How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health – Credihealth Blog

A good night’s rest is crucial to having good health, both mentally and physically.  Research has revealed that not having enough sleep affects our immunity, alertness, and metabolism.  A contributing factor to having a good night’s rest is the position we choose to sleep, as it affects our body in various ways.  During sleep, it is crucial to maintain the natural spinal alignment to support the body along the S-curve of the spine.  According to Sleepify Sleep Statistics 2021, Having a poor posture while sleeping can cause disrupted sleep, increased tension, and poor circulation.  

Whichever sleeping position we choose is a matter of preference. The body naturally gravitates towards a sleep position that makes us comfortable enough to fall asleep.  So, what sleeping position can improve your sleep or deprive you of it?  Consider the below-mentioned sleep postures.  It is interesting to note that sleep positions have their pros, cons, and remedies applied to improve the sleeping position and the quality of sleep.

Sleeping on Your Stomach

Although sleeping on your stomach clears the upper airway, reduces snoring, and diminishes sleep apnea, it is considered one of the worst sleeping positions.  Consistently sleeping on your stomach forces the lower back to flattens the natural curve of the spine.  In time, this unnatural spine position, muscles, and nerves strain leads to lower back pain.  Considering sleeping on your stomach involves twisting your neck to the side to breathe and places your head and spine out of alignment.   The result is a strain on the neck.

To alleviate lower back pain, change your sleep position. If you must sleep on your stomach, place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen.  The heightened posture will raise your lower back and help maintain the natural curve of the spine.  To support your neck, place a pillow under your shoulder and head to relieve neck strain. If you have a soft mattress, invest in the best mattress for back pain to ease aches and pains. 


Sleeping on Your Back

The back sleeping posture known as the supine position maintains the natural spine alignment.  Sleeping on the back distributes weight evenly throughout the body and avoids the unnatural curve of the spine.   There are cases where the poor quality of sleep is related to the supine position.  People who suffer from sleep apnea [a condition in which breathing stops for more than 10 seconds during sleep] should avoid back sleeping posture as it aggravates the severity of sleep apnea. In addition, the supine position is not suitable for people experiencing lower back pain as it only worsens the pain. Doctors recommend that pregnant women, usually in their third trimester, should avoid sleeping on their backs.  Sleeping on their back is possibly associated with a 2.3 x increased risk of late stillbirths during this period (29 weeks to 40 weeks pregnancy term). 

There are instances where you cannot avoid sleeping on your back.  The remedy, position a pillow under the lower back and knees to reduce the strain on the lower back.  In addition, place a pillow for neck support to improve the natural S-curve of the spine.


Sleeping on Your Side

A study has shown that out of 664 people sampled, approximately 54% of them preferred sleeping on their side.  Another study confirmed that the side-lying position significantly protected against waking cervical spondylosis [known as neck arthritis], shoulder blade injury, and arm pain.

Health experts recommend that pregnant women need to sleep on their left-hand side to avoid blood vessel compression.  In this position, blood circulation and nutrients have an easier route to reach the placenta and nourish the baby. Lying on the left side also reduces heartburn, acid reflux, boosts digestion, and improves circulation.  Whichever side you find most comfortable, either the right-hand side or the left-hand side, try and maintain the natural neck and spine alignment.

The Fetal Sleeping Position

In this position, a person sleeps with their knees towards their chest as if sleeping in the womb.   It is the most common sleep position.  Approximately 41% of people favor this posture.  Sleep specialists also recommend this position because the spine rests in its natural curve and causes minimum sleep interruptions. 

Nevertheless, the fetal sleep posture can cause a strain on your neck and lower back. To reduce the risk of neck and back discomforts, curl in a relatively slack position or place a pillow between your knees.



We spend 40% of our lives in bed, hence we should make good use of this time. Choosing the correct sleeping position depends on problem pains you seek to alleviate, age, sleep apnea, and pregnancy.  Thus, getting the right mattress and the correct sleeping position is vital to getting a good night’s rest. It is not uncommon to shift your sleep positions many, many times during the night.  All in all, the best sleep position is whichever position you prefer to get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed without any aches and pains. Experiment with different sleep positions and pillow placement to find which posture gives you a good night’s rest and prevents back, neck, joint pains, and aches.

In addition, for a restful sleep, enhance other contributing factors such as creating a relaxing, peaceful environment and invest in a good firm mattress.  The more rest you get during your sleep, the more refreshed you will feel during the following day, the more motivated you will be in your endeavors. 

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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