The Best & Worst Sleeping Positions for Your Health
Is your sleep style at night leading to health problems in the morning? Keep reading for the optimal positions for your health—plus the ones to avoid.
BEST: On your back
Sleeping on your back ensures proper circulation to the brain, maintains your back and neck in a neutral position, and fights acid reflux—all great reasons to back-sleep. Looking for beauty rest? It helps with that too, preventing wrinkles (because nothing is pushing against your face all night) and keeping breasts perky (since they’re fully supported throughout the night).
That said, it’s not the ideal position for snorers, making the base of your tongue collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound—try sleeping on your side to combat that.
GOOD: On your side
Side sleepers, you’re doing it right… as long as you’re on your left side. In addition to side-sleeping reducing snoring, sleeping on one’s left side also eases heartburn and acid reflux, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.
It’s a great option during pregnancy too, when back sleeping puts too much pressure on the spine. Sleeping on one’s left side during pregnancy improves circulation to the heart—doctors even recommend it since it’s so good for both Mom and baby.
What it’s not good for? Facial wrinkles and breast sagging—blame your pillow and gravity.
BAD: In the fetal position
It may feel comfy, but sleeping with your body curved in the fetal position restricts breathing and compresses vital organs. And, like side sleeping, it may bring on facial wrinkles and breast sagging.
Curling your back and tucking in your chin night after night also does a number of your neck and spine over time.
WORST: On your stomach
Spending eights hours a night sleeping stomach-down? You might be feeling it in the morning—the position flattens the natural curve of the spine. And since you don’t also sleep face-down in this position, your head and neck spend all night turned to one side. Just imagine how uncomfortable that would be for just a few minutes if you were awake…let alone up to eight or nine hours a day!
The stomach-sleeping position also puts stress and joints and muscles, leading to nerve irritation and pain, tingling, and numbness.