All of us sleep, but almost everyone sleeps differently. Some of us snore, some stay immobile for the entire duration, some scratch compulsively, or sniff, and some even sleep-talk. While there is no single proper way to sleep, there are good and bad positions in which you can do so, and all of them have their pros and cons. The important thing to know is, as long as you're sleeping in a bed or similar piece of furniture, you're probably doing it correctly.
It’s generally agreed that sleeping on your back is the best position to sleep in. It prevents back and neck pain, it reduces your acid reflux, it’s great for the health of the breasts, and it minimizes wrinkles.
While back-sleeping you’re supporting your entire body, because you’re not forcing any extra curves on your back, and because your head is fully supported your stomach will be below your esophagus, so no food can come back up.
The most negative things for this position are snoring, and the occasional jaw clenching.Recommended:
A puffy pillow is to allow elevation of the head, partnered with a quality mattress
that keeps your head and body in proper alignment.On the side
While not as good as sleeping on the back, this position is also healthy for the body. It reduces back and neck pain, and also suppresses acid reflux, but unlike sleeping on the back, snoring is less frequent.
This is the most recommended position to sleep in for pregnancy, because it’s great for overall health – it elongates the spine, and is the best way to suppress acid flux.
The most negative effect of sleeping on the side are breast sagginess and wrinkles. In this position, the ligaments in the chest area stretch more than usual, leading to sagginess, and because one side of your face is laying on the pillow.
Note: Sleeping on the left side is recommended for pregnancy because it’s ideal for the blood flow. Recommended:
A thick pillow to fill the space between the shoulder and the head, but a softer mattress to allow movement. Fetal position
It’s generally not as ideal as the previous two positions, but it’s good for preventing snoring, sleeping while pregnant.
Sleeping in the fetal position has overall more negative sides, because it increases back and neck pain, contributes to sagginess of the breasts, and the risk of wrinkles is increased as well. Also, diaphragmatic breathing is restricted by this curved position which increases the risk of pain. Recommended:
A plump pillow to allow support for your neck and your head. Stomach position
Overall, sleeping on the stomach is the least healthy way to sleep. While good for snoring, it makes it difficult for the spine maintain a neutral position. Because of this, pressure is added on joints and muscles, which in turn can irritate nerves and can one day lead to pain and numbness.
Also, the neck is strained for hours at a time, and that can cause a host of other problems in time.
This position is good for snoring, because it almost completely reduces it. Recommended:
Either a thin pillow or none at all, and a hard mattress.