BistroMD Health Library

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Health Tips

From tips on how to lose weight effectively to ways to combat boredom eating, this collection of informative articles covers a wide range of health topics that matter to real people, like you.

The Best (And Worst) Sleeping Positions

Though experts commonly agree sleep is imperative for improved physical and mental health, is there a wrong or right way to catch those Zzz's? Are there best and worst sleep positions? bistroMD is analyzing and ranking the best and worst sleep positions!

The Best (And Worst) Sleeping Positions


Though experts commonly agree sleep is imperative for improved physical and mental health, is there a wrong or right way to catch those Zzz's? Are there best and worst sleep positions? bistroMD is analyzing and ranking the best and worst sleep positions!

The Worst Sleep Position: On the Stomach

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed may be attributed to sleeping on your stomach. For one, the neck turns to allow oxygen retrieval. Additionally, the head and neck must raise to reach the height of the pillow. Turning and extending the neck in unnatural ways can ultimately lead to neck pain, even after one night's rest. Sleeping on your stomach can create lower back pain due to the over curvature and bending of the back and may be detrimental to a strong spine alignment later down the road. But ending on a positive note, sleeping on the stomach may be beneficial to digestion.

Less Ideal: Fetal Position

Similar to a baby, sleeping in the fetal position is not ideal unless a big snorer. Beyond the snoring justification, this position can be damaging to both the neck and spine over time. A strong, abnormal curvature can put much strain on the spine, while the neck curls and extends in an unusual way to obtain comfort from a pillow. If this position is a must, try to straighten at least a little bit to minimize curling of the spine and neck to prevent alignment complications and consequences.

More Ideal: Side Sleeping

Side sleeping is a better way to achieve a good night's sleep while reducing neck and back pain, acid reflux, and snoring. Sleeping on the right side, though, may not be the "right" side to choose for pregnant women. You may be wondering "What's the difference?" and the finger points mostly to blood circulation. Sleeping on the right side can improve blood flow and lessen pressure from organs, benefitting both mom and baby. But for any side sleepers, placing a pillow between the knees can evenly distribute weight and promote a stronger hip alignment. Additionally, alternating between sides throughout the night can prevent the tingling sensations when "falling asleep" on your arms.

The Best Sleep Position: Back or Supine Position

For all you back sleepers, you are practicing the best way to sleep! Sleeping on your back, or in a supine position, fosters a healthy orthopedic alignment. With the head facing straight and weight evenly distributed on the spine, neck and back pain can be prevented when pressure is minimized. Those suffering with acid reflux can also benefit from back sleeping. Since the stomach is located below the esophagus, food is less likely to come back up from the digestive tract. A supine position is further ideal for individuals with sleep apnea, as extending the body helps open up the airways. Wrinkles may be lessened, too, as the face is not suppressed and forced up against a pillow!

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