Sleeping is such a big part of our lives.Most people don't realize that if we live to be 87 years old, we would have spent approximately 29 years slumbering away!
In this article, we will dive into differentsleeping positions, dissect their pros and cons, and hopefully help you gain a better understanding of your current sleeping positions and ways you can improve your sleep quality.
1. Back Sleeper - 18% of Population
Variations: The soldier, the starfish
Leads to fewer facial wrinkles (Superficial, I know)
Less likely for Neck & Back Pain
Reduces Acid Reflux
A higher tendency for snoring/sleep apnea
Back sleeping seems to be the classic representation of sleeping, however, to many's surprise it is only preferred by 18% of the population. It has two variations: the soldier and the starfish.
The soldier is where you lay on your backs with legs straight, and arms near the hip pointed straight down. Soldier sleepers are the definition of conked out sleepers; they don't move much or change position.
The starfish is the much less uptight of the two, where you lay on your back with your legs spread apart and your arms up near your head or the pillow. Interesting tidbit, starfish sleepers are more likely to sleepwalk.
In general, the back sleeper position is perhaps the best for the spine & neck. It's great for your back because it won't be contorted, it is also easier to achieve spine & neck alignment if you opt for a medium height pillow. And since your head is higher than your stomach, you are less likely to experience acid reflux.
As a bonus, because your face has no pillow pressed up against it, you aren't susceptible to facial wrinkling from sleeping, awesome!
We would also suggest placing a pillow underneath your knees. This would elevate your knees which would tilt your hip forward and allow your spine to keep its natural curve and relieve lower back pressure.
The biggest mark against back sleeping, or perhaps I should say the loudest one, is the tendency towards snoring. This is caused by the base of your tongue collapsing into the airway by gravity, narrowing passage and constricting airflow, think kinked garden hose gurgling noise, sound familiar?
If you do have conditions such as sleep apnea, where you snore loudly and have long breath pauses while sleeping, you might want to consider trying side sleeping to improve your sleeping quality.
What pillow to use for back sleepers?
The best pillow to use is a medium height pillow (4") with contouring neck support for best comfort and to also prevent snoring, we recommend ourergonomic contour pillow.
1. Pick a medium height pillow that keeps your chin leveled.
2. Pick a medium stiffness mattress.
3. Place a pillow underneath your knees.
2. Side Sleepers - 66% of Population
Variations: The log, fetal position, yearner
Less likely to snore
Can Ease heartburn and acid reflux
Great for Pregnant Women on back pressure relief
Better Blood circulation.
Shoulder squishing - arm numbness
Lack of leg support can lead to hip and spine contortion and back pains.
Stress in knee + Increase Arthritic Pain (Fetal Position)
Might lead to facial wrinkles
Sagging of breast
Sleepers with apnea
Sleepers with a bad back
Any sleeper with a thicker pillow
The side sleeper is the most popular sleeping position. It has three different variations, with the fetal position as the most popular by far at 47% of the population.
The fetal position is where you lay down on your side like an infant with arms held near your chest and legs stacked towards your stomach. Women are more likely to sleep in this position, and it is also voted as the best sleeping position by American!
We also have the log position where you lay on your sides with legs straight and arms down, basically a soldier on its side. It's the least popular sleeping position at 6% of the population. Fun fact, log sleepers generally consider themselves healthier than those that sleep in other positions, weird right?
Lastly, there is the yearner position where you lay down on your side with your legs straight and both arms extended out in a yearning pose. It's the favorite position by Baby Boomers!
Side sleeping is generally beneficial in helping to alleviate insomnia, as it provides a sense of security and coziness that is unmatched by back or stomach sleeping. It's great for the spine since it's elongated while your body weight is evenly distributed to avert back and neck pains. It also frees up your airway, so you are less likely to snore, great for couples sleeping! If you sleep in the yearning or log position, you also decrease the likelihood of acid reflux while improving blood circulation due to better free flow. This is especially helpful for pregnant women, by sleeping in the fetal position on the left side, they can prevent the uterus from pressing against the liver while improving blood circulation in their body and the fetus.
Side sleeping is less fundamentally stable by nature, and it does introduce complications to your body geometry that may lead to isolated or core muscle pains. When you are resting on your sides, your body is taller; it's also wobblier because only one side of your body & limbs are grounded. Your upper arm and knee will be weighed down by gravity, collapsing your shoulder and hip, as well as pinning down the lower limbs with concentrated pressure, causing arm or leg numbness. When your shoulders and hip collapse they contort the spine and provoke your lower back muscles to tighten to compensate thus causingback pains.
You can fix the shoulder problem by choosing a thick pillow that is tall enough to allow your neck to be perpendicular to your shoulder and stacking your arms. Hip collapsing can be fixed by inserting ourside sleeper knee pillowbetween your thighs which will allow your legs to be comfortably stacked with your hip to keep your spine aligned and pain relieved.
When you sleep in the fetal position try to keep your knees at or below your stomach. Being too curled up can cause excessive stress along the spine and knee, leading to back and arthritic pain. Again, using aknee pillow to relieve the pull on thelower back further.
Lastly, to combat face wrinkling, we suggest using a soft and smooth pillowcase in conjunction with a supportive pillow with medium firmness to prevent the pulling on your face.
What pillow to use for side sleepers?
The best pillow to use is a taller pillow (4~8") with contouring neck support or raised face support to comfortably cradle your neck at a taller height that also alleviates your shoulder pressure. ouradjustable pillowis an ideal candidate for its ability to be customized to your ideal pillow height.
If you are a hybrid back/side sleeper then you would love ourergonomic contour pillowIt is specially designed to help you seamlessly transition from back to side sleeping. It's built in raised cheek support also ensures your neck is comfortably supported when side sleeping
2. Pick a tall pillow to help better align your neck with your back
3. Use a supportive pillow and smooth pillowcase to prevent wrinkles.
4. Pick a memory foam mattress with specific areas of different density to accommodate shoulder and hip pressure.
3. Stomach Sleepers 16%
Less likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea
Lower back pain
Muscle numbness, excessive pressure on joints, & irritated nerves.
If you are one of the 16% of the population that sleep on their stomach, congratulations, you are part of a special breed. Unfortunately, that uniqueness comes at a hefty price. This is by far the least recommended position.
Stomach Sleeping is useful for reducing snoring, and that's about the only benefit. Stomach sleepers are very susceptible to neck pain due to the way their heads are turned sideways. Also, by laying chest down, stomach sleepers put their spines in an unnatural position, tremendous stress is placed on the lower back to keep the spine in a curve, this is a recipe for severe lower back pain.
Normally, we would suggest stomach sleepers to switch to a different sleeping position if possible. However, if sleeping on your stomach is still a preference, then we still have a couple of pro tips for you to better your sleep. We recommend sleeping on a thin pillow to minimize the stress on your neck to your spine. Also, to maintain the natural curvature of your spine, we recommend placing a thin pillow beneath your pelvis to raise your hip. You should be able to sleep better if you implement both tips.
What pillow to use for stomach sleepers?
The best pillow to use is a thin & low profile pillow (2~4") that can provide comfortable cushioning without bowing your shoulder and stressing your neck. ouradjustable pillowis an ideal candidate for its ability to be customized to your a lower ideal pillow height.
1. Use a thin pillow, or perhaps no pillow.
2. Use a thin pillow under your pelvis to allow your spine to keep its natural curve.
Best Sleeping Position for Pregnant Women
Pregnancy is a joyous celebration, however, sleeping when you are pregnant is not.
So what is the ideal sleeping position if you are pregnant? The correct answer is to sleep on your side, specifically your left side. This will relieve pressure on your liver while improving your blood circulation. We suggest placing aknee pillow between your legs to relieve hip pressureand further improve blood flow and comfort.
This concludes our in-depth look at each sleeping position and our tips on what you can do to improve your sleeping quality.
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