Sleeping on your left side is thought to have the greatest benefits for your overall health. Even so, either side can offer benefits in terms of sleep apnea and relief from chronic low back pain. You don't have to stay with one side all night. Feel free to start on the left side and see how your body feels.
Whether you should sleep on your right or left side depends on the health problems you face. The left side may provide more benefits, especially for women who are pregnant or experiencing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). People with these conditions may want to take special care to sleep on their left side. However, people with heart failure may experience discomfort on the left side and instead prefer to sleep on their right side.
When you rest on your back, your nostrils tend to close, which can cause you to snore. Sleeping on your left side can help open your airways naturally and make breathing easier. You can also find relief if you rest on your right side, but doctors think sleeping on your left side is more effective. It is also the recommended sleeping position for people with sleep apnea.
Sleeping on your back allows the body to rest in a neutral position, can help control pain, and can minimize the likelihood of acid reflux episodes during the night. Sleeping on your side can also cause or exacerbate existing shoulder pain, as you are putting more pressure on your shoulder in front of the mattress. Despite the back-and-forth debate between the right and left side, research suggests that sleeping on your back may be the best position for some people. However, sleeping on your back is also a good position, especially if you want to prevent or relieve back pain.
Whether because of habits formed in childhood or simply because of personal preferences, some like to sleep on their side, while others like to lie on their backs. Your airway is also more likely to stay clear if you lie on your side, preventing snoring and sleep apnea symptoms. Sleeping on your back allows your body to rest in a neutral position while keeping your head positioned above your chest, which is great for minimizing heartburn pain and symptoms. If you sleep on your side and are prone to neck pain, you may want to avoid using a down pillow and opt for a supportive latex pillow instead.
While you may find it comfortable, sleeping on your stomach is generally not recommended for most people, as it puts excessive strain on your muscles, joints, and spine, which can lead to aches and pains. However, Mayo Clinic experts say that sleeping on your back is actually the worst sleeping position, especially if you have sleep apnea. The back sleeping position offers many potential benefits, including relief from back pain, especially when used in combination with side sleeping. Sleeping in the wrong position, such as on your stomach, can increase the amount of pressure on your spine and cause pain when you wake up.
There are some signs that sleeping on your side during pregnancy may be more beneficial than other sleeping 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. Sleeping on your side is considered safer during pregnancy, as sleeping on your back is associated with an increased risk of late stillbirth in some studies.