How Your Sleeping Position Affects Your Health

You turn off the lights and get yourself ready to snooze. Are you on your back, side, or stomach? Your sleep position can be linked to things like back pain, snoring, and how often you wake up during the night.

It may even say some things about your personality.

On Your Belly: Are you a tummy sleeper? If so, do you have problems sleeping? Your slumber pose may not be helping. You’re more likely to be restless and toss and turn to get comfortable when you sleep on your belly. It can strain your neck and your lower back, too. If this is how you like to sleep, you may want to use a very soft pillow or none at all to keep your neck comfortable.

Belly Position: Freefall About 7% of the population sleeps this way. You lie on your belly with your arms around a pillow and your head turned sideways. If this is your favorite sleep position, some research suggests you may be more likely to speak your mind and be sociable and outgoing. You also may not be very open to criticism.

On Your Back: This position can cause lower back pain. If you have sleep apnea or snore, sleeping on your back can make it worse because your airways are narrower. The solution is to put a pillow under your knees if you are sleeping on your back. Everyday Health states that it will help your spin maintain its curve.

Back Position: Soldier This position is favored by about 8% of the population. You sleep with your arms down and close to your body. Some research suggests you may be more likely to be quiet and keep to yourself. You also may expect a lot from yourself and from others.

Side Sleeping: There are many ways to sleep on your side, but the most comfortable is with your knees bent slightly toward your chest -- the fetal position.

If You Have Back Pain: Side sleeping wins for this, too. To take even more pressure off your hips and back, you can put a pillow between your legs. If you’re a back sleeper, you might put one under your knees to keep the natural curve of your back.

Pregnant Women: It’s usually more comfortable -- and healthier for you and your baby -- if you sleep on your side. And the left side may be better, because it may get more blood and nutrients to your baby. If you have back pain, put a pillow under your belly to support the weight. It can also help to bend your knees and put a pillow between your legs.

Back Position: Starfish Only about 5% of people sleep this way. You lie on your back with your arms up near your head. According to some studies, you may be more likely to be a good listener and not want to be the center of attention.

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