The Best And Worst Sleeping Positions For Your Health

Photo By: Billfromesm (Flickr)

We have all woken up with a dreaded sore neck, achy back or pulsing headache from a night of sleep discomfort. If you are finding yourself regularly waking to pain, it is time to try new sleeping tips. Some of the worst neck pain I have ever experienced was over a year ago when I slept with my head too high. My pillow had recently lost most of its fluff and felt like I was sleeping on a bag of sand. A new pillow was quickly added to my shopping list. That night as the store, I found myself staring at a long row of pillows in different degrees of firmness and prices. I was a little tight that month on money and bought the fluffiest five dollar pillow on the shelf. Huge mistake! The next month my head was so much higher than my back that every single morning I woke with every kind of pain possible. It didn’t matter what sleeping position I tried, my head was too high! The pillow was tossed, and a new firm one replaced it. Now with a comfortable pillow, I could focus on my sleeping positions and wake up pain-free. Here are six sleeping positions listed from worst to best to help you know which ones to avoid.

1. Head Propped too High

One of the worst ways you can sleep is with your head propped significantly higher than your body. Pressure from your curved neck will lead to headaches and sore neck pain no matter what position the rest of your body is in. Spend a little extra money on a quality pillow that will help position your neck comfortably in line with your body.

2. Sitting

It may sound like a strange position to fall asleep in, but think about road trips or long movies you drift asleep to. Try avoiding falling asleep when you are sitting to eliminate extreme neck pain. I can’t tell you how many times I fell asleep while in the car with my head completely kinked to one side. If you must sleep, grab a pillow and add support to you neck.

3. Stomach Sleeping

I am guilty of being a stomach sleeper. The worst thing about sleeping on your stomach is your neck has to be at a 90 degree angle, unless you plan on smothering your face in your pillow. If you are a stomach sleeper and have trouble sleeping it is more than a good idea to change positions.

4. Fetal Position

This is when you sleep on your side with your entire body curled up in a ball. The constant curvature of your spine causes back pain. Sleeping on your side can lead to hanging skin and wrinkles. For the ladies, gravity can stretch the ligaments in your breasts and cause them to hang lower over time.

5. Side Position

If the fetal position brings a sense of comfort to you, try keeping your legs stretched out. The side position prevents most back and neck pain and helps with snoring. Gravity will still pull and stretch at your skin and cause wrinkles, but the side is one of the best sleeping positions. Sleeping on the side is recommended for pregnant women as it keeps the blood flowing easily to the baby and mom.

6. Back is Best

You might have heard placing infants on their backs is the best and safest position for babies to sleep. The same applies to adults. The back keeps everything aligned so you won’t wake up to a sore neck or achy spine. Gravity pulls skin toward the body and keeps wrinkles at bay. The only downside to back-sleeping is snoring, but with the right pillow you can cut back on the snores too.

When people complain to me about having trouble sleeping, I can almost always identify what is causing their restless nights by asking about the way they sleep. It usually is the combination of a bad pillow and stomach sleeping. Choosing to sleep on your back is one of the first and best sleeping tips you can try before doing anything extreme. It is time to switch things up and start getting the pain-free sleep you deserve.

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Jennifer McBride
Jennifer McBride loves to write, and enjoy the outdoors in Colorado. Jennifer loves to write, hike, and generally be a weekend warrior. You can find out more about Jennifer McBride on her Google+ page.