Sleeping Positions – The Pros and Cons

Part of getting a good night’s rest lies in the way we sleep.  Everything from your mattress to your pillow to your sheets can affect it, and everything else in between.  Everyone has their favorite sleeping positions, but in fairness we all tend to shift and move throughout the night.  You may say “I like to sleep on my right side”, but your partner would say “No you don’t!”, and that is because we all tend to do what I like to call ‘The Crappie Flop’.  This is similar to a Crappie fish out of water.

The Crappie Flop

When you start out laying on your right side the bed is comfy and the air temperature is just right and you drift off easily into La La Land.  Then gradually you move a little, and then a little more, and the next thing you know you are on your left side.  Then back to your right side!  Then your left again!  Before you know it you’re on your backside snoring so loudly your long passed away ancestors take notice.  That’s the crappie flop.

If you are sleeping on an innerspring mattress flopping and moving around can be a major nuisance to your partner in bed next to you.  If you’re on a memory foam mattress you are less likely to annoy that person – because memory foam mattresses have what is called motion isolation.  If you want to read more about memory foam mattresses and their many benefits click here to go to my home page.

Sleeping Positions – Good and Bad

No matter what sleeping positions you like there are different benefits to the different positions of sleep.  Sleeping on the Left side is the most beneficial position, or that is what the experts seem to agree upon in our research on this subject.

The left side sleeping position is said to be one of the best.

The left side sleeping position is said to be one of the best.

Left Side Sleeper:  Is one of the healthiest sleep positions.  In this position the sleeper may be able to fall asleep easier, and has both good and bad benefits.

Pros:

  • Reduces snoring by elongating your spine.
  • Can help relieve back pain by relieving the pressure on the spine and make you feel comfortable.
  • Good for the heart.  It improves the circulation of blood and helps take off the pressure from the heart.
  • Allows gastric fluids to settle and helps with digestion and waste processing through your lower digestive track.
  • Great for Pregnancy as it increases the blood flow to the uterus, fetus, and kidneys, and helps in relieving the pressure from the back.
  • Can possibly reduce acid reflux symptoms by keeping your head elevated above the stomach.

Cons:

  • Bad for face and left breast.  Constant squishing of the face from one side and sagging of breast is prominent.

Right Side Sleeper:  Has some similar benefits to the left side position.

 

Pros:

  • Can also help reduce snoring by elongating your spine.
  • Can also help relieve back pain by relieving pressure in and around the spine helping you feel more comfortable.
  • Good for the heart, just like your left side.  Helps circulation.

Cons:

  • Usually makes acid reflux worse.
  • Not a good position to lay in to allow gastric fluids to do their thing.
  • Bad for your face and breast area.  The constant squishing of the face and breast sagging can be prominent and annoying.
Right side sleeping.

Right side sleeping.

The Back Position:

Pros: 

  • Prevents neck and back pain by maintaining a neutral position for head, neck and spine.
  • Using a bolster pillow beneath your knees is very useful for back sleep positions, allowing to take the pressure off your back.
  • This position is considered the best to help reduce acid reflux by elevating your head and back.
  • Helps minimize wrinkles as nothing pushes against your face.

Cons:

  • Bad for snoring!  However, there are few sleeping appliances out there that can help with snoring.  Ask your doctor or dentist for helpful tools.
  • This can also be the warmest sleeping position as heat tends to build underneath your back when sleeping.

The Fetal Position:  As far as sleep positions go, this one may feel comfortable but is mostly considered bad.

Pro:

  • Useful for pregnancy, to combine this position with the left side sleep position, using pillows between the knees, and not to mention it is helpful for those uncomfortable 9 months.

Cons:

  • Increases Arthritic Pain, having knees bent for along period of time during the night and may cause bad neck and spine posture.
  • Restricts Diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Premature Facial wrinkles from to much pressure on the face and breasts.

The Stomach Sleeper:  although this position is most commonly seen in young children, it is considered bad for adults. Other than an adult may consider that this is a good position to sleep, to each is own but physically it is considered bad, and should be avoided.

Pro:

  • Keeping your face down keeps your upper airways more open, so if you snore and are not suffering from neck and back pain this may a position may be worth a try to give your partner a break now and then.

Con:

  • As we age it is difficult to maintain a neutral spine position.  Stomach sleep positions put pressure on the joints and muscles which can irritate nerves and lead to numbness, tingling, and pain.
Back sleeping - good for acid reflux!

Back sleeping – good for acid reflux!

Sleeping Positions – The Conclusion

Those are the most common sleeping positions.  After reading all the good and bad things for each of the positions, you may be wondering how you keep from putting yourself in a sleep position that may cause pain or may have harmful effects.

What’s a person to do!?

Practicing the ‘left side’ position would be the best answer.  It certainly appears to have the best positive affects.  You can start by making a conscience effort by using additional pillows laying on your left side with a Bolster pillow between your knees.  Or using a full body pillow to hug to keep your shoulders and knees level.  You may also try placing a standard pillow along your backside to help keep you from rolling to your back or right side.  Also make sure you have a comfortable pillow under your head to give the proper support for your neck (a shredded memory foam pillow can do wonders).

Of course you can’t always sleep on your left side.  Even with a super comfy memory foam mattress you will need to adjust your position at some point in the night.  But there are certain benefits to making the left side a good ‘go to’ position from the other sleeping positions.

Finding a good bed can also help.  You may be surprised how little a memory foam mattress runs these days.  If that is something you may be interested in you can read more about affordable options on my memory foam mattress reviews.

I hope this was helpful for you and I hope this fixes the nasty ‘Crappie Flop’.

 

4 Replies to “Sleeping Positions – The Pros and Cons”

  1. Ami

    Okay, that I am on this page right now is a tad weird, or it’s the law of attraction at work lolz I was tossing and turning the whole night, barely had enough sleep. I Just woke up thinking how I could do with a new mattress (and bed for that matter)
    I am a die hard right side and stomach sleeper (both not so good apparently) but have slowly been trying to incorporate some back sleeping. Though I think my major problem is with my current mattress coz lately, no matter what side I sleep on, I wake up slightly tired.
    I have a question about memory foam mattresses. Does it mean that when you sleep on one side too long it leaves a depression? If it does, how long does that depression last? Thanks.

    Reply
    • TD Bauer Post author

      Hi Ami,

      Great question. Memory foam mattresses have something that is called “response time”. Response time is how long it takes for the bed to return to its original flat state when you get up from it, or if you change sleeping positions. Most memory foam beds return to their original state in thirty seconds or less. So the depression from where you were sleeping in whatever position you were sleeping in returns to normal. If you change positions the bed will contour and change with you.

      Memory foam mattresses are so much better than innerspring beds. If you are thinking about a new bed, they are certainly worth checking into.

      TD Bauer

      Reply
  2. asen

    Hello there,

    What an informative and interesting read.
    It is true that sleeping positions do matter but I think that it could be very difficult to control how we sleep.
    I like the fetal position the most1 How about you? Which one is considered as good for the health?

    Reply
    • TD Bauer Post author

      Hi Asen,

      I agree. It’s all very interesting but if you sleep better in one particular position and it you find out it may not be the most healthy… making a change can be a real pain in the butt! I tend to move from my left and right sides, and sometimes my back. But is also depends if I am at home or out of town on a business trip. If I have a bed to myself and don’t have to worry about my wife laying next to me, I tend to sprawl out all over the place!

      TD Bauer

      Reply

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