While we’ve discussed how your sleep position can give insight into your personality, today we’ll delve into the best sleep postures that connect with specific attributes that may be desirable for you. In Part 1 of our sleep posture series, we illustrated–through using the example of pregnancy–that it’s quite possible for us to modify our habits and our sleep behavior.
But remember, it’s always best to trust your body and listen to your intuition. Though any change may take some time to adjust to, if you modify your sleep position and the quality of your sleep becomes significantly lessened after two to three nights in the new position, it’s likely not worth it to stay the course. To help you reap the biggest benefits as they relates to your sleep position, here is a list of the best positions for sleeping based on your specific needs:
Best posture for circulation: To improve your circulation, it’s best to sleep on your left side. As your heart pumps, circulating blood throughout your body, it travels from the left side and returns to your heart on the right side. Therefore, sleeping on your left side could help the flow of blood to your heart. Experts claim that right-side sleepers increase the pressure of your body weight against the blood vessels that are responsible for returning blood back to the heart.
Best posture for back: If you suffer from back pain, sleep in any position other than on your stomach. Because of the unnatural position of your neck, stomach sleeping will aggravate spinal issues.
Best posture for anti-aging: Could your laugh lines be caused by the way you sleep? Studies show face-smashing sleep postures could be the culprit! A July 2016 study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal has found that “compression, tension, and shear forces applied to the face during sleep cause facial distortion when people sleep on their sides and stomach, leading to the development of sleep wrinkles over time.” Looking for a free ticket to the fountain of youth? Simply sleep on your back to maximize your anti-aging efforts!
Best posture for snoring: According to the New York Times, sleeping on your back can make the base of the tongue collapse into the back of the throat, narrowing the airway and obstructing breathing. But, before you begin to celebrate and start sleeping on your side….not all sleepers will benefit from simply adopting a new position. Only about 50% of snorers are “positional snorers” though thinner people more often benefited from a change in sleep position.
Best posture for brain health: One animal study found that sleeping on your side has the potential to lower your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological diseases. During the study, mice that slept on their sides benefited from the more efficient operation of their glymphatic systems as compared to those that slept on their backs or stomachs.
Best posture for acid-reflux: A study in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that the “total amount of reflux time was significantly greater with subjects in the right decubitus position than in the left” and that “total episodes of reflux were greater when lying on the right side, compared with the left” and that “average overall acid clearance was significantly prolonged with right side down compared with left side down.” Non-medical translation: If you’re suffering from acid reflux or heartburn, try sleeping on your left side for some serious relief.
Best posture for pregnancy: Studies show that it’s best for pregnant women to sleep on their left side. Because the baby is pushing their organs upward in an area with limited space, left side sleeping gives the heart a break. According to researchers, the heart is already working harder to support the baby during pregnancy, so “snoozing on the right side, combined with the extra pressure from the organs, could hinder the flow of blood to mom’s heart—and to the little one.”
So what’s the verdict? Are any of these potential benefits attractive enough to inspire you to change your sleep posture?