Best Sleeping Positions

Wondering which sleeps spot is best? Check out the list below, from best to worst.

1. On Your Back

Though it is not the most favorite position—only eight percent of people sleep on their backs—it is still the best. By far the finest option for most people, sleeping on your back lets your head, neck, and spine to lay in a neutral position. It means that there’s no extra pressure on those areas, so you are less likely to experience discomfort. Sleeping facing up is also ideal for avoiding acid reflux. Just be sure to use a cushion that elevates and supports your head enough—you want your stomach to be below your esophagus to restrict food or acid from coming up. However, snoozing on your back can cause the tongue to block the breathing tube, making it a critical position for those who suffer from sleep apnea (a condition that causes periods of breathlessness). This pose can also produce snoring to be more severe.

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2. On Your Side

This position also helps decrease acid reflux, and since your spine is elongated, it wards off back and neck pain. Plus, you are less likely to snore in this snooze posture, because it keeps airways open. For that reason, it is also the best choice for individuals with sleep apnea. Fifteen percent of grown-ups choose to sleep on their side, but there’s one disadvantage: It can lead to wrinkles due to half of your face pushes against a pillow.

3. In the Fetal Position

41 percent of adults choose this option; it is the most popular sleep position. A relaxed, fetal position (where you are on your side, your torso hunches and your knees are bent)—particularly on your left side—is high if you are pregnant. That is because it improves circulation in your body and the fetus, and it prevents your uterus from pushing against your liver, which is on your right side. This pose is good for snorers too. However, resting in a fetal position that’s curled up too tightly can restrict breathing in your diaphragm. Moreover, it can leave you feeling a bit sore in the morning, especially if you have arthritis. Prevent these woes by aligning out your body as much as you can, instead of tucking your chin into your chest and dragging your knees up high. You can also reduce strain on your hips by placing a pillow between your knees.

4. On Your Stomach

While this is useful for easing snoring, it is bad for practically everything else. Seven percent of adults pick this pose, but it can lead to back and neck discomfort since it is hard to maintain your spine in a straight position. Plus, stomach sleepers put pressure on their muscles and joints, possibly leading to numbness, tingling, aches, and irritated nerves. It is best to choose another position, but if you must sleep on your abdomen, try lying face down to have upper airways open—instead of with your head turned to the side—with your forehead over a pillow to provide room to breathe.

Watch a video about the best positions for a better sleep.