The Best and Worst Sleep Positions from The Best and Worst Sleep Positions

The Best and Worst Sleep Positions

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The Best and Worst Sleep Positions

Poor sleep quality is undoubtedly a big problem across the country. Many people need to change their pre-bedtime habits. But what about what happens after you have settled comfortably under the covers? The reason why you still feel exhausted when you wake up or are in pain may have nothing to do with what you did prior to going to bed.

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Best: On your back

Experts concur: The absolute best position for sleeping is on your back. “By far the healthiest option for most people, sleeping on your back allows your head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position. This means that there’s no extra pressure on those areas, so you’re less likely to experience pain,” according to the National Sleep Foundation. However, sleeping on your back is the absolute WORST position for anyone with sleep apnea. 

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OK: Fetal

Some sleep experts like it, others don’t recommend it. Whichever way you look at it, the fetal position is by far the most popular - around 40 percent of people prefer it. It’s recommended for pregnant women. Don’t curl up too much, though. Keep your knees and chin away from your chest to avoid back and joints pain. Recent research suggests that, according to WebMD, your brain does a better job of clearing waste that can lead to these neurological diseases when you're sleeping on your side.

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OK: Yearner

This is when you sleep on your side with both arms out in front. It is a good position for the back disks, muscle and ligaments. Side sleeping helps with snoring and sleep apnea related problems as well as not putting too much pressure on the skin that could cause premature wrinkling, according to the Sleep Academy.   

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Maybe: Log

This is when you sleep on your side but with both arms down. It is among the least popular major sleeping positions, as just 6 percent of the population sleeps this way, according to the Sleep Better Council. Resting on your side, with your back mostly straight, can help cut down on sleep apnea, WebMD says. The position may also help with back pain because your spine is aligned.

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Avoid sometimes: Starfish

You are sleeping on your back, but your legs are spread apart and your arms are bent up. You're on your back for this one, too, but your legs are spread apart and your arms are bent up on either side of your head. The position may not be a good idea if you tend to snore, but it can help with acid reflux because you’re on your back.

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Good: On your left side

This is how pregnant women should sleep because it improves circulation in your body and in the fetus, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleeping on your left side also prevents the uterus from pressing against your liver, which is on your right side. This pose reduces heartburn symptoms and is also good for snorers. Just don’t curl up too tightly because you can restrict breathing in your diaphragm this way.

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Maybe not: On right side

Sleeping on your right is not recommended for people who have bad heartburn. Use a pillow that is thick enough to support your head. It should not be tilted down. Place a small pillow under your waist as well so it doesn’t curve down. Put a pillow between your legs for maximum comfort. Have you noticed that this is what massage therapists do when you go for a massage?

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Not good: Freefall

This is when people are lying on their stomach with their arms tucked under your pillow or on either side of the head. About 17 percent of the population sleeps that way, according to the Sleep Better Council. The position is not recommended because it puts a lot of pressure on your neck. You’ll also probably be more restless as you’re trying to get more comfortable.

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Bad in certain cases: Soldier

Those who lie on their backs with their arms down and close to the body when they sleep are more likely than those who sleep in the Fetal, Freefall or Yearner positions to only change positions once or not at all, according to the Sleep Council. However, the position can disrupt lead to snoring and to problems with the carotid artery, which supplies blood to your brain, face, and neck, according to WebMD.

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Not good: With pillow under shoulders

Adding support under your lower back, knees and stomach can help your body adjust to a more comfortable or healthier sleeping position, according to the Sleep Advisor. Many people sleep with a pillow below their shoulders, but you want it to be below your head and neck.

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Absolute worst: On your stomach

Just like all experts agree that sleeping on your back is generally the best position, they all agree that sleeping on your stomach is the worst. If you think about it, sleeping on your stomach doesn’t support the natural curve of your spine, and it is overarching. So, your spine has no support, the neck is stretching too much, and your breathing may be limited depending on how your head is positioned. Sleeping on your back may also lead to neck and back pain. Just do your body a favor and roll over.

The Best and Worst Sleep Positions