You probably know that a good night’s sleep is one of the keys to your well-being.
Getting eight to 10 hours of snooze time is ideal for both body and mind.
But the way you sleep, or your sleeping position, can be just as important as how much you sleep. Plus, it can tell you some things about both your health and habits you may be unaware of.
Sleeping on your back
Some experts say sleeping on you back is one of the best positions for relaxation.
“The reason it’s an excellent position is that there’s no compromise of any circulation,” says sleep expert Nancy H. Rothstein. “Everything is free to flow.”
But if you sleep on your back and you’re feeling pain though, your body may be trying to tell you something.
Keelyn Nielsen, a sleep disorder coordinator in New York City, says an issue called “positional sleep apnea” can be triggered when you’re on your back.
“When someone is lying on her back, gravity alone is going to weigh her down,” she says. “So if they have, let’s say, extra soft tissues in their throat due to fatty cellular buildup or a disproportionally large tongue, that can actually close up their airways and cause them to choke and/or snore.”
Gastrointestinal and back issues makes the position uncomfortable, too, so listen to your body’s signals and snooze on the flip side.
Sleeping on your side
Sleeping on your side may have more to do with what you’re resting on rather than what you’re body’s telling you.
“In Ayurveda, the side that you lay on will activate a specific hemisphere of the brain,” says Nielsen.
Related: 3 Ways to Get a Better Sleep
There’s actually debate over which side is better for you. Martha Cortes, DDS, a dentist specializing in sleep apnea, says sleeping on your right side can lead to acid reflux, while the left has been linked to nightmares.
Regardless of what side you choose, be sure to invest in a pillow.
“Sleeping position is married to your mattress quality and pillow formation or size,” she says. “Depending on how you sleep most of the time should impact your pillow, that it’s not too thick or too thin.”
Sleeping in the fetal position
If you’re sleeping like a baby while you’re positioned like a baby, you’re in popular company. More than 40 percent of the population favors the fetal position. If you fall into this majority, just be sure you’re in a gentle, not-too-tight fetal position so your organs can function properly throughout the night.
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