Which Sleeping Posture is Best for You?

sleeping positions

Dr. Purushothaman
July 5, 2017

Sleeping appears so natural to come. If you are tired, you fall into a slumber as soon as you hit the bed. Would you ever wonder about what posture you take and if that is right for you? The question only comes when you are intentionally trying to sleep but unable to - you wrap yourself with blanket, try different postures and styles to get a deep sleep.

Do you know there are six common sleep postures that people use to sleep and every posture can be related to a specific personality and can give you specific benefits?

Freefall: Extrovert people tend to sleep on their stomach with hands up and face turned on a side. This is best posture for a good digestion. This posture is worse for spine as it can cause overarching and can put pressure on muscles and joints causing pain and numbness. This posture forces you to push your head on side which can lead to uneven breathing.

Fetus: People who are shy inside but tough outside tend to sleep like a baby in the womb with body curled up. As per a survey conducted by a university professor, 41% of people prefer this posture while sleeping. This posture can create problems for your lever, lungs, and stomach when you lie on the left side. Back pain, joint pain, wrinkles, and saggy breasts are some more problems that may arise with this posture. If you have the tendency to sleep in this posture, you may want to use a soft mattress.

Log: Social people usually sleep lying on one side with both arms down. This posture keeps their spine straight so it is the best posture for those suffering from back pain.  Side sleeping can help relieve back pain with elongated spine and reduce snoring but it can also cause skin aging, wrinkles, and breast sagging. Sleeping on right can cause heartburn while sleeping on left can cause strain on internal organs. While sleeping on side, best would be to keep a lot of pillows around - one for your head, one for your waist and one between your legs. 14% of people take this posture while sleeping.

Yearner: Some people are open to new ideas but at the same time, they can be suspicious and thus, take long time to decide. While sleeping, the lie on a side keeping arms in front of them. This posture can help you reduce some health problems like sleep apnea and acid reflux. 13% of people sleep in this posture as per a study. 

Soldier: This is the most open posture in which the person lies on back and spreads out the arms on both sides. This is most common with people who reserved and quiet. Snoring is a common problem with people taking this posture and some people may even feel a trouble in breathing. 8% of people prefer this posture to sleep.

Starfish: Great listeners tend to sleep lying on back keeping both arms up but this posture can be less refreshing and can cause snoring in a person. Stretching arms up can also cause pain in shoulders when you get up. However, it can help reduce acid reflux as head is at a higher position and stomach is below oesophagus so the digested substances do not come up.  It is also beneficial for the back and for skin as it can prevent wrinkles and breakouts on your face. This is the least preferred posture with only 5% people using it.

So, every posture has its advantages and disadvantages so which would be the best for you?

Back positions like Starfish and Soldier may be most appropriate if you want to relieve back and neck pain. Fetus, log, and yearner can not just relieve your back pain but also reduce your snoring and thus, it is considered as the best posture for most people. Free fall which involves sleeping on stomach can be worse as it can cause join and muscle pain, irritate your nerves, and pain and numbness. But, if you are suffering from the problem of indigestion, you may want to try this for a night.

There is no perfect posture for sleep with only benefits but you can definitely make your sleep do the best for you if you follow some additional disciplines:

  • Sleep nude: According to Cleveland Sleep Clinic, sleeping naked can help your body regulate temperature better

  • Keep changing positions: try multiple positions while sleeping to get the best of all sleep postures. Just make sure that your head and neck remain straight at all times

  • Reduce exposure to light before bed: Make your lights dim one or two hours before you sleep. You may even switch off all lights before going to bed

  • Listen to gentle sounds: Soothing sounds like winds, sea waves, or steam can make brain rest and help you sleep faster

  • Moderate your Diet: Eat three hours before going to sleep to keep your stomach light. Avoid spicy and greasy food as they can inhibit your sleep. Also avoid caffeine food as it can act as a stimulant for your brain and reduce your tendency to sleep. A warm drink like milk or a herbal tea would be a better option if you want to take a sip before bed. In any case, take beverages at least an hour before bed.

  • Breathing and Exercise: Deep breathing before bed and regular exercise in your routine can help you get a peaceful sleep. Just ensure that you keep a two hours gap between exercise and sleep.

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