I suppose it’s an indication of little I used to think about sleep that it never occurred to me my sleeping position was in anyway abnormal. I fall asleep on my right hand side then often sleep on my stomach, head to one side if I wake up during the night. Turns out only about 7% of the population do this.
But is there a ‘best side’ to sleep on? The jury seems to be out but there are pros and cons to each sleeping position
If you sleep on your back (which I rarely do) it’s apparently good for your spine and preventing acid reflux but you are more likely to snore. On the other hand it may “maintain perky breasts” according to this article on the CNN website. (Probably not if you’ve had a couple of kids, I’d suggest)
Sleeping on your side – right or left – apparently makes it easier to breathe and helps to avoid heartburn and acid reflux. It also tends to be the most comfortable position if you’re pregnant, especially with a body pillow. However curling up in a foetal position is not good for your neck or spine.
Some experts say you’re better to sleep on your right hand side if you have a cardiac condition as it puts less stress on the heart. On the other hand sleeping on your left may be better for your liver and kidneys.
Sleeping on your front can put strain on your neck though this can be alleviated if you only have one or no pillows. (According to the Better Sleep Council this position makes me brash, outgoing, and very uncomfortable with criticism!)
On the other hand a recent survey came up with the finding that sleeping on the left of the bed (which I invariably do) makes you more cheerful and positive – but not as financially well off as those who sleep on the right. According to the … er… Daily Mail.
In the absence of any consensus it seems to me that there’s no reason to change your sleeping position if you sleep well or haven’t been advised to alter it by your doctor. On the other hand if you sleep badly – or snore loudly – it could be worth trying to make a change.
So what are you – a side, a back or a stomach sleeper and have you ever managed to change the way you sleep?