Steven Park, MD works as a clinical assistant professor of otolaryngology at New York Medical College in Valhalla, New York. Author of several books, he says that sleeping postures do affect our sleep quality and health too, and many other professors and medical professionals agree with him. Park says that headache, back pain, heartburn and sleep apnea are a few of the most common issues caused by wrong sleeping posture.
So if you are unable to sleep well at night, or waking up tired or with pain, then it could be because of your wrong sleeping posture.
Finding the Correct Sleep Position
What is the best sleeping position? It is definitely not on your back, particularly if you are a snorer or if you have sleep apnea. Steven Park says that we tend to gravitate to a position that we are most comfortable in and one that is the healthiest for us, but having said this, we can still end up sleeping for a long duration in a wrong posture.
More and more research indicates that side sleeping is indeed the best position, as it helps us keep the airways open. In fact, researchers have even discovered that when we sleep on our left side, we can get relief from the symptoms of heartburn. However, right side sleeping will make it worse. There can be stomach discomfort too, and these issues might wake you up, or your sleep might be less deep, both of which is bad.
Those who are pregnant are also told to sleep on their left, because this improves blood circulation to the heart, and is thus good for both the baby and the mother. Further, by sleeping on the left, you will also be putting less pressure on your liver. So that is one more advantage.
Some people are however of the opinion that left side sleeping can put additional stress on the heart. But there is no data to support this claim. So, you can go ahead and sleep on your left side.
- The face down position will put additional strain on the neck.
- There can be acid reflux and snoring if you sleep on the back with your arms upwards.
- The foetal position will restrict your deep breathing. This can strain the neck too.
An Interesting Statistics
According to statistics, 63% of people in the United States are sleeping on their sides, whether on the left or right. However, there is no clear data on which side is more popular. 16% prefer to sleep on their tummy, while 14% sleep on their backs. While such a survey has not been carried out in every country in the world, but the experts are saying that should it be done, the results would be much the same.
Experiment with different positions if you so desire, but most experts feel that you should nurture the habit of sleeping on your left side. The mattress matters too. A worn-out, old mattress is likely to be sagged at the middle, making it more difficult for you to sleep on your side.