing about rest is that sometimes it can affect us even when we get a decent night’s sleep or even a bad night’s sleep. No one will tell you they feel good after a fitful rest; their typical answer, when asked how they feel that day, will be that they are tired.
Sleep deprivation also causes a laundry list of other problems, such as depression, anxiety, lower sex drive, weakness, muscle tenderness, joint pain, back pain, neck pain, and many other things.
The purpose of this unhappy list of ailments is to basically say, “Humans need sleep,” in no uncertain terms.
So, how can you ensure that you get a good rest each time you lie down to close your eyes? It’s not impossible to say, but it is probable to say that if you are comfortable, your sleep will be better too.
How can you stay in a comfortable position when you are sleeping? There are a few tips and tricks you can try, but the most basic one is to know that every person has a way they like to sleep, and most sleep studies and research indicate the same thing when it comes to finding the best position for you: If you are comfortable, it’s right for you.
There are, of course, pros and cons to sleeping in each position, and there are three main positions people sleep in. Each comes with variations. If you want to avoid back pain, sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees can give you some relief. If you snore mildly, or loudly, sleeping on your side can help remedy that problem. Stomach sleeping is good for some people, but it can cause spinal strain, and it may crush your organs.
But, really, if it is comfortable for you, experts agree across the board that it is the right position.
Now, if you have neck or back pain, using a pillow to lift an afflicted area can help loosen the pain in a way that makes your sleep position comfortable and healing. Adding other pillows in other areas can help you sleep as well. Pregnant women can put a pillow between their legs, and this will help even out the weight of their stomach versus the rest of their body.
Pros and Cons
Again, each sleeping position has pros and cons, and there are pros and cons when adding pillows, stuffed animals, specific sheets, and other forms of sleep aids that can help your sleep be comfortable more often than not. Below is a set of benefits and costs for the sleeping positions for you:
Side Sleeper: If the side is where you find the most comfort, note that you may have shoulder stiffness or aching if your arm is kept under your head for too long. Otherwise, side sleeping is good for snoring, and it gives you better brain health, and you’ll have less heartburn, constipation, and better blood flow. The benefits do outweigh the drawbacks of sleeping on your side.
Some of the variations of side sleeping can be in a straight position or in a fetal position. If you are a straight side sleeper, that is good for your spine too! Finding a mattress that supports the pressure points of your shoulders, hips, and spine will help encourage a more comfortable night’s sleep as well.
Make sure to get a pillow that is the correct height and can provide maximum support with its firmness or softness.
There are a few things to remember if you regularly sleep in a fetal position: sleeping in the fetal position has the benefits of side sleeping, except for the fact that your spine is curved. If you sleep too tightly balled up, it can lead to a handful of aches and pains in your back, hips, and shoulders due to the unnatural curve of your spine.
Stomach Sleeper: These sleepers are the outlier in this study, with only seventeen percent of people in the nation who claim to be stomach sleepers. While the rare sleeping position isn’t bad for those who do it, the drawbacks far outweigh the benefits (which is why it isn’t the most popular sleeping position).
Sleeping on your stomach can cause people to feel more anxiety, strain your spine, and put more pressure on your neck and joints; it can also create numbness or stiffness in other parts of your body. Since there are some drawbacks, there do happen to be a couple of benefits, and stomach sleeping does reduce snoring an incredible amount.
If you find that sleeping on your stomach is the most comfortable position for you, make sure to get an extremely thin pillow or no pillow at all. Then, you’ll want to prop another pillow under your pelvis. This action will reduce strain to your spine and will add some needed curve to it, which will release the possibility of stiff and sore muscles. Finally, stretch out your body when you wake up. This action will help ease any muscles that are left aching.
Back Sleeper: Researchers recommend back sleeping most for those who wake up with aches and pains.
The pros of sleeping on your back include fewer facial wrinkles, less heartburn, and fewer aches and pains in your muscles. If you sleep on your back, the chance of getting sleep apnea is much higher than the other positions of sleep.
Sleeping on your back is the most natural position for your spine, and your appendages (like your arms or legs) won’t be under the weight of your body. If these cons turn out to be a problem for you, there are a few things to do like finding sleeping tools such as nasal strips or mouthpieces. Getting the right support in your mattress can also help you fend off sleep apnea and snoring.
Critics, researchers, and experts agree that sleeping in a position that is most comfortable for you to get deep, full sleep is the best position for you to be in. And the cons of each position—side sleeper, stomach sleeper, or back sleeper—can be dealt with in a manner of ways. Pillows, nasal strips, and mouthpieces can help reduce pain, aches, or snoring to a large degree.
Finding the right mattress to support your spine and the proper thickness of the pillow can go a long way too.
Getting a decent night’s sleep is the best medicine for many common ailments that plague people on a daily basis. Once you find the right position and tools to help you sleep, many of your other problems may dissipate as well.