Both the position in which you sleep and the number of hours you get can both significantly affect your overall health – both mental and physical. Research shows that the majority of us spend at least one third of our lives sleeping, with the National Sleep Foundation stating that the average adult needs between 7 and 9 hours to achieve the maximum health benefits. Common ailments such as back pain, digestive issues and headaches can all be improved with the correct sleeping position, so it’s worth taking the time to discover the best posture for you. While you should always talk to your doctor about potential changes and regimes, here are some of the ways your sleeping position can improve your health.
Those who suffer from sinus problems and infections are aware that settling into a deep sleep and relaxing can be a real problem. Research has shown that sleeping in a position with your head elevated can really help with sinus issues, preventing mucus to build up.
Shoulder and Back Pain
Sleeping on the side of your shoulder pain can cause discomfort and pressure on your muscles, worsening the pain. Instead, it’s advised that you sleep flat on your back to rest both shoulders. Alternatively, try sleeping on the side that is free of pain with legs slightly bent – a pillow can be placed under your knees for extra support if needed. Likewise, the best relief for a bad back is to lay flat on your back if this is comfortable or possible to do so, with a rolled-up towel on the curve of your back if necessary.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition that can be greatly affected by sleep. Research has shown that the most beneficial way to help lower blood pressure is to sleep on your stomach with your face down – this position can significantly aid hypertension.
Neck pain can be a painful condition to wake up with, so it’s worth giving your neck extra support to prevent the pain from worsening. A feather pillow that can adapt to the shape of your neck can help give this support, as can a small rolled up towel placed under your neck.
Heartburn and other digestive issues can both be helped by sleeping on your left side with your head slightly elevated. Research has shown that this position prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus, while assisting in digestion to the stomach which is placed slightly to the left side.
PMS symptoms can range from bloating and cramping to mood swings and fatigue, so finding a comfortable sleeping position can really help ease these symptoms. Sleeping on your back with arms at your side is one of the best ways to help, with a pillow under your knees if possible. Lying face down on your stomach or curled up in a ball can result in more pain due to the increase of pressure and weight put on the uterus, and so should always be avoided.
Those who suffer regularly with headaches can find that maintaining a good sleeping schedule is difficult. Research has shown that twisting your neck while asleep, or sleeping with your head in a fixed position for long periods can increase the chances of headaches occurring once awake. Surrounding your head with pillows may prevent and reduce the chances of doing this – though it is recommended to give your head chance to move a little throughout the night.