Sleeping positions explained

Sleeping positions explained

The English author Charles Dickens is regarded by many as the finest novelist of the Victorian era.

He wrote a number of great books in his lifetime including Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations. Not short on ideas for inspiring fictional characters, he also found time to write a number of novellas and hundreds of short stories.

It is said that writing is a discipline that requires considerable mental energy and so, it’s important for any practitioner of the art to get good quality sleep.

Dickens intuited the value of an uninterrupted nighttime’s slumber and was particular about how he slept. He believed that electromagnetic forces had an impact on how well he rested so he would always make sure his bed was positioned facing North. Known to move furniture around in hotels, he would only properly relax when his bed had been aligned.

Whilst science has yet to prove Dickens’ theory about bed arrangement, it has nonetheless shed some light on the impact of our bodies’ position on sleep.

The first thing to know is there’s no need to panic. There is no one best position to sleep in. The main thing is to find a position that you’re most comfortable with.

Below we summarise the pros and cons of the three most common positions:

Sleeping on your back

This is the best position for your spine as everything will be in alignment. If you have neck pain this is also the best position to help you recover faster. The bad news is that if you snore or suffer from sleep apnea this position will tend to make things worse.

Sleeping on your stomach

This is the worst position for your spine and general wellbeing. The reason is because it moves your spine into an unnatural position. Also when you turn your head on the pillow, this can cause further upper back and neck pain. Try to avoid sleeping like this if possible; the only real positive is this position can sometimes help with snoring.

Sleeping on your side

This is by far the most popular position in the world. This is just as well as this is also one of the best. Also known as the ‘fetal position,’ it helps you breathe more easily as your airways are more aligned and thus it helps to reduce snoring.

If you want to sleep like a pro you can add a pillow between your knees and another under your chest to help keep your body aligned. This will allow you to recover faster from back or neck pain. If you have indigestion, heartburn or you’re pregnant then sleep on your left side as this puts less pressure on your liver.

Your stomach also digests food more effectively on the left side because of its unique shape - sort of like a lima bean.

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