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Did you know that the average human spends 26 years of their life sleeping? Whether you’re getting six hours, nine hours, or more each night—sleep is undeniably a huge part of our lives.
If you find that you’re struggling to snooze, having issues staying asleep, or constantly suffering from body pains, it may be time to switch up your sleep position. A healthy sleeping posture can help to alleviate common health issues, such as back and neck pain, poor posture, digestion, anxiety, and heart health.
If the thought of changing to a new sleep position seems overwhelming, don’t worry—you can try our tips to modify your favourite position. Trying a new sleep position comes with many benefits, so let’s explore which positions are the best for your health.
Back Pain & Neck Pain
If you often wake up with back or neck pain, your sleeping position might just be the cause. The best sleeping position for back pain and neck pain involves a neutral, straight spine. Sleeping on your back helps to evenly distribute your weight and prevent any unnecessary twists or curves in your spine. Ensure your pillow is gently lifting your head and neck, keeping them neutral on your mattress to create a straight line from your head down through your spine.
Another alternative is to sleep on your side, with your legs fully stretched out. Place a pillow between your legs to assist in aligning your spine, hips and pelvis.
If you’re looking to improve your sleep posture, we’ve got the solution. The experts agree that the best sleeping position for spinal health is simply lying flat on your back. Try placing a small pillow underneath your knees to provide support to your spine.
Sleeping on your side with your knees bent and a pillow placed between them is another healthy option. Regardless of the position you choose, make sure to align your ears, shoulders, and hips on a flat surface.
Fun fact: Choosing the correct, healthy side to sleep on can also affect your digestive health. By sleeping on your left side, you’ll help gravity pull waste from the small intestine to the large intestine. This allows waste to travel more freely and reduces digestive difficulties.
If you couldn’t tell by now, sleeping on your back provides the most health benefits. Your spine is naturally aligned in this position, your muscles are more relaxed (meaning less inflammation and pain), and your digestive system is in alignment and ready to move food through the intestines.
As hard as it may be, try and avoid the fetal position when battling night-time anxiety. If you must sleep on your side, use a pillow to hug. This will give you something that helps keep alignment, while helping with aches, pains, and posture.
Lying on your back with your limbs splayed out, otherwise known as the ‘shooting star’ position can also relieve anxiety. By outstretching your arms and legs, you’re opening your body and increasing blood flow, allowing for a sound sleep. A foam mattress is great for those with anxiety, as foam layers are designed for cooling, body-contouring and pressure-relieving support.
Sleep apnoea is a condition that makes breathing difficult during sleep and is associated with a risk of cardiovascular problems—like high blood pressure, strokes, and heart failure. The best sleeping position for heart health is on your side, either left or right, to help decrease sleep apnoea.
If you have an implanted defibrillator, sleep on the opposite side for more comfort. Sleeping on the left side is a healthy side to sleep on regardless, as it eases pressure from the IVC (the body’s largest vein), which is on the right side of the body. For additional cardiovascular benefits, avoid alcohol and caffeine, and elevate the head and feet while sleeping.
By choosing or modifying a healthy sleeping posture, you can tackle a number of health issues and improve your quality of sleep. The first step: picking a high-quality mattress that’s right for you! Check out our Mattress Buying Guide to choose a mattress that fits your lifestyle and provides ultimate comfort.