How does your sleeping position affect your nights?

There is a clear importance with how an individual’s sleep can affect their health positively, and negatively if they aren’t receiving the correct number of sleeping hours recommended. It is also critical to take into consideration the sleeping position you’re in every night, and a deeper meaning into the ways it can affect how you sleep and other factors. 

We all have our go-to sleeping positions that we happily settle into. Unfortunately, the position that you’re consistently sleeping in and find most comfortable could have future health problems arise, such as sleep apnoea, body aches and more.

Let’s take a dive into the pros and cons, along with potential characteristics of each preferred sleeping position: 

1.     Side sleeping


·      Lowers acid reflux

·      Reduces back and neck pain due to your spine being stretched out

·      Keeps your airways opened and wards off snoring symptoms, making it the best position for people with sleep apnoea


·      Possibly leading to wrinkles due to half your face pushing against the pillow

·      Disrupting circulation in your arm depending on which side

·      Could lead to a less restful sleep as it can cause people to constantly shift their body throughout the night

It should be noted that left-side sleeping is a more preferred option as opposed to your right side. This is so your body will be able to support appropriate digestion, along with this it also helps with circulation to your heart and allows the heart to pump downhill easier. It’s recommended to start sleeping on your left side and then continuously rotate from side to side throughout the night so that your shoulders and arms don’t have too much pressure pushing down on the joints.

2.     Sleeping on your back – the most recommended sleeping position


·      The best position if you’re experiencing physical stiffness and aches. This is especially good for people with arthritis as well

·      Aids in reducing night time symptoms of Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)

·      You won’t have to worries about signs of aging or potential wrinkles on your face

·      Can reduce neck pain and help with spine alignment


·      If you have sleep apnea or tend to snore a lot, then sleeping on your back would not be ideal

·      Can slightly collapse your airways (although rare)

3.     Sleeping on your stomach – the least preferred sleeping position


·      Helps reduce sleep apnea and snoring as airways are able to be opened


·      Can cause a lot of discomfort and soreness on your neck and back, due to not having an aligned spine and neck

·      As sleeping on your side is a potential cause for wrinkles, sleeping on your stomach pushes your face into the pillow even more, resulting in signs of aging

4.     Fetal position – the most popular sleeping position – having your legs curled up underneath your torso


·      A great position if you’re pregnant

·      Good for snorers as it reduces sleep apnoea 


·      If curled up too much, it can reduce breathing in your diaphragm

·      Not an ideal position for an individual with arthritis as it can leave your joints sore in the morning

At the end of the day, it all depends on what your preferences are and the amount of comfort you get from the position you choose to sleep in. However, for specific circumstances, such as having body soreness, it would be ideal to switch up your sleeping position to accommodate the way your body needs to recover. You shouldn’t worry too much about your sleeping position, as long as you’re obtaining the highest quality of sleep!

If for any reason you are experiencing lengthy periods of sleeplessness and you cannot resolve the issue, consult your pharmacist about alternative options.

Adam Shakespeare