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The Effects of Different Sleep Positions
We all have our different preferences on what sleep position is most comfortable. There are Pros and Cons to each position that can lead to long term effects.
Sleeping on your back keeps the spine and neck aligned. Ideally, all of us would be sleeping on our backs without pillows to keep the neck in a completely neutral position. Facing up as opposed to smooshing your face into a pillow results in fewer facial wrinkles. However, back sleeping will amplify snoring or sleep apnea for those who suffer from it. This is due to the back of the tongue collapsing into the airway when lying on the back, which obstructs breathing and generates those snoring sounds.
Side sleeping is the most common position. If you are a side sleeper, it is most recommended that you sleep on the left side. Because of the location of the body’s organs, this is more conducive to digestion, blood circulation, and alleviating acid reflux and heartburn. However, it can also put pressure on the stomach and lungs, so it’s good to regularly switch up your position. The most common effect of side sleeping is the tendency to cause arm numbness from resting on one arm for too long, as well as potential shoulder stress.
Sleeping on your stomach helps ease snoring, and may be pleasing if you’re especially exhausted. Otherwise, sleeping on your stomach is probably the least ideal sleeping position. It flattens the natural curve of the spine, increasing risk of lower back pain. Your neck will be strained from your head being turned to one side. If you’re going to sleep in this position, it’s worth placing a pillow under your hips to give the bottom spine some relief.