People tend to sleep in one of three different sleep positions, either on their back, stomach, or side. There are variations to each position but whether you are curled up, sprawled out, sitting up, or laying flat it is going to have an effect on the quality of your sleep.
We wanted to know what the absolute best possible sleeping position is for getting the highest quality of sleep possible. If you want to know what we discovered, keep reading.
Pros to Back Sleeping
Overall sleeping on your back is a great sleeping position, especially if your suffer from back or joint pain. This is one of the best sleeping positions for proper spine alignment.
So whether you are sleeping in a soldier position (arms by side, legs straight down) or like a starfish (arms sprawled and legs spread apart) for the most part, your spine is still going to be straight, which is the most beneficial part to sleeping on your back.
Cons To Back Sleeping
Three common issues that are caused by sleeping on your back are back pain, snoring, and sleep apnea. It is the lack of support to the lower back that often causes strains and eventually pain from sleeping in this position.
While it is gravity that causes the soft pallet or tongue to collapse so easily when sleeping on your back. Often the chin falls open and then snoring and even sleep apnea can be at its worst in this position. Which no doubt can have a negative effect on your and your partners sleep quality.
If you are suffering from lower back pain, we highly suggest putting a pillow or rolled towel underneath your knees. This is help support your lower back and correct any over arching that may happen.
A standard pillow should do the trick but if you need a little extra support, we love the wedge pillow collection from Brentwood Homes. They give that extra support and keep you from flipping over in the night. They can also me used to support your back while sitting up in bed.
Sleeping on your back is not going to be the best option for you if you are an avid snorer. However, if you really can’t sleep on your side there are a few things you can do. Sleeping at an incline can be helpful for relieving snoring. A bed that can incline is a great option but you can also try it out with a tilted pillow to give it a try first. The wedge pillows by Brentwood Homes are also a good option for this.
Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers
When it comes to sleeping on your back a lot of what makes the best mattress for is going to have a lot to do with personal preference.
However, if back problems are your main concern we have a whole article on some of our favorite mattresses for those suffering with back pain. Find a mattress that will help relieve your pain on our Top Mattresses For Back Sleepers page.
Pros to Side Sleeping
Sleeping in your side is the most common sleeping position out there. This is a comfortable position, that has many benefits including relieving back pain, increasing circulation, and cutting down on snoring and sleep apnea. It is commonly believed that this sleeping position is so soothing because it mimics the position taken by babies in the womb. Hence why it is often called the fetal position.
Cons to Side Sleeping
One of the most common problems with the fetal position is when tension builds in the body. If you squeeze and curl up so tight that you are in more of a ball position than a relaxed curve, this can make it difficult to breath. Curling into a tight ball is also uncomfortable for your back.
Another common discomfort caused by sleeping on your side is pain with the knees back and hips. Shoulder and hip pain can also be caused if your mattress is too hard or doesn’t give the proper support to your pressure points.
Which is the best side to sleep on?
This may sound strange, but the side you choose to sleep on does have an effect on your overall health and the quality of your sleep. It all comes back to your digestion.
Your stomach is positioned on the left side of your body, so when you go to sleep on your right side it raises your stomach and causes indigestion and heartburn.
Your gastric juices won’t want to remain in your stomach, causing all sorts of discomfort. On the other hand if you’re laying on your left hand side, it is a more natural position for easing digestion and relieving issues like heartburn.
If you are having issues with indigestion and heartburn, make sure your are sleeping on your left side vs your right. This is an easy and natural way to align your digestive system to be able to work properly.
Back and joint pain is typically caused by lack of alignment with the spine. This can be easily fixed by adding a pillow between the knees. Not only does this help with proper spinal alignment, but it also adds a cushion between the knees.
High tension in the body while sleeping in the fetal position can make it difficult to breath properly. Try to keep the body relaxed and not so wound tight, this will help take pressure off of the lungs and diaphragm, making it easier to take deep full breaths.
Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
Sleeping on your side requires a mattress that allows support and flex in order to cradle your pressure points. If a mattress is to firm or if it lacks support, it can put pressure on your hips and shoulders while throwing your back out of alignment.
Check out our article Top Mattresses For Side Sleepers to see some of our top favorite mattresses for side sleepers. All these beds have our stamp of approval when it comes to the right combination of support and comfort.
Pros to Stomach Sleeping
Sleeping on your stomach is a better option than sleeping on your back when it comes to snoring.
If you have issues with snoring, sleeping on your stomach can potentially bring relief. However this is one of the only benefits to sleeping on your stomach.
Cons to Stomach Sleeping
Unfortunately sleeping on your stomach can come along with many issues like neck pain, back pain, and difficulty breathing. Sleeping on your stomach causes your back to straighten out of proper alignment. It is one of the least natural sleeping positions there are. Neck pain is often caused by needing to twist your head to the side in order to breath properly.
The fastest fix back pain caused by sleeping on your stomach is to start sleeping in a different position.
However, if you really prefer to continue sleeping on your stomach, there are ways to ease your back pain. We suggest putting a pillow under your hips as this may help add the curvature to the spine that is needed to relieve that back pain. Also be sure the pillows for your head are as low as possible. This will help to keep your spine from bowing too much.
Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
There are so many great mattress options that can help ease the strains and pains of stomach sleeping. The most important feature to look for in a mattress for stomach sleepers, is the right amount of support to keep the back from bowing.
Check out this article Top Mattresses For Stomach Sleepers to learn more about all these mattresses that have plenty of support and just enough cushion for the best sleep.
Pros to Combination Sleeping
If you are choosing to change up your sleep position from night to night, this can be helpful to keep your back from getting worn out in any direction. This can also be a great benefit for your mattress. If you change up your chosen sleep position every night this will help your mattress to not get worn out in a single area.
Cons to Combination Sleeping
If you are tossing and turning throughout the night and constantly changing your sleeping position, it is likely that something is keeping you uncomfortable. (No matter what position you’re in) If this is the case we highly suggest that it may be time for a new mattress. You may need to update your mattress, pillow, and even your sheets.
Check in with yourself and find out what is causing your discomfort. Are you over heating? Is it back pain? No matter what the cause, there is a mattress out there for you. Check out our top recommendations in our Best Mattresses page to see some of our all time favorite mattresses and find what will work for you. And if it’s a new pillow you need, we have several Pillow Reviews too.
The Best Position To Sleep:
Sleeping on your back is by far the optimal sleeping position for health and comfort. Coming in at a close second place is sleeping on your side. Especially if you struggle with snoring, side sleeping is the better option between the two. However, overall sleeping on your back is the best option for spinal alignment and relieving pressure points and pain.
In last place is stomach sleeping. Sleeping on your stomach causes more issues than it ever solves. From struggling to breath properly, to neck strain, there are so many reasons to not sleep on your stomach. It is really a good choice to change your sleeping habits if you are sleeping on your stomach. This is especially true if you are struggling with chronic pain.
Sleeping While Pregnant:
In the later terms of pregnancy it becomes difficult to sleep any other way besides on your side. However, there are benefits to choosing this sleeping position even early on within a pregnancy.
If you are a stomach sleeper, even in early pregnancy we suggest getting in the practice of sleeping on your side.
If you are pregnant and struggling because you’re an avid stomach sleeper, there is a product for you. Check out the Cozy Bump Pregnancy Sleeper. While it isn’t the best option to sleep on your stomach, this can bring temporary relief for those who need it.
Sleeping on your back can also cause issues during pregnancy. Cutting off proper blood flow, back pain, and heartburn are three of the more common issues sleeping on your back can cause during pregnancy. So we suggest sleeping on your side with the assistance of a supportive pillow. Like the pregnancy side pillow that wraps around your body and supports your stomach, hips, and back.
Are you pregnant and having trouble sleeping? Check out our 27 Pregnancy Sleep Tips
Learn How To Sleep On Your Back
- The best way to learn how to sleep on your back is practice. When you hop into bed lay on your back and make sure your pillows are giving the support to your neck that feels most comfortable to you.
- We also suggest starting with a pillow under your knees. This adds an extra level of cradling and correcting spine alignment.
- Tuck yourself in. Okay this may sound over the top, but it works. Get into the desired sleep position you would like to start sleeping in and then prop yourself into that position by putting pillows around you. Essentially you’re creating barriers to prevent your sleeping self from going back into your old sleeping position.
- Another way that may help you feel “tucked in” is also to use a weighted blanket. This helps with many issues but also helps you from tossing and turning. By providing just enough added weight to secure you. Try our favorite blanket, the Baloo Weighted Blanket, to sleep sound.
- Persistence, when it comes to changing any habit it is all about consistency and being persistent enough to create a new habit. Keep in mind that they say it takes 30 days straight to create a new habit. So keep track and aim for 30 straight days of sleeping on your back.
Your Best Sleeping Position:
At the end of the day, if you find a sleeping position that is comfortable for you, then that is wonderful. It is always good to check in with your body and make sure that they sleeping position you enjoy most isn’t causing other aches and pains.
If you want to change the sleeping position you are used to, it is possible to make that transition, just be sure to stick with it in order to make it a new habit. If you are struggling with discomfort no matter what position you sleep in, it might be your pillow or mattress. Check out our reviews to find out which pillow and mattress is best for you.