SLEEPING POSITIONS ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
Most adults consider a good nights rest as a paramount requirement for a quality life. Few regard the fact that there may be advantages to sleeping in one position over another sleeping position. The truth is that aside from the all-important matter of being comfortable, your sleeping posture influences the quality of your sleep. The position you assume to prepare for rest influences the time it takes for you to fall asleep. Furthermore, sleeping in certain ways is more beneficial to your health. It is interesting to note that there is a science that researches the intricacies of sleeping positions!
There are scientists and body language professionals that examine the relationship between sleep posture and temperament. Their analyses reveal that sleep positions are indicative of our emotional state, personal traits and attitudes to life. The research results are not surprising when one looks at the known effects of posture on self-confidence in an interview for example.
Their research even hints at a relationship between sleeping positions and the types of dreams one experiences.
Sleeping on your side
Resting on your side is by far the most common sleeping position. Sleeping in this position is associated with feelings of being at ease. Side-sleepers are also more, tolerant and exhibit a higher capacity for compromise. For those who sleep mainly on their right-hand side, there is a greater likelihood of an addiction to cigarettes and or caffeine. Left-hand side sleepers tend to be more artistic, innovative as well as academically accomplished.
The position of the arms of the side sleeper also has relevance concerning personal tendencies. Arms held at the sides of the sleeper indicate a trusting character and a rigid thinker. Widely spread arms imply a nature that inclines to self-criticism and suspicion of others. Sleepers who prefer a foetal position have a predisposition to be sensitive and anxious. The position denotes a need for comfort. A person who sleeps in this position may over analyse. On the positive side, this sleeper may also be meticulous and orderly. A foetal position sleeper can be reserved yet warm beneath the shy exterior.
Those sleeping on their left-hand side tend to have more nightmares than right-side sleepers.
Concerning health, there are many advantages to sleeping on one’s side. Snorers or those with sleep apnea and similar issues, breathe more comfortable while sleeping on their sides. It is a position that facilitates the opening of the airways. Christopher Winter is the medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center. He supports this finding in his research.
Furthermore, this position favours the spine and eases lower back pain. A marginally forward-curved back follows the original foetal position and removes stress from the spinal column. It soothes the impact of the day’s pressures on the back.
Researchers who focus on brain health have also done studies on animals. The aim is to ascertain whether or not brain health benefits from particular sleeping postures. The studies found that there are significant correlations, at least in mice. One such investigation discovered that right side sleepers have a reduced risk for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases of the central nervous system. Mice that sleep on their sides have an increase in the efficacy of their lymphatic systems. The lymphatic system is the waste disposal unit of the body. The elimination of damaging toxins is paramount in avoiding the development of any neurological disease. It is unclear as to whether the results are the same in humans. However, scientific evidence does support the fact that sleep plays a vital role in the removal of waste from the human brain.
According to Winter, sleeping on one’s left side, in particular, improves blood flow to the heart. The heart pumps blood into the body. After that, the blood circulates. The blood then re-enters the heart on the right side. Sleeping on the right exerts pressure on the blood vessels. Snoozing on the left side allows for unimpeded flow.
The study results recommend that pregnant women mainly do better by sleeping on their left side. The heart is already under extra strain to provide for the baby. Both mom and baby will benefit when the mother sleeps on her left-hand side.
The downside of sleeping on one’s side includes the possibility of waking up too early. Either arm can be compressed and either numb or become painful causing the sleeper to wake up. Blood circulation can be lost states Michael Breus, who is a certified sleep specialist and the author of ‘Good Night’.
Another disadvantage of sleeping on one’s side is for those who suffer from acid reflux issues. Sleeping on one’s side intensifies the problem. It is best for all those with digestive problems to sleep on their back instead.
SLEEPING ON YOUR BACK
Those who sleep on their backs tend to be more confident. They may also be obstinate and set high standards for themselves as well as others. Arms held at the sides indicate an inhibited nature. Arms and legs extended outwards denote a calm and unprejudiced state of mind.
Winter states that sleeping on one’s back provides a much more effective sleep. Those who fall asleep on their backs find they feel significantly more rested. It is the only sleep position that does not require readjustment during the night. The body’s weight is spread equally across the bone structure of the body. A far more peaceful night is guaranteed.
Also, sleeping on one’s back benefits lower back pain if a pillow supports the knees. When standing, the lumbar region is curved. This position places a strain on a lower backbone that is in a weakened or vulnerable state. Sleeping on one’s back can be very therapeutic for this condition. Raising the knees while lying on the back eliminates the inclination and need for the lumbar region to curve. As a result strain on the back is relieved, and deep sleep is more accessible. The position of the knees and back is similar to sleeping on one’s side with the additional benefits that accompany the even distribution of the skeletal frame.
Sleeping on the back is bad news for those that snore or have sleep apnea. The upper airway is at its’ most vulnerable. In this case, sleeping on the back exasperates the tendency to snore. Sleep apnea can worsen and its’ impact on one’s health increases.
People who are inclined to sleep on their stomachs are inclined to feel the need to defend themselves constantly. They tend to be over meticulous and are touchy when judged in any way.
Studies show that stomach sleepers are apt to feel overcome. They think they cannot manage their lives. Dreams are more clearly striking, extreme and erotic. The themes of their dreams can include feelings of physical constraint.
Back sleepers who snore can try to switch to sleeping on their stomachs. The advantage of sleeping on one’s stomach is that one is unlikely to snore. However, it is better for the airways to rest on one’s side. According to Winter, the advantages of sleeping on one’s stomach are few and far between.
Breus states that stomach sleeping position leads to back issues. The sleeper has to twist the neck to an extreme degree to accommodate the need to breathe. Neck issues are common even more so in those who sleep with the head on a pillow. The actual curve of the spine in this position places an excessive burden on the lower spinal column. Over an extended period of time-related back problems and low back pain can become a daily problem.
Sleeping positions are varied and individual, and they form over many years. Fortunately, patterns can change. Teach your body new habits, but be patient and persistent. It is best to sleep in a position more conducive to physical health and mental wellbeing. There is sufficient choice. Aside from the stomach sleeper position, all other sleeping positions have positive benefits for both body and mind.
Another important consideration is comfort level. You can find the best comfort level for your bed here