When you curl up under the covers at night, you probably settle into your favourite position without thinking much about it. But, could one sleeping position be better than another?
For young, healthy people, sleeping positions are less important. But, as you get older and can have more medical issues, this can have a positive or negative impact on your health and wellbeing.
Poor sleeping posture could also cause back and neck pain, fatigue, sleep apnea, muscle cramping, impaired blood circulation, headaches, heartburn, tummy troubles and even premature wrinkles!
So, here are 4 popular sleeping positions and how they can affect your health
Sleeping on your back
Although only 8% of people sleep on their backs, this is the healthiest sleeping position.
Sleeping on your back allows your head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position. This means that there’s no extra pressure on those sensitive areas and therefore you are less likely to experience pain.
Sleeping in this position is also ideal for warding off acid reflux.
Just be sure to use a pillow that elevates and supports your head enough as you want your stomach to be below your esophagus (which is a muscular tube that connects the throat with the stomach) to prevent food or acid from coming up your digestive tract.
However, sleeping on your back can also cause the tongue to block the breathing tube, making it a dangerous position for those who suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that causes periods of breathlessness. Also beware, that this position can make snoring more severe.
Sleeping on your side
When sleeping on your side, your torso and legs are relatively straight and your spine is elongated. This can prevent or minimise back and neck pain. 15% of adults choose to sleep on their side and it also helps decrease acid reflux. Although you're less likely to snore in this position, (because it keeps airways open) the downside is that it can lead to wrinkles, because half of your face pushes against a pillow.