The Best Posture To Sleep In

Do you go to bed hoping to have a sound sleep but wake up unrested? Your sleep posture may be to blame. Read more for the best sleep posture below.

By Ameya Arora
16 April 2022

When you sleep, your body works to restore and repair itself. And the position you sleep in can either help or hinder that process. Most people settle in their beds without giving a second thought to their posture. It is an instinctive or habitual thing that many people may not consider the health effects of sleeping in one manner or the other. Yet, doctors say that our sleeping posture matters.


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How The Posture You Sleep In Affects Your Health

Dr. M.S. Kanwar, a Senior Consultant and Advisor Pulmonary, Critical Care and founder of Sleep Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, believes that different postures like sleeping on your stomach, back, or side, can make a difference, especially for people who are dealing with conditions like snoring, apnea, neck pain, back pain, to name just a few. It can also affect the quality of your sleep. In fact, improper sleeping posture can aggravate conditions like fatigue, sleep apnea, headache, and also back pain. The right sleeping position can relieve the stress on your spine and improve the quality of sleep you get, while an improper one can increase pain or stiffness in the back, arms, or shoulders.


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The Best Sleep Posture For You


Lie supine for a healthy spine

According to Dr. Kanwar, there is not one posture suited for everybody. However, one particular sleeping posture, the ‘supine posture’ can prove to be healthy for many. Supine posture is when you are lying on your back, your legs are stretched forwards, and your arms are loose. Having said that, there are some positions that are considered healthier than others. Specifically, sleeping on the side or back is considered more beneficial than sleeping on the stomach. In either of these sleep positions, it’s easier to keep your spine supported and balanced, which relieves pressure on the spinal tissues and enables your muscles to relax and recover. Dr. Kanwar believes that this posture is healthy for your spine, but there are some precautions to be kept in mind.


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If you sleep in supine posture, or are now planning to do so, it is essential to ensure that you don’t have a very soft and deep mattress. “So basically your mattress should not be sinking into your bed as this can lead to a little curved spine,” says Dr. Kanwar. He suggests that a semi-soft mattress, which is either thin, thick, or medium-sized is ideal for your body. The mattress that is right for you enables you to get a sound and comfy sleep, and you wake up feeling fresh, rested, and free of any pain or soreness. Unless you have a condition that requires you to sleep on a certain type of mattress, you should choose a mattress that provides support for the natural curves of your spine. Thus, a semi-soft mattress would do the work.


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Sleep on the side if you are pregnant

During pregnancy, it is safest to sleep on your side. Studies show that after 28 weeks, sleeping on your back can double the risk of stillbirth. Why? Sleeping on your back may impair the flow of blood to the baby.


Sleep on your side to improve digestion and ease sleep apnea

Side sleeping can help cut snoring for some people who experience obstructive sleep apnea. Sleeping on your side also improves digestion, and reduces heartburn and bloating.


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Other Sleep Habits To Keep In Mind


Use a single pillow

Dr. Kanwar suggests that you should sleep using only one pillow. Too many pillows disrupt sleep. Choose a pillow that is soft and comfortable for you. Your pillow should also support the natural curvature of your neck. A pillow that is too hard or high can position your neck in such a manner that it causes muscle strain on your back, neck, and shoulders. You know that you have the right pillow when it feels equally comfortable when you sleep in different postures.


Keep the room cool

Along with having comfortable bedding, the temperature of your room should be suited to your body. It should not be too hot, too cold, or something to which your body is not used to. Hence, Dr. Kanwar suggests that to get sound sleep, ensure that you maintain the same room temperature each day.


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Sometimes people think that they are comfortable sleeping in a particular posture. They are often surprised to wake up feeling stiff. Dr. Kanwar answers that many times you are not aware of the posture you are sleeping in. As you might go to sleep in one position but wake up in the other. That’s because during sleep you don’t have any control over body movements.. So according to Dr. Kanwar, “proper sleeping posture is something you learn, and a habit you develop over time”. When you wake up, your back should not ache. If that is happening, you most probably have adopted the wrong sleeping posture, or a posture that is not suited for your body.


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