It makes sense that your sleep position can have an impact on your overall health, right? We’ve all woken up from time to time with a crick in our necks or a weird leg cramp, and it is no fun at all. Spending eight hours on your side or on your back puts pressure on nerves and muscles, and we can feel the effects of a wonky sleep position the next day.
If you deal with chronic pain or conditions like acid reflux, your sleep position can have an even more powerful impact on your comfort. Finding the best sleep position can make the difference between restorative rest and a night of tossing and turning.
So, what’s the best sleep position? It depends.
To alleviate back and shoulder pain, you can combine a beneficial sleep position with some strategic pillow placement to give your body extra support while you snooze. Pillows can help you sleep through bouts of acid reflux, too. And if foot pain is keeping you awake, just tucking your sheets more loosely can make a difference.
The graphic below looks at a handful of aches, pains, and conditions that can keep us from getting a good night’s sleep along with tricks to overcome them. You can click the image to view a full-sized version, if you’re having trouble reading the small text. You can also scroll down for a summary of this infographic’s helpful sleeping tips.
Graphic via Best Infographics
Keep the neck in a neutral position. Avoid sleeping on the stomach. Too many pillows can put your neck in a bent position. Keep your pillow above your shoulders. Some experts suggest using a rolled up hand towel to support the neck.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Sleep on your side or stomach to avoid impaired breathing. One way to keep from rolling onto your back is to sew a tennis ball into the back of your pajama top.
Use pillows to elevate your head or use bricks to elevate the front legs of the bed. Otherwise, sleep on your side.
Don’t sleep on the shoulder that causes you pain. Or, if you do, place a pillow next to you and place your arm over it — almost as if you’re hugging another person.
The best sleep position for back pain is generally on your back with a pillow under your knees or a rolled up towel under the small of your back.
On your side, put a pillow between your knees for extra support. This is also good for people with hip and knee problems. A fetal-like position can help with lumbar spinal stenosis.
Sleeping on your stomach can be hard on your back and neck. But if you must, put a pillow under your back and lower abdomen to relieve strain.
Plantar Faciitis is an inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of the foot caused by running or poor arch support. Keep your ankles and feet in a relaxed position. Avoid tucking in the sheets too tightly.