When it comes to getting a good night's rest, the side you sleep on can make a big difference. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, research suggests that sleeping on your left side may offer the most benefits for overall health. However, either side can provide relief from sleep apnea and chronic low back pain. The best sleeping position for you depends on the health issues you are facing.
For pregnant women and those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sleeping on the left side may be the most beneficial. On the other hand, those with heart failure may find more comfort on their right side. When lying on your back, your nostrils tend to close, which can lead to snoring. Sleeping on your left side can help open up your airways and make breathing easier.
Although sleeping on your right side can also provide relief, doctors believe that the left side is more effective. It is also the recommended sleeping position for people with sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back allows your body to rest in a neutral position and can help control pain, as well as reduce the risk of acid reflux episodes during the night. However, this position can also cause or worsen shoulder pain due to the pressure placed on the shoulder from the mattress.
Despite the debate between right and left sides, research suggests that sleeping on your back may be best for some people. Whether due to childhood habits or personal preference, some people prefer to sleep on their sides while others like to lie on their backs. Your airways are more likely to stay open if you sleep on your side, which can help prevent snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. Sleeping on your back also allows your body to rest in a neutral position while keeping your head above your chest, which is great for reducing heartburn pain and symptoms.
If you sleep on your side and suffer from neck pain, you may want to avoid using a down pillow and opt for a supportive latex pillow instead. Sleeping on your stomach is generally not recommended as it puts excessive strain on muscles, joints, and spine, leading to aches and pains. According to Mayo Clinic experts, sleeping on your back is actually the worst sleeping position, especially if you have sleep apnea. However, this position offers many potential benefits such as relief from back pain when used in combination with side sleeping. For pregnant women, there are signs that sleeping on their side may be more beneficial than other positions.
According to UC San Diego Health, sleeping on your back is an ideal option for those who want a good sleeping position to manage pain. Additionally, sleeping on your side is considered safer during pregnancy as it is associated with a lower risk of late stillbirth in some studies.