By Andrea Romano
October 03, 2019

How tired you feel while you’re awake isn’t just a matter of how many hours you sleep, but it’s also about the position you’re sleeping in.

Sleeping in a certain position can have a huge impact on how you feel in the morning, Mic reported. Sleeping on your stomach or your back, or having too many pillows under your head, can put pressure on certain parts of your spine or joints, which can lead to pain, stiffness, or other health problems like sleep apnea.

This is why many doctors suggest sleeping on your side to get the best night of sleep. “It will help prevent stress points that may aggravate joints and connective tissue,” chiropractor Dr. Robert Hayden told Mic. Side sleeping can also open up your airways to reduce sleep apnea and allow more oxygen to enter the body, Dr. Natalie Dautovich added to the article. Better oxygen flow also means you’ll feel more refreshed and less tired in the morning (assuming you got seven to eight hours of sleep).

Specifically, sleeping on your left side has been recommended to pregnant women for decades as a way to take the pressure off the belly, reduce heartburn, aid breathing, and relieve back pain, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

It’s not always easy to sleep in a new position after you’ve gotten used to another, however. Plus, there’s little accounting for how often we toss and turn at night.

But if you are looking to help yourself get deeper, more restorative sleep, there are a few ways to keep your body on its side. According to Yahoo, doctors recommend using a pillow against your torso or between your knees and ankles, to help support your body, and to keep your head and pillow level with the mattress in order to ease pressure on your neck.

Once your body can fully relax without undue pressure on your joints, you may find that you can fall asleep just about anywhere.

Getty Images

Sleeping on your side doesn't mean you should be in fetal position, however. Dr. Dautovich told Mic this position can actually inhibit your breathing and cause unnecessary strain on the joints – which can basically negate all the benefits of sleeping on your side in the first place.

If you’re already a side sleeper and are still in need of better sleep, adjusting your bedtime routine may be the key to getting decent shut-eye. Try stretching, eliminating blue light from phones and laptop screens, or taking a bath or shower to relax and reduce stress.

This may mean you’ll have to invest in some firmer and fluffier pillows or even a new mattress, but who doesn’t love getting new bedding? If you’re one of those people who sleeps better in hotels than at home, there are even ways to make your own bed feel like it was made for a five-star resort.

Advertisement