Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your health and wellness, but what does a good night’s sleep look like in terms of your sleep posture? Everyone has their preferences for what’s most comfortable—some people swear by sleeping on their backs while others are strictly stomach or side sleepers. Which position is really best? The answer depends on a few factors.

Finding What’s Comfortable

If you are young and healthy, the best sleep position for you is simply a matter of what’s the most comfortable. However, stomach sleeping can be the most potentially problematic. Sleeping on your belly is the worst for spine support, so you may consider switching things up with a body pillow to help you transition to your side or back before any aches or pains kick in.

Taking Your Health into Account

Both side and back sleeping each have benefits and drawbacks, and the right choice may depend on your overall health. Side sleeping is preferred by about 60% of the population, and it has been shown to improve snoring (especially for those suffering from sleep apnea), reduce symptoms of heartburn, and ease neck pain. That being said—if heartburn is a problem—you’ll want to favor sleeping on your left side, as sleeping on the right side can worsen symptoms. If you struggle with low back pain, you may find that sleeping on your back yields the best alignment.

Choosing the Right Pillow

Part of finding the right sleep position includes investing in a good pillow. Side sleepers should look for a higher loft pillow that keeps the head more elevated. Adding a small pillow between your knees helps further improve spinal alignment to reduce pressure in the back and knees. For back sleepers, a lower pillow is ideal, as elevating the head too much can put excess strain on your neck.

Are you having trouble getting the nightly sleep you need? There are many reasons you may be missing out on your nightly rest ranging from respiratory illnesses to anxiety and depression. Find the medical help you may need to get back to bed with ease with a virtual visit from MeMD.

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