Sleep is essential, and most of us have a favorite sleeping position. However, our sleeping position can significantly affect our overall health, so it is important to know how different sleeping positions affect us.
People Have Different Sleeping Needs
To start with, we need to realize that different people have different sleeping needs. Though a variety of factors affect this, it is primarily determined by age. According to the National Sleep Foundation, newborns, infants, and toddlers need roughly fifteen hours of sleep a day; from three to thirteen, you need about ten hours. Adults need around eight hours. Within these ranges, individuals may need slightly more or less sleep, and they should choose a sleeping position that offers the best quality sleep.
Side Sleeping Can Positively Affect Health
Sleeping on your side has been shown to have positive health effects because it allows your spine to rest in its natural position. This helps to prevent or stop neck and back pain. Side sleeping is also the best position for pregnancy because it improves circulation to the baby.
Stomach Sleeping Can Negatively Affect Health
Sleeping on your stomach can affect you negatively. This position decreases sleep quality because you spend a lot of time tossing and turning to try and get comfortable. It is crucial to get adequate, quality sleep, but this position makes it hard to do so. Sleeping on your stomach can also contribute to low back pain and neck pain.
Back Sleeping Can Negatively Affect Health
Sleeping on your back can cause low back pain, and it also contributes to snoring. This disturbs the sleep quality of yourself and others. Because it hinders smooth breathing, back sleeping can also aggravate sleep apnea. However, sleeping on your back can help with acid reflux.
You Can Alter Your Sleeping Position
If you think your sleeping position is negatively affecting your health, try altering it. You could completely change your sleeping position, which may be best in some cases. However, it will take a while to break this habit. You could also try adjusting your position. For side sleeping, stretch out a bit and put a pillow or blanket between your knees. For stomach sleeping, place a soft pillow under your forehead and face the mattress. For back sleeping, put a pillow under your knees. These adjustments will take pressure off certain parts of your body and allow you to breathe better.
Of course, there are other ways to improve the quality of your sleep, from how you set up your room for bedtime to what kind of pillows and mattresses. Your sleep situation is specific to you, and after plenty of research, you’ll be able to find out what works best.