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What Your Sleep Position Says about You

September 24, 2019 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Nilong Vyas, MD

Sleep is essential not only for healthy development but also for the maintenance of health. Most people are not getting enough sleep as it is, so in my opinion, any sleep position that allows you to get adequate sleep is the ideal position for you. If a particular position isn’t allowing for good-quality, restful sleep, then you should seek out a better position. Or if you are waking in pain or experiencing cramping in
an extremity such as an arm or leg after a full night’s sleep, it’s time to evaluate your sleep position.

What’s the absolute best sleep position? Unfortunately, research to answer this question reveals contradictory information, and the benefits of certain positions vary based on what is going on with an individual. For example, if you’re experiencing neck pain, back sleeping may help to eliminate that issue. However, if you suffer from sleep apnea, back sleeping is not helpful and can even be harmful. But most often, it has been shown that sleeping on your left side in the fetal position is the ideal sleeping position for most people. When you sleep on
your left side, it allows your body’s organs to better eliminate the waste in the intestines as well as promotes better blood flow through the major blood vessel in the body, the vena cava. This is also a good position if you suffer from neck pain or snore. Further, even though the body looks symmetrical on the outside, this isn’t the case on the inside. The heart, spleen, and stomach are all on the left side of the body, and because the aorta (the main blood vessel of the heart) arches over the left side of the heart, sleeping on your left side eliminates the possible congestion that can be created by sleeping on your right side. So sleeping on the left is better for your heart. Finally, sleeping on your left side levels off the acidic juices in your stomach and prevents the potential for reflux that can happen if you are a stomach sleeper.

Interestingly, your preferred sleep position can say a lot about your personality type. Stomach sleepers are known to be playful and free-spirited, but they can also experience chronic neck and back pain from this position, so they might want to consider a side-lying position. Back sleepers tend to be the strong and silent type, but as they get older, they may have difficulties with snoring or sleep apnea. However, back sleeping does help those with reflux and helps maintain the neutrality of the spine. The fetal position sleeper is known to be soft on the inside and hard on the outside. This may be the perfect “balance” of personality as it has been shown to be the best sleeping position for most people.

So what personality trait are you, and what sleep position do you fall into? And would you be willing to try it a different way tonight? If so, you may wake up feeling like a whole new person.

About the Author: Nilong Vyas, MD, is a mom of two children and the founder and owner of Sleepless in NOLA sleep consulting, in New Orleans, Louisiana.


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The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.