This is a common question we get asked in clinic.
Sleeping is an important part of our daily routine and not having a good rest can have lots of negative effects on you, from headaches to irritability, through to memory loss, reduced skin health or even increase risk of heart disease. Yes, you heard right!
Every sleeping position has pros and cons; there is no PERFECT position because we are all different, and find comfort in different positions.
Let’s go through and review the pros and cons of the most common sleeping positions!
- Sleeping on your back
Pro: Weight evenly distributed, natural support to the curves of your back.
Con: Makes snoring more severe, increase sleeping apnea symptoms.
Advice: Head, neck and spine should be in a neutral position.
Putting a small pillow under the knees may provide extra support to your back and help maintain the natural curve of the spine.
This position can help with knee pain and low back pain, as it takes extra pressure of these areas.
- Sleeping on your side
Pro: Helps with snoring and reduce sleeping apnea and heartburn.
Con: It may cause increased pressure on shoulders and hips.
Advice: Put a pillow between your legs, this will raise the upper leg and restore the natural alignment of the hips, pelvis and spine. Also, the pillow supporting your neck should be high enough to keep the neck in line with the shoulder and not put strain on it. This position can be helpful with low back pain, hip pain or knee pain. A soft pillow under your waist can be useful for pain on one side of the low back or even the bottom hip.
- Sleeping on your belly
Pro: Reduces snoring and therefore sleep apnea.
Con: Reduces natural curves of the spine, and can overload the neck by holding the same rotated position for a prolonged period.
Advice: Most of the time this position increases the lumber lordosis and produces lower back pain; put a slim pillow underneath your stomach to lift your spine and improve spinal alignment.