What does your sleeping position say about your health?
We recently spoke with Dr Tom Charlton, Clinical Fellow for Bupa UK, who shared advice on how the position you sleep in can impact your health.
Your sleeping posture can have an impact on your health, and there are pros and cons to each position.
Sleeping on our back is the best position, as this allows our head, neck and spine to rest in a neutral position. But if you do sleep this way, you’re one of few. Many sleep on their front, which can be bad for your back and neck, as it offers no support.
Four in 10 of us snore too. Men are more likely to snore than women—if you’re a snorer, try sleeping on your side instead, as you’re less likely to have breathing problems. And whilst sleeping on your back is good for back support, you’re more likely to snore if you sleep this way.
So, which sleeping position is best for you?
We all need sleep to rest and repair our bodies, ready for the new day. The position you sleep in can affect how well rested you feel, and with many of us moving around and changing positions through the night, it’s important to find out what’s right for you.
Says Dr Charlton, "My best advice when it comes to sleeping positions is to find one you find comfortable which provides support to your spine. What everyone finds comfortable is different, but if you can, try to avoid sleeping on your front as it doesn’t give you the support you need."
Here's what different sleeping positions say about your general health:
You sleep on your back
This is one of the less common sleeping positions, and unfortunately, is more likely to make you snore or suffer from sleep apnoea, which can affect your quality of sleep.
But it’s not all negative—sleeping on your back is the best position for your spine and neck.
You sleep on your side
If you’re a side sleeper, you’re less likely to have breathing problems.
Alternating between your back and sides is usually more comfortable and less stressful to the spine than sleeping on your stomach too.
You sleep on your front
This is the worst position you can sleep in, especially if you suffer from lower back pain.
It doesn’t provide any support for your spine and most people twist their head to the side to breathe.
You fall asleep watching TV
Falling asleep in front of the TV is bad for your posture because you’re not sleeping in a good position.
You’re also less likely to enjoy the restorative sleep you need sitting in a chair, so it won’t be giving you the quality of sleep you’d get in a bed.
Read more about The Sleep Series and discover the different ways you can improve your sleeping pattern