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Are You a Side, Stomach or Back Sleeper?

man sleeping soundlyMost people are side or stomach sleepers and don’t think twice about it—but they should. The best sleep position is the one that supports healthy spinal alignment. Research shows stomach sleeping is the worst position for back support. Side sleeping is better, but back sleeping is by far the best position for spinal health and stability.

What’s Wrong With the Way I Sleep?

When you sleep on your stomach, you sink deeper into the mattress because of your body’s weight. Your back may arch, stretching your spine out of alignment. When your spine is not aligned, you experience stress and strain, which may cause aches and pains when you wake up.

Also, when sleeping on your stomach, you must turn your head to one side in order to breathe. Turning your head requires you to twist your neck, which moves it out of alignment with the rest of your spine.

Side sleeping reduces the risk of snoring and sleep apnoea, as this position naturally keeps your airway open. This position may help relieve heartburn and back pain, and other issues. Side sleeping is the most popular sleeping position.

Back sleeping may help relieve back pain, lessen the risk of facial wrinkles, and it’s the easiest position to keep the spine aligned. However, this position increases the risk of snoring and sleep apnea, since it’s much easier for the tongue to fall back into the throat.

Making a Change

Changing from a stomach sleeper to a side or back sleeper can be difficult. If you’re looking to make a switch, using pillows helps train your body to stay in the new sleep position. Placing firm pillows, extra blankets, or a long body pillow on either side of your body can help prevent you from being able to easily roll over onto your stomach.

Having proper pillows to support your head and neck in the new position is also recommended.
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