The 5 best positions for sleep to wake up refreshed and energised
Written by tapGP Clinical Team
24 August 2023
Sleep is very important for our well-being. It’s not just about how much you sleep; the quality of your sleep matters too. Among the many things that shape how we sleep, there’s one that’s often forgotten: the way you lie down. You might be surprised to learn that how you position yourself while snoozing can really affect how deeply you sleep and how refreshed you feel when you wake up. We’re going to take a closer look at five of the best sleep positions that experts swear by. Each position has solid reasons behind it, and we’ll delve into why they can help you get better sleep.
- Back Sleeping (Supine Position)
Lying on your back is what we call the supine position. Experts really like this one because it comes with a lot of potential benefits. In this position, you lie flat on your back, with your arms naturally resting at your sides. The reason experts recommend it is because it helps spread out your body weight evenly, reducing pressure points and lowering the chances of waking up with pain in specific areas. And that’s not all – sleeping on your back also does wonders for your spine’s alignment. This is especially great for people who often deal with chronic back pain.
One benefit of back sleeping is its potential to tackle acid reflux. A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found back sleeping could lower the risk of acid reflux. This happens because when you’re on your back, your head and stomach are at the same level, which makes it harder for stomach acid to sneak back up into your throat. But a quick heads up: if you have sleep apnoea (that’s when your breathing gets interrupted while you sleep), this position might not be your best choice as it could make your breathing problems worse.
- Side Sleeping (Foetal Position)
A lot of people enjoy sleeping on their sides, especially in what’s called the foetal position. This is when you curl up like you’re in a little ball, with your knees close to your chest. Side sleeping gets a thumbs-up because it’s great at keeping your airways open, which can reduce the risk of things like sleep apnoea and snoring. For pregnant women, sleeping on your left side is often suggested. Why? Well, it boosts blood flow to the baby and helps mum’s circulation.
Here’s something interesting: the foetal position is also a winner for people dealing with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). A study in Sleep Medicine found that sleeping on your left side can really help calm down acid reflux symptoms. So if you’re someone who often deals with tummy troubles, this position could be your go-to.
- Side Sleeping (Log Position)
The log position is like a close cousin of side sleeping. Here, you’re lying on your side with your arms naturally resting at your sides. This position has some major advantages, including keeping your spine in a nice, aligned position, which helps reduce strain on your back and neck. By keeping a good posture, the log position can seriously improve how well you sleep and how comfy you feel. It’s also a champion at stopping snoring and sleep apnoea by making sure your airways stay clear.
But that’s not all – sleeping like a log can also make your digestion better. A study in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that sleeping on your left side, or even in the log position, can help with digestion and reduce the chances of acid reflux symptoms.
- Stomach Sleeping (Prone Position)
The prone position is sleeping on your stomach. It’s a bit of a debate among experts because it can put strain on your neck and back over time. This position doesn’t exactly keep your spine in the best shape. But if you’re someone who finds sleeping on your stomach very comfortable, don’t worry. You can tweak things a bit by putting a pillow under your hips. This small change can give your spine some support and ease up on the strain.
- Back Sleeping (Soldier Position)
The soldier position is similar to back sleeping. You lie flat on your back with your arms down at your sides. This one is effective because it might help you keep your face looking smoother and younger by not minimising pressure against the pillow. It might also help with acid reflux – a little lift of the head can make a difference.
So, What’s the Best Sleep Position for You?
Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the best sleep position. It’s all about what feels good for you and if you have any health issues. Try different positions and see what helps you sleep better. Don’t forget about your mattress and your pillow – they can make a big difference too. And if you’re dealing with health problems, talking to a doctor is a good idea. They can give you advice that suits you.
In a nutshell, how you sleep can really change how well you snooze. Each position has its own perks, from spreading your weight out when you’re on your back to helping you breathe better when you’re on your side. While there’s no one magic answer, the info here can help you make choices that lead to better sleep and a healthier, more awake you. So, as you embark on your sleep adventure, think about these positions and find the one that gives you nights of calming, refreshing sleep. Your body will thank you!
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