person lying on their back in blue pyjamas in bed

Your Guide to Healthy Sleep Habits and Finding Your Ideal Sleep Position

Getting a good night's sleep is essential for maintaining overall health and wellbeing. One often overlooked factor in achieving quality sleep is the position you choose.

Whether you prefer to sleep on your back, side, or stomach, your sleep position can have a significant impact on your body and the quality of your rest.

In this guide, we'll explore the pros and cons of each sleep position and help you determine which one might be best for you.

Back Sleeping

Sleeping on your back is often considered the healthiest sleep position. It allows your head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position, minimizing pressure points and ensuring proper alignment.

This can help reduce pain and stiffness, particularly in the neck and lower back regions. Back sleeping can also be beneficial for those suffering from acid reflux, as it helps keep the head elevated above the stomach. Studies have shown that people sleeping on their left side get the best respite from acid reflux. 

However, back sleeping may not be suitable for everyone.

Person lying on their back sleeping in blue pyjamas

It can exacerbate snoring and sleep apnoea symptoms, as the tongue and soft tissues in the throat may relax and obstruct the airway. If you experience these issues, you may want to consider alternative sleep positions or consult with a healthcare professional.

Check out Putnams range of sleep apnoea products designed to make your life just that little bit easier. 

10% of the UK population in 2023 are back sleepers 

Side Sleeping

Side sleeping is the most common sleep position and can offer several health benefits.

When done correctly, with the right pillow support, side sleeping can help maintain spinal alignment and reduce pressure on the hips and shoulders. This position is particularly beneficial for those with chronic pain, as it can alleviate pressure on sensitive areas.

Person lying on their side in bed holding a pillow and sleeping

Sleeping on your left side can also aid digestion and help reduce heartburn symptoms. Additionally, left-side sleeping is often recommended during pregnancy, as it can improve circulation to the heart and the fetus.

However, side sleepers should be mindful of their pillow and mattress support to prevent neck and shoulder pain. A firm pillow that keeps the head and neck aligned with the spine is crucial for comfortable side sleeping.

80% of the UK population in 2023 are side sleepers


Stomach Sleeping

While stomach sleeping is the least common sleep position, some people find it more comfortable. Sleeping on your stomach can help alleviate snoring and sleep apnoea symptoms, as it keeps the airway more open.

person sleeping in bed with white linen

However, stomach sleeping can put significant strain on the neck and lower back, as it forces the spine into an unnatural position. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and long-term musculoskeletal issues.

If you prefer sleeping on your stomach, consider using a thin pillow or no pillow at all to minimize neck strain. You may also want to place a pillow under your hips to help maintain spinal alignment.

10% of the UK population in 2023 are front sleepers

Finding Your Ideal Sleep Position

Ultimately, the best sleep position is the one that allows you to get comfortable, restful sleep without causing pain or stiffness. Experimenting with different positions and making small adjustments to your pillow and mattress setup can help you find the ideal sleep position for your body.

If you experience chronic pain or discomfort, regardless of your sleep position, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They can help identify underlying issues and provide guidance on improving your sleep quality and overall health.

Remember, healthy sleep habits extend beyond just your sleep position. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensuring your sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to rest are all crucial elements of good sleep hygiene.

By understanding the pros and cons of different sleep positions and making informed choices about your sleep habits, you can take steps towards achieving the healthiest, most restful sleep possible.

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