What’s the Perfect Sleep Position?

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We all have our natural positions that we automatically place ourselves in when we sleep but how should we sleep? Should we sleep on our backs, our sides or our bellies? Well, that all depends on what type of medical history you have and what ailments you currently live with.

One of the most common sleeping problems that most of experience at some point in our lives is snoring. Snoring occurs when the air way is partially blocked either due to inflammation, mucus, or some other blockage such as a growth or malfunction in the way your airway is situated. When your airway is blocked your blood oxygen levels can drop causing headaches or even increases of blood pressure due to the release of stress hormones that are associated with reduced oxygen levels. For these individuals sleeping on either of your sides can help but sleeping on a 45 degree incline can greatly reduce incidence of snoring. This can be achieved by the aide of a sleeping wedge.

Another ailment that is common among most adult Americans is back pain. This can be due to injury, disease or problem with the structure of the spine itself. When living with back pain you are well off to sleep on your back with a small pillow under your head and another pillow under your knees to keep them elevated. This helps to maintain a curve in your back that is naturally occurring. If you have knee pain this position can be helpful to relieve knee pain as well because you reduce pressure on your knees that sleeping on your side or belly can cause.

When you have hip pain it is beneficial to sleep on your side but more specifically on the side that is affected by the pain or injury. This takes pressure off of the joint and allows you to stretch the joint. A pillow between the knees can also help with maintaining alignment as you sleep.

 If you have an abnormality in the structure of your lungs due to cancer, injury or disease, sleeping on the affected can help. This allows the least injured or healthiest to full expand and helps reduce pain from overtaxing the injured or damages lung. It also helps keep your blood oxygen levels at a healthy level.

For shoulder pain sleeping on your back with a small pillow under your affected shoulder can help. This reduces pressure as well as give support to the injured or unhealthy tissues that surround the underlying structures such as bone and tendon.

If you suffer from heartburn or acid reflux sleeping on your back with extra pillows under your head and upper body may seem like the solution but this does nothing to alleviate the underlying cause of the heartburn. This is causes by a valve that closes your stomach off from the muscles of your esophagus. When this valve is faulty it can allow the acid to flow back in to your esophagus and throat causing potential tissue damage as well as discomfort. To help align the stomach and the esophagus thus reducing acid reflux you might want to sleep on your left side with the head of your bed elevated by a wedge or other device.

Of course, if you have an ailment that gives you difficulty while sleeping always consult your physician to develop the best total care plan for you.

Tim Rush