Who knew that sleeping positions could be so controversial? By now, you must be thinking, Watts, don’t you have anything better to write about. And, frankly, I’m asking the same question. My deadline is nearing, and I’ve been wracking my brain for topics. By now we are all tired of the unrelenting heat and writing more about it just sets off waves of depression. Hence, sleeping positions.
SLEEPING POSITIONS STUDIES
Did you realize there are scientists who study this stuff? They’ve looked at everyone from seafarers on container ships to welders in Nigeria. In Hong Kong, researchers are going so far as to develop a system that uses infrared depth cameras to detect a person’s sleep position even through a thick blanket.
In Denmark, researchers attached small motion-sensor detectors to volunteers’ limbs before they went to sleep. The results? The tested group spent just over half their time on their sides, around 38% on their backs, and 7% on their fronts. Older people spent more time on their sides.
SIDE SLEEPING POSITIONS PROS
Neck and back pain can be reduced by sleeping on your side and, according to the Mayo Clinic, is probably the best sleeping position.
The Sleep Foundation states that side sleeping is particularly beneficial for:
- Pregnant women
- People with acid reflux
- People with back pain
- People who snore or have sleep apnea
- Older people
But which side?
The Sleep Foundation recommends the left side because sleeping on the right may increase pressure on your internal organs, making heartburn, acid reflux, and related diseases worse.
SIDE SLEEPING POSITIONS CONS
There’s always a downside to everything, right? The bad news is side sleeping can cause wrinkles! Your face is pressed into the pillow for an extended length of time, stressing your skin, causing creases.
Additionally, sleeping this way for extended periods puts extra pressure on the shoulder you sleep on, as well as your hips and lower back. This can cause or worsen shoulder, hip, or lower back pain if your body is not properly aligned.
The solution is to rotate which side you sleep on.
THOUGHTS ON SLEEPING POSITIONS
Sigh. I’m just lucky to get to sleep at all. I usually start off on my back, trying to relax, but soon move to my side. Most nights I flip and flop, moving from one position to another. At least I don’t have to worry about getting wrinkles; I already have them.
Dang. I shouldn’t have written this. Now, when climbing into bed, achieving the perfect sleep position will leave me obsessed with my alignment at the very point when turning off my mind is imperative.
At times like this, I longingly recall the pre-Internet era. Anything not addressed in our home set of encyclopedias required a trip to the library. I can’t remember sleeping positions being a thing to stress over because we didn’t have the information at our fingertips to tell us we were doing something wrong. We just climbed in bed and went to sleep.
What’s your sleeping position?