What is the best sleeping position according to science?

If you live somewhere that was recently affected by a heat wave, chances are you’ve spent your nights tossing and turning, Try different positions to feel comfortable. But what does science say about the best sleeping positions?

Studies of many people, from seafarers on cargo ships to welders in Nigeria, can help us answer this question, but given the importance of sleep to us, Surprisingly, very few large-scale studies have been done..

First, you need to find a way to find out what position people sleep in.image acquisition

Firstly, You need to find a way to find out what position people sleep in. You can ask, of course, but we only remember the position we were in when we tried to fall asleep and the position in which we woke up.

To find out more, the researchers tested a number of technologies including Photographing people when they sleep Or have them use wearable technology to monitor their movements.

In Hong Kong, researchers are developing a system that uses infrared depth cameras that can detect the position of a person sleeping even through a thick blanket.

researchers in Denmark They used small motion sensors on the legs, back and arms From volunteers to establish their favorite positions.

On the other hand, babies mostly sleep on their backs because they are placed this way in the crib for safety reasons.Getty m.

They found that during the time they spent in bed, People sleep on their sides just over half the time, 38% sleep on their backs, and 7% sleep on their stomachs.. The older they get, the more time they spend on the side.

this Preferring to sleep on the side It’s something we only develop as we get older, because babies over the age of three sleep on average the same amount of time on their sides, backs, and stomachs.

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On the other hand, babies mostly sleep on their backs. Because they were put like this in the crib for safety reasons. So Side sleeping is the most common position We can trust the wisdom of the crowd to choose the best position, but what does the science say?

A small-scale observational study found that volunteers were able to sleep however they wanted Those who slept on the right side slept slightly better than those who slept on the left sideThey are followed by those who sleep on their backs.

Another small-scale study looked at how sailors working on a cargo ship slept and found this Respiratory problemsIt, like snoring, was more common when sailors slept on their backs.

Snoring is more common when sleeping on your backimage acquisition

some snoring They are caused by severe obstructive sleep apnea, in which breathing stops and starts again when a person falls asleep. This is more common in people who sleep frequently on their backs..

Instead, sleeping on your side helps clear the upper airway and prevents the uvula (the fleshy part that hangs at the back of the throat) and tongue from blocking the throat, which reduces snoring.

In fact, in some cases, switching from back sleeping to side sleeping completely resolves the problem of sleep apnea.

Side sleeping can have other benefits, too. For example, research on sleep patterns among welders on cargo ships in Nigeria showed that back sleepers were more likely to experience back pain than side sleepers.

but, This is not to say that sleeping on your side is good for everyone or a panacea for all aches and pains.. It depends on your problem and the exact position you take when sleeping.

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Researchers in Western Australia monitored volunteers’ rooms 12 hours a night using automated cameras and found this Those who said they were generally awakened by a stiff neck spent more time in what the researchers described as “provocative side sleeping positions.”. In this context, this phrase means sleeping on your side in a contorted position, for example, with one thigh rolled over the other and the spine flexed.

Not everyone feels comfortable sleeping on their sideimage acquisition

by contrast, People who sleep in a straighter side position, and with more support, report less neck pain. What the study couldn’t detect was whether the “provocative” position caused neck pain, or whether subjects adopted this position because it was the only comfortable position due to neck pain.

So what about people who try sleeping in a new position and then follow up to see if it makes a difference in the pain they feel?

In a study of older adults who were doing a training program in Portugal, People with back pain were asked to sleep on their sideand those who suffer from neck pain try to sleep on their backs.

After four weeks, 90% of the participants said their pain had decreased. However, since only 20 people participated in the study, it cannot be concluded that this simple change in posture can have a positive effect on all people with neck and back pain. c.Always in the field of scientific research, more studies are required.

If you suffer from heartburn or GERD, try sleeping on your left sideimage acquisition

For a particular medical issue, it’s not just about sleeping on your side, but about a specific problem in particular. When there is acid reflux, gastric juices rise from the stomach, causing an intense burning sensation in the chest.

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Sometimes doctors recommend sleeping elevated with several pillows to relieve symptoms.. If the discomfort recurs, the problem is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, which can have severe consequences.

It is not clear why this happens, but one possible explanation is that sleeping on the left side keeps the junction between the stomach and esophagus above the level of stomach acid.

Sleeping on the right side relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing acid to escape. Whatever the answer, if you suffer from heartburn, there’s no harm in trying to sleep more on your left side in the future.

And what about those who – a small minority – sleep face down? For starters, one study suggests that it’s not a good idea if you have jaw pain, which isn’t surprising.

What about wrinkles? Will sleeping with your face pressed against the pillow definitely make it worse?

If you suffer from heartburn or GERD, try sleeping on your left side.image acquisition

In the Journal of Plastic Surgery, a group of plastic surgeons explain that facial skin is best preserved if you treat it “like floating seaweed while attached to a stem.”

So the idea is Put as little pressure as possible on your face while you were sleeping This excludes the possibility of doing it upside down. And if preserving your skin is more important than getting better sleep or dealing with aches and reflux, sleeping on your side isn’t ideal, either.

What do we conclude from all this? First, all things being equal, sleeping on your side seems to have many advantages, but your exact position can have an effect on neck and back pain, and the side you sleep on can either increase or decrease heartburn.

Snoring increases if you sleep on your back, but it may be the best way to sleep for you. It is worth trying new positions and keeping a journal if your current position does not allow you to sleep well. But try not to get too hung up on different situations, otherwise This anxiety will rob your sleep.

* Written by Claudia Hammond

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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