Published on May 01, 2018

Slumber Party

Various Sleep PositionsGood sleep habits are a big part of living a healthy lifestyle. Yet, even if you get the expert-recommended eight hours a night, your sleep position could undermine your efforts, causing cause neck and back pain, sleep apnea, muscle cramps, headaches, heartburn/acid reflux or stomach troubles. Keep reading to find out if your favorite sleeping position is helping or hurting your sleep health goals.

There are three main sleep positions. Each have their own variations.

Flat On Your Back

Sleeping on your back can decrease your chances of neck or back pain, acid reflux and face wrinkles. However, it can also make snoring and obstructive sleep apnea worse. In fact, some people only have symptoms of OSA when they lie on their back. “From a sleep apnea standpoint, I would not advocate sleeping on your back, if at all possible,” said Scott M. Shorten, MD, a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist with Meritas Health Neurology and the medical director of NKCH’s Diagnostic Sleep Center.

If you suffer from acid reflux, sleeping on your back may improve your symptoms because you’re resting in a straight position. It helps to sleep with your body at a slight incline, which is easily done by propping up your bed legs at the head of the bed.

To the Side

Sleeping on your side can prevent neck and back pain, and minimize snoring. It can also improve acid reflux, depending on which side you sleep. Sleeping on your left side can improve reflux, but sleeping on your right side can make it worse because of the stomach’s general shape. Side sleeping may also cause face wrinkles.

On Your Tummy

Stomach sleepers may snore less, but the position puts pressure on joints and muscles, strains neck and lower back, which can cause aches and pains over time. Your best option is to try switching positions.

If you often have trouble sleeping, you may have a sleep disorder. The sleep medicine experts in our sleep centers diagnosis and treat a range of sleep-related conditions.

Related Reading

Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Self-tests for Sleep Disorders

Also In This Issue ...

Feel Great - 10,000 Steps: Good Enough?

Eat Well - 5 "Most Wanted" Nutrients

Have Fun - Wednesday Night Live