Sleep Science Academy founder, best-selling author, and your coaching guide to the best night’s sleep, Devin Burke, expounds on the best position for better sleep and health.
Do you sleep on your stomach, your side, or your back? Let’s dive in and discover which one we should be using and why.
I know that this can be a comforting position for some people. Unfortunately, stomach sleeping strains your spine in the wrong way. Over time, this stress can cause back and neck pain.
If you are a stomach-sleeper, you should reconsider and begin retraining your body to sleep either on your side or your back; here’s why.
For some, sleeping on their side is the best position, especially on the left. Sleeping on your left side helps relieve pressure from some organs. It also aids in digestion because our bodies are not entirely asymmetrical, meaning there are some differences on either side of our body.
Studies indicate sleeping on the left side can aid digestion, help with heartburn, and reduce the chances of snoring and sleep apnea. If you are overweight, have sleep apnea, or snore, you may want to consider retraining your body to sleep on your left side for those reasons.
On the downside, site sleeping can put more pressure on your shoulders and your jaw. And if you don’t have a proper pillow, side sleeping can put more pressure on your neck.
If the surface you are sleeping on is an old mattress or one not suited to your body, side sleeping can put more pressure on your lower back and hips.
Here are some tips for side-sleepers to improve their sleep.
#1 The Right Pillow
Find a pillow that fits your collarbone structure because we all have different bodies; using the proper pillow is essential. I need a pillow that will comfortably fill my collarbone area to support my head and keep my spine in alignment.
#2 A Pillow Between Your Legs
This technique helps support your lower back and hips. This strategy can be a game changer if you have lower back pain. You spend one-third of your life in bed, impacting your structural health.
Placing a firm pillow between your legs can align your hips, support your lower back, and ease your pain.
Hugging a pillow or your bed partner is an excellent idea, as this action can keep your shoulders in alignment. You can experiment with hugging a pillow or going to sleep by hugging someone, but a pillow may be better because people move, creating some difficulty during the night.
Some folks argue that back sleeping is better than side sleeping, but it depends on the person, age, and health history. Do they have sleep apnea, GERD, or snoring? There are many factors, like the surface they are sleeping on and the type of pillow they have.
Understanding who you are and what you are dealing with regarding your health history and goals is essential. But back-sleeping is genuinely amazing for spinal alignment.
This position creates less pressure on the shoulders and jaw and can help with the glymphatic system, which is the lymph system in the brain. Lying on your back, especially in an elevated position, can help with lymphatic drainage, eliminating beta-amyloid, the plaque buildup that creates Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Sleeping on your back and using an adjustable bed or bed risers can aid lymphatic drainage, a plus for back sleeping. Placing a pillow between or under your knees can alleviate some of the pressure in your lower back, depending on your mattress’s structure and quality.
Try experimenting with a pillow between your legs to see if it is more comfortable and can train your body to sleep on your back. Alternately, a pillow on either side of you can help retrain your body to become a back-sleeper.
Again, you want to ensure you have the proper pillow. There is a great one designed for back sleeping and developed by a chiropractor, the Neck Nest, that I am using and love. It is specifically structured to keep your cervical spine in alignment.
Some exciting research is happening around sleeping in an elevated posture regarding the glymphatic system drainage and those enduring GERD or heartburn. I am a big believer in experimenting, so try different things and see what works when you give it a chance and discover how your body feels. Until then, you don’t know.
The quality of your sleep depends significantly on which position you sleep in, and some research indicates the wrong sleeping position may cause toxins to filter out of your brain more slowly.
Of all the positions in which you might sleep, stomach sleeping is the only one you should avoid. This position places undue strain on your spine, which can cause neck and back pain. Side-sleeping and sleeping on your back are far better.
Elevating your bed while sleeping on your back is the most beneficial combination. Elevation allows better glymphatic drainage and puts less pressure on the shoulders and jaw. You can experiment with different sleeping positions and pillow placements to help retrain your body for a better sleeping attitude.
There is much more to acquiring the best possible sleep. At Sleep Science Academy, we help countless people find a lifetime of restorative rest with our Dynamic Sleep Recalibration program.
This science-based, successful concept incorporates numerous methods and techniques, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I), mindfulness, and many more. Each client works with their certified holistic health/sleep coach, who guides them through the process with a treatment plan tailored to their needs.
If achieving a lifetime of peaceful nights and pleasant, productive days sounds appealing, contact us today and schedule your complimentary sleep consultation with a certified sleep coach to begin your journey to more peaceful rest.
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We are here and ready when you are.