From heartburn relief to increasing the risk of sleep apnea, a news report from the Daily Mail examines the pros and cons of different sleeping positions.
ON YOUR BACK
If you have back pain, sleeping on your back, with a supportive pillow under your head and knees that’s just thick enough to keep your spine aligned, can help alleviate it – or at least, give you a relatively comfortable night’s sleep, says osteopath Amy Hope of Hope Osteopathy in London.
And you get better beauty sleep on your back, as cosmetic surgeon Dr Goesel Anson explains: ‘Because your face isn’t being pressed firmly into a pillow for six hours or more at a time, you’re less likely to get wrinkles and spots.’
When you lie face down, your face can get sweaty, which blocks pores.
Several credible studies have found that sleeping on your back – the supine position – can double the incidence of snoring and sleep apnoea, compared with sleeping on your side.
Sleep apnoea is when a lack of muscle tone in airways causes you to snore loudly and stop breathing for ten seconds or more during sleep, causing serious health problems, from excessive daytime drowsiness to high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.
Lying on your back can make it worse because gravity makes the tongue fall to the back of the throat, narrowing airways.
Sleeping on your back is also thought to exacerbate teeth grinding. In one study, sufferers averaged 19 jaw clenches an hour sleeping on their backs, compared with 13 clenches per hour sleeping on their sides.