When it comes to sleeping positions, most of us have a go-to. But your choice of snoozing situation might be impacting your overall health.
In his book, A Life Less Stressed, Dr Ron Ehrlich outlines the five pillars of health and wellness that help us live happier, healthier and more resilient lives. And sleep tops this list.
The holistic health expert says it’s the most important part of the day, affecting physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, and it’s the foundation for any wellness journey. It’s not just the quantity of sleep that’s important but the quality. In particular, how well you breathe while you sleep and the way you hit the hay plays an important role in this.
Here’s his take on the most common sleep positions.
“Stomach sleeping is the worst. It places strain on the muscles of the head, neck and jaw, strains the jaw joints, can also twist the lower back and pelvis. Imagine wringing out a wet towel and that’s pretty much what you do to your muscles and joints while you are asleep on your stomach. It can also restrict your ability to breathe well while sleeping.”
“Sleeping on your back is better, but it may also predispose your lower jaw, to which your tongue is attached, to drop to the back of the throat and restrict or even completely block your breathing and airway. It’s a problem that sometimes appears as snoring, but can also be obstructive sleep apnoea, which can dramatically affect your mental and physical health and even be life threatening.”
“Side sleeping is probably the best, particularly with a well supported pillow for your head and an additional pillow down by your side to support the leg not resting on the mattress. From a structural, neurological and muscular perspective, as well as for your airway it is kinder to the body. It also happens to be better for digestion, particularly lying on the left side, considering where the oesophagus enters the stomach.”
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