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What your sleep position says about YOU – and how to avoid back pain

SLEEP position can affect back pain, arthritis joint pain or can improve your snoring. Whether it’s on your back, side or front, your bed position could determine how easily you get to sleep. This is the best position to help you get to sleep.

Sleep could help to prevent you from feeling grumpy, stressed and lowers your risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to the NHS.

Naturalmat’s sleep expert Christabel Majendie explained – no matter the position you sleep in – good quality bedding is essential for a good night’s sleep.

She said: “Change your sheets no less than once every two weeks, better still once a week. This will minimize odours and dust mites, which can cause problems for people with allergies and asthma.

“In addition, clean sheets provide a more welcoming and comfortable environment, making you relaxed and therefore, in a better position to sleep.

“Using sheets made from natural fibres may improve the quality of your sleep as they are better at regulating body temperature compared to synthetic fibres, and they can absorb more moisture such as sweat, keeping you cool and dry.”

Most people need about eight hours of good-quality sleep a night to function properly but your sleeping position could be impacting how easily you get to sleep.

The best position is lying flat on your back, the National Sleep Foundation has revealed.

These are the health benefits – and drawbacks – of each sleeping position.

On your back

Lying on your back is the best position for sleeping, although only eight per cent of people do it, the foundation said.

The position allows the head, neck and spine to rest in a neutral position, it added.

“Sleeping facing the ceiling also ideal for warding off acid reflux,” it said.

“Just be sure to use a pillow that elevates and supports your head enough—you want your stomach to be below your oesophagus to prevent food or acid from coming up your digestive tract.”

But, for patients of sleep apnea, you should avoid sleeping on your back as the tongue could block the breathing tube.

On your side

Sleeping on your side could also help to prevent acid reflux.

It may also help to ward off back and neck pain as the spine is elongated, the National Sleep Foundation said.

“Plus, you’re less likely to snore in this snooze posture, because it keeps airways open.

“Fifteen per cent of adult choose to sleep on their side, but there’s one downside – it can lead to wrinkles, because half of your face pushes against a pillow.”

On your front

“While this is good for easing snoring, it’s bad for practically everything else,” the foundation warned.

It can cause back and neck pain, as the spine isn’t usually in a neutral position.

It also puts pressure on your muscles and joints, which causes numbness, tingling, and irritated joints.

“It’s best to try to choose another position, but if you must sleep on your stomach, try lying facedown to keep upper airways open—instead of with your head turned to one side—with your forehead propped up on a pillow to allow room to breathe.”

In the foetal position

Almost half of adults choose to sleep in the foetal position, where you’re on your side, with your torso haunched and your knees bent.

Snorers could benefit from sleeping in the foetal position, and it’s the best position for pregnant women.

But, it could restrict your breathing if you’re curled up too tight.

“Prevent these woes by straightening out your body as much as you can, instead of tucking your chin into your chest and pulling your knees up high.

“You can also reduce strain on your hips by placing a pillow between your knees.”

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