What is the best position to sleep in?

05 Jul What is the best position to sleep in?

People sleep in all different positions, many on their front, others on their side and some toss and turn all night.

While most people will adjust their sleeping positions during the night automatically there can be some benefits to trying to maintain a certain position depending on circumstances.

For instance, many people suffer head and neck pain.  For these people, sleeping in the supine position (on your back) is the best position as it leaves the head and neck in a neutral position.  The supine position can also assist some sufferers of heartburn as the head is typically more elevated than the chest when lying on your back, preventing the rising of stomach acids.

Sleeping supine however can be detrimental if you suffer from sleep apnoea.  Some people may start snoring and even stop breathing when lying on their back which are the signs and symptoms of sleep apnoea.  For others who have the condition, severity of sleep apnoea may be worse so sleeping supine may not be for those sufferers if left untreated.

Training yourself to maintain a certain position can also be achieved.  A common practice is to place a pillow on either side of you to help prop you up and stopping you from rolling over so easily.  More drastic is to sew a tennis ball or two into the side or back of your shirt so that if you roll over onto the ball, the discomfort should help you roll back over to the desired position.  Positioning devices are also available in the market to purchase which include a sleeping shirt as described above, or a belt with air filled pillows which you wear to prevent easily rolling over.

There is not really a ‘best’ position to sleep in as it depends if you have any other conditions.  Many are limited by back or hip pain which may mean they cannot maintain a specific position throughout a whole night.  If you are having trouble sleeping or suffering from any of the conditions discussed, consult your doctor and arrange a sleep study and specialist appointment.