Whether you sleep sprawled out on your back or curled up in a little ball, the position you sleep in can affect the quality of your sleep. Sleep position can play a role in snoring, heartburn, and even wrinkles. And some positions are better than others (sorry, stomach sleepers!)
Pros: Sleeping on your back is great for the spine and neck because the back is straight and not forced into any contortions. In an ideal world, you'd sleep on your back without any pillows, as this position leaves the neck in a neutral position. Back sleeping also has its cosmetic benefits. Spending all night with your face in the air, as opposed to smooshed into a pillow, leads to fewer facial wrinkles.
Cons: For those who snore or suffer from sleep apnea, sleeping on your back will enhance this. Lying on your back causes the back of the tongue to collapse into the airway, which obstructs breathing and creates those beautiful snoring sounds. Doctors suggest side sleeping for people with sleep apnea.
Pros: Sleeping on the side is the most common sleep position for a reason. If you are a side sleeper, you should definitely sleep on the left side. It alleviates acid reflux and heartburn, boosts digestion, stimulates the drainage of toxins from the lymph nods, improves circulation, and helps your brain filter out waste. Due to anatomy and the location of your body's organs, these amazing benefits only come from sleeping on the left side.
Cons: Sleeping on the left side can put pressure on the stomach and lungs, so it's best to switch it up. Most notably, side sleepers may experience that dreaded arm numbness from resting on a single arm for too long. Finally, this position puts a lot of stress on the shoulders so if you have shoulder pain, you should not sleep on your side.
Pros: Stomach sleeping eases snoring, but that's about it.
Cons: Sleeping on your stomach is probably the worst sleeping position, especially if you have back problems. It flattens the natural curve of the spine, which can lead to lower back pain. Plus, sleeping all night with your head turned to one side will strain the neck. If you do prefer this position, try sticking a pillow under the hips and lower abdomen to give the bottom of the spine a lift.
The Bottom Line
Sleeping is a personal experience, so you should sleep in whichever position is the comfiest for you. If you do suffer from back pain or snore frequently, try switching up your position. It may make a huge difference. The key takeaway is to continue doing what feels right, but if you just ate a huge meal, definitely sleep on your left side!