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How Your Sleep Position Matters

Jul 1, 2015

We’ve all woken up with a stiff neck, achy back, or a limp shoulder from sleeping in contorted or uncomfortable positions. If you are lucky, by mid-day this issue remedies itself but a few more drastic measures like a visit to a massage studio or chiropractor are occasionally necessary. Sleep is a critical component to your health and wellness and the proper quantity of quality sleep can make or break your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Research shows that the position that you sleep in can greatly affect how well you sleep. In fact, the position you sleep in can even provide insight into your personality and mental/physical status. Here are details on a few of the most common sleeping positions:

Back

Backsleepers arguably select the best position for your neck and back. When you sleep on your back, your spine is allowed to lay straight, therefore avoiding the uncomfortable kinks that come from side sleeping. The only downside is that snoring is oftentimes exacerbated as result of backsleeping since your tongue obstructs mouth breathing. Two back positions that are popular are the soldier position and the starfish position. Soldier is when a sleeper lies on their back and arms are down, close to the body. This is a quiet, reserved position that enables a restful night’s sleep. Starfish position is similar to soldier but with arms up by the head and legs splayed a touch. This position is said to belong to people with personality characteristics such as good listeners or those who are extremely helpful. 


Side

Although backsleeping is the best neutral position for your body to relax in, side sleeping is the most common sleeping position. This position gains points for the most comfort and also a reduced likeliness of interrupted sleep patterns. If you suffer from a bad back, consider adding a pillow between your knees to properly align you hips and lower back. This position is also known to help alleviate insomnia and chronic sleep deprivation. A few variations on side sleeping include the log position, fetal, and yearner position. The log position is similar to soldier position but just on the side, with arms down. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “slept like a log!” This means a solid night sleep clear of any tossing and turning. Next is the fetal position. This comfortable and curled position is more popular amongst women than men and in terms of personality, people that sleep this way are said to be sensitive and shy. Lastly, the yearner position is a side-lying position where you sleep with your arms out in front of you. Personality characteristics of this position include open-mindedness and stubbornness.

Stomach
The least popular option of the group, sleeping on your stomach, can wreck havoc on your neck and back. People who sleep on their stomach often report restlessness in addition to experiencing pins and needles from pressure on nerves. There is one upside to this method of sleeping however, in that it can help alleviate lower back pain by relieving pressure on the lower discs in your spine.

As sleep is a critical component to your physical and emotional wellbeing, whatever position you sleep in, be sure to get plenty of it and supplement ample rest with regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and preventative therapies like massage!

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