Sleep is essential, but quality sleep is something we often take too lightly. Recharging our batteries rarely takes precedence in the fast-paced society we live in, and it often comes back to bite us. Here’s a look at how the four most common sleeping positions can impact your quality of sleep and, subsequently, your energy levels throughout the day.

Starfish

The practice of sleeping on your back with arms faced upwards is commonly referred to as the starfish position. The first clear benefit of such a position is that your spine gets the support it needs throughout the night. Without your face constantly rubbing against your pillow, you can minimise the chances of an unwanted acne breakout and inhibit the development of wrinkles. (Doesn’t the latter sound especially appealing?)

Still, the starfish isn’t without its drawbacks. It increases the possibility of snoring, sleep apnea and may even cause the onset of acid reflux. Sleep experts also caution against placing the arms in such a position due to the increased pressure placed on one’s shoulders, which could eventually result in pain and discomfort. To circumvent this situation, try being a little creative with pillows – place them strategically so that your shoulders can receive the support they need.

Face-down

Sleeping face down on your stomach necessitates tilting your head at an angle to facilitate breathing. Unfortunately, this also leads to a buildup of tension at the neck and could result in a grumpy start to your day.

This position is also not particularly recommended because of the lack of support for the natural curvature of the spine. Try placing a pillow below your hips to ease some pressure off your joints and revel in the bliss of a good night’s sleep.

Foetal

While instinctively comforting, the position of tucking oneself into a ball with knees drawn to the chest and head tilted downwards complicates certain things. Extreme curling actually impairs deep respiration and may result in breathing discomfort throughout the night. A tightly held foetal position may also damage your spine over time, and restrict blood flow throughout your body.

However, for expectant mothers, sleeping in a gentle foetal position or lying on their side may provide them greater freedom of movement and allows the mattress to support their abdomen. Individuals who struggle with loud snoring may also consider sleeping in a loosely held foetal position.

On The Side

Resting on one’s side can be tricky. There’s the obvious question of whether you would lay on your left or right, and then the matter of whether your arms are on your side or stretched outwards. In any case, sleeping on your side is proven to be the most beneficial to the spine because its curve is supported in its natural position. In contrast to the other sleeping positions, it also helps to lower the risk of back and neck pain, as well as sleep apnea. However, gravity is regrettably working against you in this position, as sleeping on your side may contribute to premature skin aging resulting in facial wrinkles.

If you sleep with your arms out, you’re liable to restrict blood flow to your shoulders and arms, causing your arm to “fall asleep” or to become stiff and sore. If you can, try sleeping with your arms by your side instead!

Additionally, no matter which side you choose to sleep on, therein lies a catch. Sleeping on your left places you at a greater risk of heartburn, while sleeping on your right places an unnatural amount of pressure on organs like your liver, lungs and stomach (though admittedly reducing chances of acid reflux in the process).

Quick tip: Do yoga while you sleep!

Engage in the Savasana position – the act of sleeping on one’s back with arms to the side and a pillow tucked under the backs of your knees for greater spinal support. Small pillows are your friends – feel free to prop yourself in a better position and give yourself some extra support.

A good night’s sleep almost always positively impacts our daytime performance and helps to maximise productivity. Be aware of the pros and cons of each sleeping position and actively try to use pillows and various supports to ensure that your rest time leaves you fresh and raring to go in the morning!

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