The Why Behind Sleep Positions


Everyone has a preference for how they sleep. Some people prefer sleeping on their stomach, while others prefer to sleep on their back. And still, others find side sleeping the most comfortable position. There isn’t necessarily a right answer unless you’re experiencing negative effects. There are pros and cons to each sleep position, and what you might not know is that even your personality is involved with how you sleep. Let’s take a closer look.

The most preferred sleep position is side sleeping. According to WebMD - almost 63% of Americans are side-sleepers! One huge benefit of sleeping on your side is that it can help with digestion, such as assisting with blood flow and decreasing heartburn. If you suffer from back pain, the best sleep position for you is side sleeping, preferably with a pillow between your legs/knees. It can also help those who suffer from sleep apnea and are prone to snoring.

Pregnancy is a great time to try side sleeping, specifically on your left side which can improve blood flow to the placenta. It isn’t clear yet, but those with heart problems might benefit from sleeping on their right side. This has been shown to decrease the workload on the heart during sleep. Some sources say that side sleeping can result in more wrinkles, so having a breathable pillow is a must.

Sleeping on your stomach is said to be the most detrimental to your health. It can worsen jaw and neck pain, as well as cause back and spine alignment issues. But don’t try to argue these points with a stomach sleeper! Researchers say these individuals are defensive and tend to be perfectionists.

If the data is correct, this is the worst position for the prevention of wrinkles. Apparently, burying your face in a pillow all night isn’t good for facial skin health.

The least popular sleep position is back sleeping. Funny enough, this is also the most recommended way to sleep. While it may not be helpful for those with sleep apnea or a tendency to snore, it can be very beneficial for proper alignment of the body. Weight distribution is even and balanced when we are on our backs. Pressure is taken off the jaw and face, making this the best position choice for those with jaw pain and those seeking wrinkle prevention.

The Sleep Doctor explains how personality is linked to sleep positions. Back sleepers are thought to have more self-confidence and high expectations. Stomach sleepers, as mentioned above, tend to be more critical as well as more sensitive to criticism. They might feel overwhelmed and sense a lack of control in their lives. Side sleepers are more open-minded and relaxed, with an increased ability to compromise.

To determine the “correct” way for you to sleep, just do what feels most comfortable! The most important thing is to sleep in a way that allows you to get as much restful sleep as possible. We all tend to gradually shift our sleep patterns and habits over time anyway, so listen to your body. And check with your doctor if you’re still aching or struggling to get enough sleep.

Additional Resources: 

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/sleep-position-and-sleep-quality#2 

https://thesleepdoctor.com/2018/10/09/how-your-sleep-position-affects-your-health-your-dreams-and-your-personality/