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Getting a good sleep is one of the most important requirements for overall health, right behind proper nutrition. If you don’t get enough sleep your brain won’t function properly, you’ll gain weight and overall, your body will just start to break down. Despite this, 40% of Americans don’t get the recommended amount of sleep, leading to many of the health problems that the average person faces today.

There are many factors that can disrupt a person’s sleep, including their lifestyle, diet and genetics. However, one commonly overlooked factor is the way you sleep, specifically the position your body is in during sleep. This is why I am going to show you the best (and worst) positions for getting a good sleep.

On Your Back

Sleeping on your back is the best position for getting a comfortable, good night’s sleep. It allows your head, neck and back to stay aligned so your spine can remain in a neutral position throughout the night. This will make sure that you don’t wake up with uncomfortable neck or back pain. It also ensures that there is no extra pressure on your chest and back, allowing for optimal breathing during sleep.

Aside from helping with your breathing and protecting your spine, sleeping on your back can also help prevent acid reflux. This is because your head is elevated in this position, meaning gravity will keep your stomach acids from jumping up into your esophagus and burning your throat. Additionally, sleeping on your back, with your head elevated with a small pillow can help to alleviate a blocked sinus (along with these other natural remedies).

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On Your Side

Although sleeping on your side is not as good for the neck area of your spine as sleeping on your back, it can help with snoring and sleep apnea in ways that sleeping on your back can’t, making it the second best option. However, sleeping on your left side can put pressure on internal organs such as the liver, lungs and stomach, while sleeping on your right side can cause heartburn.

When sleeping on your side it’s important to make sure that your pillow is at a height which allows your neck to be level with your back. This will help prevent you from straining your neck and the pain that comes with it.

To help alleviate the back pain and cramps that come with your period, try sleeping on your side with a small pillow tucked between your knees.

Fetal Position

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Although this isn’t the worst position to sleep in, sleeping in the fetal position can still cause a lot of joint and muscle pain and should be avoided. Many people tend to choose this position because of the comfort associated with it. After all, it is the position we were born in.

Despite how comforting it may be, sleeping in this position can put a lot of strain on your neck and knee joints. This is especially true if you are actually tucking your chin and knees into your chest. This basically means you are sleeping on your side with your back curled into a ball, making this one of the worst positions in terms of spine health.

On Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is by far the worst position possible. What’s even worse is that this is a very common sleeping position, right behind sleeping on your back and on your side.

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That fact that you are lying on your stomach means that your body is not supporting the natural curve of your spine. Also, if you tend to use a large pillow or more than one pillow it can put a lot of pressure on the cervical area of your spine, which can lead to neck pain and other, more serious issues.

Sleeping on your stomach also puts pressure on your rib cage which can restrict your breathing. This can cause you to wake up due to chest pain or shortness of breath.

Your Mattress

The type of mattress you have can play a huge role in your sleep position. Even if you are lying on your back, if you have a mattress that is too cushiony and cause you to sink into it then your spine will not be in a neutral position.

The best type of mattress is one that provides enough cushioning so that you do not feel pressure on your spine when you are lying down, but is firm enough so that it does not effect the shape of your spine during sleep.

For more natural ways that you can improve your sleep, click here.

 

Sources:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/166553/less-recommended-amount-sleep.aspx

http://www.medicaldaily.com/sleeping-positions-stay-healthy-best-and-worst-ways-sleep-during-night-296714

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss

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Image source:

http://blog.aidanceproducts.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/sleeppositions.gif

 

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