Many changings impact your sleep all through the night. Type of mattress and pillows you have, your room temperature, layers of blankets and soothing background noise are just a few factors that go into a good night’s sleep. If you are sleeping in the wrong way, it can easily cause or provoke neck or back pain.
It may also restrict the airways to your lungs, which can lead to issues like obstructive sleep apnea. According to some research, we found that the wrong sleeping position may cause toxins to filter out of your brain more slowly. You should keep reading to learn how the way you sleep could be affecting your health in several ways.
When you think about sleep positions, there are stomach sleepers, back sleepers, side sleepers and a hundred different types in between. While some sleep postures are healthier for your body and more convenient than others, it is necessary to spend time analyzing what sleep position is best for you. The only question left, how can you change your sleep position? Let’s answer it quickly.
Table of contents
- Sleeping positions and their effect on your body
- What’s wrong with the stomach sleeping position?
- How to stop yourself from sleeping on your stomach?
- How to sleep on your side?
- How to switch from side sleeping to back sleeping?
- Some other sleep positions
Sleeping positions and their effect on your body
Maximum sleep-related pain, either the pain is in your neck, back, shoulders, head or legs, can be traced back to your spine’s position. The solution is to keep your spine aligned in a comfy position throughout the night.
If you tend to sleep on your stomach, it places a strain on both your back and spine since a majority of your weight is located in the middle of your body, and it can cause specific neck pain if you’re turning your head one way or another in order to breathe. Those of you who are suffering from heavy snoring should try to stay away from sleeping on your back and focus instead on lying on your left or right side.
Another common reason for neck and shoulder pain is a worn-out, old mattress. You should never underestimate its impact on your body. If you just realized that your old companion is around 10 years, you might want to check out our best mattresses for neck pain.
Back-sleeping has its pros and cons, too. According to sleep experts, they refer this as the supine position. And the bad news is, some people who sleep on their backs may experience low back pain, also it can make existing back pain worse, so this is not the proper sleep position for lower back pain. If you are suffering from snoring or sleep apnea, sleeping on your back may provoke these conditions as well.
This position is the most popular one by far. It is also known as a lateral sleeping position according to sleep scientists. This might be better for those who snore while sleeping. If you have some type of arthritis, a side sleeping position will make you feel sore eventually. Curling up may also stop you from breathing deeply because by doing that you are causing a restriction of your diaphragm.
Sleeping on your stomach
Almost 7% of people sleep on their stomachs. This position is sometimes called the prone position. It might help you to ease with your snoring issue by shifting fleshy obstructions from your airway. But sleeping in this position may affect other medical conditions highly. It’s best for you to pick another sleep position if you are a stomach sleeper. Before talking about how to stop yourself from sleeping on your stomach, let’s talk about some disadvantages of this specific position.
What’s wrong with sleeping on your stomach?
Your back might suffer
The superior part of your lower back is overstated when you lay on your stomach, and your vertebrae get forced into an unnatural and potentially painful position. Though when you are sleeping you might not feel any of it, but in the morning, you will likely see yourself filled with aches and pains that could have otherwise been avoided.
Neck problems can get permanent
When you are sleeping on your stomach to breathe properly, you must force your neck into a strange shape, this change can lead to straining of the muscles and bones which will be the beginning of your neck soreness.
You will age faster
If you are noticing some deep wrinkles and puffiness on your face in the morning, it’s likely from the way you are sleeping. If you want an immediate cure, gently massage your face with an ice-cube, but try to learn fast how to stop sleeping on your stomach and make it your primary priority.
How to stop yourself from stomach sleeping?
On both sides of your body fluff a few pillows, right at the ribs. This should be enough to prevent you from rolling over onto your stomach, as well as keep you more convenient.
Try sleeping on your sofa for a few days
Even after having severe pain because of your stomach sleep position, if you are still not being able to stop yourself, try the sofa. As it already has enough cushioning and support, you should be forced to stay on your side, as the surface area is not much, which will leave you feeling better the next morning.
If nothing else works, according to some experts, sleeping with a (non-cooked) pea or other similar objects taped to your belly might help you with your issue. Following this step, when you will attempt to roll over onto your stomach, the obstacle should stop you. Many people return to their side after waking up when the pea pokes them.
How to sleep on your side?
The mattress shouldn’t be too hard
When you are a side sleeper, the actual pressure is applied to your hips, neck, and shoulders. Having a too-firm mattress can cause pain in those areas. You should look for a bed that is soft enough but gives appropriate support so that your body doesn’t sink in and the alignment of your spine stays fine. If you have already purchased a little bit too firm one, you will find great information on how to make it softer here.
Pillow of the right height
If you are suffering from neck pain, buy a pillow that is just high enough and firm enough to support your neck properly. When you sleep on your side, your neck, spine, and hips should be aligned in a straight, neutral position. It can be done by using a side sleeper pillow that’s high enough to keep your neck to the same level as the other two.
A pillow between your legs
You can put a thin pillow between your knees or get a perfectly customized knee pillow so that some of the stress on your hips and lower back is relieved. You can bend your legs slightly at the knee but not too far towards your stomach to reduce lower back pain.
Side-Sleeping and Heart Issues
People who have congestive heart failure should avoid sleeping on their backs and their left sides as their heartbeats may disrupt their sleep in these positions. These patients usually prefer sleeping on their right side most of the time. There is a chance, that sleeping on the right side may save people with heart failure from further health damage.
Did you know?
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How to switch from side sleeping to back sleeping?
Usually, sleeping on our backs doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Only about 14% of the population is known as a back sleeper. The reason behind this is maybe we spend most of our time in the womb in the fetal position, so for that most of us carry on sleeping in that position and inside position throughout our childhood and into our adult lives.
If you are a side sleeper and want to be a back sleeper these following steps might be helpful.
Lay down flat
The first step is naturally to lay down flat. Try to put your head and neck in a neutral position. You need to resist the urge to twist your head to the side or rotate your knees to the left or right. You can try to explore how it feels to lift your arms around the head area in a makeshift goal post-formation. Plenty of people find this convenient, while many experience pressures on their shoulders. You can experiment with this thought, and see if it works for you.
Elevate your head
With the help of a pillow, you need to keep your head in a slightly above position. You can also put pillows under your arms to make you feel you are getting support. According to many experts’ recommendations, a buckwheat pillow is a good choice because it is flatter and can be rearranged to suit your individual requirement.
The most important thing for you is to remember, that you don’t want your head propped up too high or left too flat, which creates an unnatural order.
Pillow under your knees can help
If you are not habituated to sleeping this way, in the beginning, you might experience some pain and pressure in your lower back. If you put a pillow under your knees it can be helpful to get some relief. Another way to avoid feeling that pressure is to do some workout or some light stretching before going to bed.
People who sit all day tend to have tight hamstrings and hip flexors and by doing a stretch called the pigeon and grasping it for one minute on each side, you can lessen your chances of feeling pain.
You need to be persistent
Obviously, it will take some time to train yourself to sleep this way. You shouldn’t give up or get discouraged. Remember, persistence is the key. If you find yourself rolling over to your side during the night again, control the urge to admit the loss. Alternatively, try to roll on to your back again and keep trying.
Some other sleep positions
Freefall Position- According to a study, 7% of people sleep on their stomachs with their heads turned to the side.
Soldier position- This is the position where sleepers lie on their backs and their arms are down and close to the body. About 8% of people sleep like this.
Starfish Position- According to a study, about 5% of people sleep this way. Those who tend to sleep in a starfish position sleep on their backs with their arms up over their heads.
Fetal Position- According to studies, about 41% of people sleep using a specific side position by curling up on their sides with their knees bent.
Log Position- Those who tend to sleep in the log position sleep on their sides with their arms down next to their bodies.
Spooning Position- This one is a side sleeping position for couples; the person in the back holds the one who is sleeping in the front, close to their body.
Do you have a comfortable mattress?
Beds are made with different kinds of materials. You may find some are softer or firmer. The sort of material that a mattress is made of can affect the temperature of your body. When it comes to the firmness of the surface you sleep on, you will want to have one that is firm enough to support your spine, but also soft enough to conform to the shape of your body.
Those who are suffering from back pain may be most comfortable on a bed that is softer and more cushioning. You will never know for sure how your mattress will work out until you are using it or you have been resting on it for a while. It will always involve some risks, but we are trying our best to make the decision easier.
If you consider the health benefits of sleeping in a specific position, train yourself to change into something which will be better for your posture and health, and that will be worthy of your effort. It might take some time, but by doing this if you can decrease wrinkles, improve pain symptoms, and minimize acid reflux, it makes sense to do your best to master the skill.
If you are trying to sleep on your back, you can try to take nap like this for weeks and followed the above tips we have covered, and still, if you find it challenging, then it might be your mattress’s fault, not yours. If you have been using your bed for more than 8 to 10 years, and you are experiencing discomfort, consider getting something new.