Neuroscientists Recommend These Sleeping Positions
| LAST UPDATE 03/22/2023
Do you ever feel like being tired has become a part of your personality? It's no surprise that many of us struggle with sleep due to stress and pain, according to Dr. Dave Rabin, a neuroscientist, and board-certified psychiatrist. In his work with clients, he helps them recover from stress to improve sleep, which is essential to feeling better overall. After all, life can feel so much easier when we get proper sleep.
Did you know that stress, whether it be emotional, mental, or physical, increases inflammation in the body and can worsen our pain? It's a common reason why many people wake up with aches and pains or can't sleep due to chronic pain, according to Dr. Rabin. So what's the best way to sleep to avoid pain and feel comfortable? Well, that depends on our unique bodies. There's no one-size-fits-all sleep position, as the best position is one that prevents pain and supports posture. However, there are three main categories for sleep positions: side, back, and stomach.
Side sleeping tends to be the most comfortable position for people with back pain and can help reduce snoring, Dr. Rabin says. Sleeping on your left side may also be beneficial for pregnant people or those with gastrointestinal issues. However, it's generally not recommended for people with shoulder pain or anyone who is concerned about getting wrinkles on their chest and face. Sleeping on your back can be comfortable for people with back pain, especially with a well-supported, firmer mattress. Back sleeping also helps avoid wrinkles and can be helpful if you have a stuffy nose by propping your head and upper back with pillows. However, if you have sleep apnea, heartburn, or acid reflux, back sleeping can make it worse. Stomach sleeping is not generally recommended because it compresses the neck and can lead to pain and discomfort. It's also harder to keep your spine in a neutral position, which can cause back pain. If you can't switch positions, consider using a thin pillow or none at all to decrease neck strain and placing a thin pillow under your lower stomach/upper thigh to ease the strain on your spine.
Ultimately, discovering the right sleeping position can take some trial and error. Try experimenting with different pillows and mattresses, and pay attention to your pain and discomfort to find what works best for your body. After all, a comfortable, pain-free sleeper is the best sleeper!