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Sleep Positions and Wellbeing - Longevity Blog

How you sleep can affect how you feel when you wake up and your overall health. Posture, breathing patterns, body tension and other health issues or factors will determine both the quality and duration of sleep. A poor posture can cause neck and back pain, tense shoulders, stiff muscles, fatigue, digestive issues, poor circulation, headaches, and other symptoms that can interfere with your sleep.

If you have certain ailments or pain, some sleep positions may alleviate symptoms or, at least, provide a more comfortable way to fall asleep and have a restful night. Other positions have been recommended to avoid negative effects in the body and promote better health. Below are some proposed sleep positions:

Sleeping on the back:

This is not the most popular sleeping position, although it prevents wrinkles as the face does not touch any surface. However, it can generate respiratory, digestive and lower back problems. Although the body feels the spine, neck and head in their natural positions, it is important to protect the natural curvature of the lower back and neck. Sleeping on the back makes the person more prone to mouth breathing, which leads to a wide variety of potential issues, such as dry gums, colds, inflammation and sleep apnea.

Sleeping on the stomach:

Sleeping on the stomach minimizes snoring and apnea while keeping the airways more open. This position can also provide some relief to back pain as there is no pressure on the spine, but it can add tension to the neck if the head is turned to the side. Putting pressure on muscles and joints may lead to tingling, numbness and aches.

Sleeping on the side:

Sleeping on the side is a common position and it minimizes snoring and mouth breathing. It is also favourable to minimize neck and back pain, but it leads to more facial wrinkles as one side of the face touches the pillow.

Sleeping on the left side:

Sleeping on the left side of the body promotes a better lymphatic drainage since the lymphatic system is more dominant on the left as waste products are purified and removed by the lymph nodes. Considering that the heart is also on the left, some recommend alternating positions, and waking up from the right side to avoid pressure on the heart.

Sleeping on the right side:

This is recommended to individuals with heart conditions as it lowers blood pressure and heart rate by slowing the sympathetic nervous system. This position avoids pressure on the heart and impact to blood circulation.

Fetal position:

Keeping the body in the fetal position seems to be the most favourite position. The body is curled up with knees bent providing a comfortable position physically and psychologically. Sleeping in the fetal position also minimizes snoring. Depending on some health conditions, such as arthritis, the body can feel sore or pain upon awakening. It is a good idea to place a pillow between the knees to protect them and the hips.

Yoga positions:

Yoga tradition doesn’t recommend sleeping in the same position for a prolonged period. Also, the sleeping position affects the activation of the energy channels in the body, known as the Sun and the Moon. Therefore, the positions should be adjusted depending on the physical and mental conditions of each person. Avoid sleeping with the head towards the North in the Northern hemisphere. This is recommended to avoid any pressure on the brain capillaries due to the earth’s magnetic fields. If your blood vessels are weak due to age or other conditions, the iron in the blood could generate increasing pressure and potential damage to the brain due to the magnetic pull.




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