How important is your sleeping posture?

dr jean claude

How important is your sleeping posture?

Sleeping postures can have an important effect on your health:

For such a simple thing, sleeping is not an easy thing to master. From obesity to heart-related issues, multiple things can be associated if your sleeping is disturbed. It turns out that it is not just the quantity of speed but also what posture you sleep in that matters. Your sleeping posture matters a lot so it needs a definite check!


Some of the sleeping postures and their pros, as well as cons, are described below:

Back sleepers:

The good:
You may be surprised but this is not the most popular sleeping position. Only eight out of every hundred people prefer sleeping on the back. This is although the best position to sleep in. Sleeping on the back allows the neck spine and head to be in a relaxed position. This will lead to minimal pressure on these vital areas. It is also good for patients suffering from gastric acid reflux. Make sure you also add a pillow so that your esophagus always lies higher (superior) than the stomach.

The bad:
But this sleeping posture has its cons as well, especially for people who suffer from sleep apnea and snoring. This can lead to an increased incidence of apneic episodes and worsen snoring as well.

Sleeping on the side:

The good:
In this position, the torso and legs are relatively straight but sideways. This is also a good position to sleep as the body is relatively stretched and spine is supported. It helps decrease any acid reflux, neck pain, and back pain. The benefit of this position oversleeping on the back is that it does not cause or worsen snoring. It is the posture of choice for patients with sleep apnea and loud snoring.

The bad:
Sleeping on your side can lead to nerve compression and joint pain. This is worse if you are suffering from nerve impingement or rotator cuff injury.

Fetal position:

The good:
Fetal position is one of the most popular sleeping postures. Around 40 percent of all adults prefer sleeping in fetal posture. This includes a person being on side with knees in a bent position. This position is especially good for sleep if the person is pregnant. In pregnancy left lateral fetal position is recommended to increase blood flow to the maternal heart as well as fetal tissues.

The bad:
This position is however not good if you have joint problems as it can lead to joint soreness. It also restricts bleeding by not allowing a person’s diaphragm to move properly.


Stomach position:

Seven out of every one hundred people sleep on their stomachs. This posture unsurprisingly is one of the worse sleeping postures for your health. It leads to back pain and neck pain. It also leads to unnecessary pressure on your joints, muscles tingling and aches. It is especially recommended to change your habit of sleeping on your stomach if you have spine problems.

So how exactly should you sleep?
People mostly try to sleep whatever posture they feel comfortable in. You can experiment with whatever position you feel comfortable with. Each position has its benefits and flaws. It could be difficult to switch from one posture to another suddenly. Always try to consult your doctor first if you feel any changes in your body after you wake up so they may guide you more about your sleeping posture.

Written by: Dr. Jean Claude, Consultant Physician

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