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Friday, 11 October 2019

Revealed: The best and worst sleeping positions for your body and health - and why you should consider ditching your pillow if you rest on your stomach

Getting a refreshing sleep isn't always just a matter of an early night, the position you sleep in can have also a significant effect on your health. 

New research commissioned by bedding specialists Ecosa observing the sleeping habits of 4,500 Australians found close to 50 per cent were sleeping in a way that caused health problems.

The survey also showed while certain positions negatively affected the body, some also affected the overall quality of a person's sleep. 
Ringo Chan, CEO of Ecosa, has ranked the five sleeping positions from best to worst - and revealed what you can do to break any bad habits. 

What is sleep apnoea? 

* Sleep apnoea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. 
* If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night's sleep, you might have sleep apnoea. 
 
1. Side position 
According to 55 per cent of Australians who took part in the questionnaire, side sleeping is a preferred position.
And it's one, Mr Chan said is also proven best for optimum health.
Side sleeping helps open the airways and is a position many people find comfortable and easy to settle into,' he told Daily Mail Australia.
'It's also safest for pregnant women, and can help reduce snoring for those with sleep apnoea.'
2.  Freestyle position
Data from the survey revealed freestyle sleeping, a way of sleeping that's not fixed to any one position, is the second most popular with 23 per cent saying its their preferred.
Mr Chan said while freestyle sleepers do move around a bit during the night, doing so was good for the body's circulation and nutrient distribution.
He added freestyle sleepers are more likely to wake up feeling fresher in the morning as their joints are won't stiffen during the night. 
Depending on the natural curvature of your spine, a pillow beneath your knees may help you transition to a back sleeping position.
If you are a side sleeper, placing a pillow between your knees when laying on your side can keep your hips balanced. 
Also, investing in a supportive, firm mattress can help you transition to a new sleeping position. 
When your mattress is too soft or sagging from age, you may be compensating by sleeping in positions that put your spine health at risk. 

 3. Back position
 Back sleeping ranked as the third most popular position with 15 per cent of those questioned saying it was their favoured sleeping style.
While fewer said they enjoyed this position, Mr Chan said he rated it as one that's best for your back.
'Laying on your back on a firm mattress is by far the best way to keep your spine aligned, and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your lower back, hips and knees.
He said while the position comes with upsides, it's worth noting sleeping on your back can increase snoring and sleep apnoea.
4. Stomach position
Data showed that just 6.7 per cent of participants who took part in the survey admitted to sleeping on their stomachs.
Healthline reports sleeping on your stomach has some benefits, including reducing snoring and diminishing sleep apnoea.
However, it's also taxing for your back and neck: The position can cause pain, headaches, and poor posture.
'If you do sleep on your stomach, your pillow height is critical to your neck health,' Mr Chan said.
'Generally, a very low pillow or no pillow at all is recommended for stomach sleepers, as the standard height of a pillow will raise your neck too high.
5. Fetal position
While this position wasn't rated in the survey, it's one many will be familiar with.
This style earns its name from being most similar to how a child might sleep, that is on their side with this legs curled up underneath them.
'The fetal position is a popular sleeping position for many,' said Mr Chan adding 'and can be a comfortable way to keep your spine protected and snoring at bay.' 

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