We all have a favourite, but which one is the best for your sleep health?
Unlike sleep patterns themselves, our sleep positions are usually pretty consistent. Even if you go to bed at different times every night, chances are you still go through the same rotation of positions while getting your forty winks.
Unfortunately, our favourite sleep position isn’t always the best, and the pose that you find most comfortable could be causing health problems such as aches, pains and sleep apnoea.
We’re going to take a closer look at some of the most popular sleep positions out there and see which of them can benefit — and which can harm — your health.
The position: Curled up on one side with your knees tucked into your chest.
Good or bad? Generally speaking, the foetal position is a good option as it allows your spine to rest in a relatively safe alignment. This is good, because with four out of 10 people naming this as their preferred sleep pose, the foetal position is the most popular sleeping position. This is also a good option for pregnant women, as it can improve circulation to your growing baby.
To improve: Stretching out a bit allows your body to relax even further. If you’re lying in too tight a ball it might restrict your lungs and diaphragm, while also placing unnecessary pressure on your back.
The position: Lying on your stomach with your arms tucked under pillow.
Good or bad? This position may feel cosy, but it’s not for everyone. For many people front sleeping is absolutely fine, however, it can be considered a source of both low back pain and neck pain in some people. You’re also more likely to toss and turn as your try to get comfortable.
To improve: If you have to opt for this position, make sure you use a softer pillow to take some of the pressure off your neck.
The position: On your side with both arms down and close to your body.
Good or bad? 15% of people consider this to be their favourite position, which is good as it is generally a healthy option. Resting on your side with your back straight helps to cut down the likelihood of conditions like sleep apnoea, as well as reducing neck pain by keeping your back and neck aligned.
To improve: Place a pillow between your knees as well as under your head to keep your hips in a good position.
The position: Lying on your back with your legs spread apart and your arms bent up on either side of your head.
Good or bad? This position is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, sleeping in a starfish position can help to reduce your chances of acid reflux. However, it can also make you more likely to snore, and even aggravate sleep apnoea in sufferers.
To improve: With the support of a good mattress, this position might feel absolutely fine but in some instances, sleepers may need to place a pillow under the knees to take strain off the spine.
The position: Flat on your back with your arms by your side.
Good or bad? Sleeping on your back when resting on a supportive and pressure relieving mattress is perfectly healthy for many people. However, for those prone to snoring or even sleep apnoea, back sleeping can exacerbate the issue. On the plus side, if you tend to suffer from acid reflux this could be the position for you as it tends to be good for the digestive system.
To improve: If your current mattress offers you no support, consider placing a pillow or rolled-up towel under your knees helps to support the natural curve of your spine, reducing your chances of back pain. Sleeping on your side can help to alleviate snoring or sleep apnoea.