It’s all about your sleeping position…
What does the position you sleep in say about you? What are the positives and negatives of each position and how can you improve your sleep and posture? Read on for some hints and tips!
Sleeping on your side is actually encouraged for those suffering from back or hip pain or for pregnant women, since pain won’t intensify in this position.
The downside? It can contribute to skin ageing due to gravity, resulting in facial wrinkles and sagging breasts. This position may also cause shoulder pain and pain in the waist area so, in these cases, it’s best to avoid this position.
By making simple changes to your sleeping position, you can take the strain off your back. If you do sleep on your side, draw your legs up slightly toward your chest and put a pillow between your legs. Use a full-length body pillow if you prefer.
Other side positions
The foetal position: A study of sleep positions showed that 41% of people sleep in this curled-up position, with women being twice as likely to adopt it. People who sleep in this way are said to have a tough exterior while still being sensitive, may appear shy but warm up quickly.
Log position: If you sleep on your side with both arms down, you are a social, easy-going person who’s trusting to the point of being gullible. A study showed 15% of people sleep like a log.
Yearner position: A side-lying position with both arms stretched out in front of the body, 13% of participants in the study sleep like this. Yearners are noted to be open-minded and cynical, suspicious and stubborn.
Sleeping on your back
If you prefer to sleep on your back, remember it can induce lower back pain and even episodes of apnoea which interfere with normal sleep. However, if you prefer to sleep in this position, make a few minor alterations to help you sleep more soundly. Try placing a soft pillow or rolled-up towel under your knees to facilitate the natural curve of the spine.
Sleeping on your back with your arms at your sides is generally considered as the best sleeping position for spine health and is good for your neck. That said, those who sleep on their backs tend to snore more so you might not be so popular with your partner!
The so-called ‘starfish’ position is also good for the back. Whether you have your arms up around your pillow or not, sleeping on your back may also help prevent facial wrinkles and skin breakouts. However, it can also result in snoring and problems with acid reflux. Plus, having your arms up can put pressure on nerves in your shoulders and cause pain.
If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back and a small, rolled towel under the small of your back for additional support. Support your neck with a pillow.
Different back positions
Soldier position: These sleepers lie on their backs with their arms down and close to the body. They are said to be reserved and quiet. Soldier sleepers are more likely to snore because of this flat-back position, resulting in a less restful night’s sleep.
Starfish position: Sleepers who lie on their backs with their arms up near their heads or pillows account for 5% of study participants. These people are good listeners, helpful and often uncomfortable as the centre of attention.
People who sleep in the starfish position are more likely to snore and suffer from regular poor nights’ sleep.
Sleep on your stomach
If you like sleeping on your stomach, here’s the bad news… sleep professionals don’t recommend it because it puts strain on your lower back and causes possible neck pain. People who sleep on their stomachs report increased restlessness caused by frequent tossing and turning in an effort to get comfortable. If you do sleep on your stomach, use a soft pillow or none at all so your neck isn’t at an awkward angle.
If you can’t sleep in any other position, reduce the strain on your back by placing a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen and under your head if it doesn’t strain your back too much. If it does, remove the pillow.
Freefall position: People who lie on their bellies with their arms tucked under or wrapped around a pillow with their head to the side are brash, outgoing and uncomfortable with criticism.
No matter what position is most comfortable for you, the position of your head can make a big difference to your sleep quality. If your neck is stretched or crunched too far, your breathing can be affected or result in neck pain so make sure your neck is supported in a straight, forward-looking position.