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Sleeping positions and their effects on your health

Your sleeping position can affect your health in several ways. A right sleeping position can improve your body posture and prevent back and joint pains. However, a wrong position can increase your risk of musculoskeletal conditions. That’s not all. Your sleeping position can even increase or decrease the risk of other diseases. Here are some health problems that can occur, worsen, or even be eased due to your sleep position.

On the back with arms at sides

This sleeping position involves lying on the back with the arms at the sides. People who sleep in this position have a less risk of developing shoulder pain. It also reduces the risk of spinal discomfort provided you do not use many pillows. However, if you suffer from sleep apnea, you should avoid sleeping in this position as it may worsen your symptoms.

Sleeping on your back

This sleeping position is usually considered a good option for the spinal health as it keeps your back straight. Another reason why it is benifical is a big variety of mattresses that are adapted for it. This position can also exert less pressure on the interverbal discs and thus, prevent pain in the back and neck. It is also recommended for the patients who suffer from acid reflux.

However, all these benefits come with a caveat. People who sleep lying on the back often suffer from sleep apnea and excessive snoring. When you sleep on your back, the gravity causes the base of the tongue to fall back on to the airway. This can obstruct your breathing and cause snoring.

Face Down Position

Sleeping on the stomach can improve your digestion. However, you must ensure a way to breathe through the pillow. You may tilt your face sideways in one direction to avoid breathing difficulties. However, this can put strain on your neck and cause pain. This sleeping position can also increase your risk of early wrinkling of the skin and acne.  

On one side with arms beside you

Sleeping on one side with both the arms facing downward in a straight line is called the log posture. It is the best sleeping position for your spine as it provides complete support to the body with its natural curve.

The straight spine prevents back pain and sleep apnea. This sleeping position is also recommended for pregnant women as it does not put any pressure on the abdomen and helps them avoid stiffness in the back.

However, it is your legs that have to bear the brunt of this position. Your legs do not get enough support in this position due to which you may end up with pain in the hips or thighs. Also, side sleeping can accelerate skin aging and cause wrinkles to appear a bit earlier than destined.

On The back with arms up

Sleeping on your back with the arms resting above your head is called the starfish position. The benefits of this position include a better alignment of the spine and neck. This pose does not place much pressure on the intervertebral discs, thus sparing you of neck and back pain.

It can also reduce acid reflux by preventing the digested substances from regurgitating back into the esophagus.

On the downside, the starfish position can worsen sleep apnea and snoring issues. Additionally, having your arms elevated above the head can exert pressure on the nerves and muscles in the shoulders causing pain and stiffness in this region.

On your side with arms out

Sleeping on one side, with the arms outstretched, legs slightly bent, and the head angled off the center is suitable for the people who suffer from severe acid reflux. It is called the Yearner position.

This sleeping position can reduce back pain. It also creates a favorable setting for the body to clear toxins and waste from the brain efficiently thus reducing your risk of degenerative brain disorders such as dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

On the flip side, this sleeping position can restrict the flow of blood to some parts of the body and put more pressure on the nerves. As a result, you may experience pain in the arms and shoulders. Nerve compression can place more strain on the internal organs such as the stomach, and lungs, and cause discomfort.

Now, it is up to you to decide which position you would like to sleep in. Choosing the right sleeping position with fitting mattress and avoiding those that can affect your health adversely can go a long way in improving your fitness and preventing diseases.

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