Sleeping Positions

Is it true that sleeping positions can affect your health? And if so then how?

On your back and arms to the side (the ‘soldier’): it is said to be the best for the spine as long as you do not use too many pillows but sleep apnoea (may be loud snoring or the cessation of breathing for a time) is strongly associated with this position. Add a pillow or towel under knees to reduce strain on the back. Avoid during later stages of pregnancy due to the effect on the blood flow.

Face down/On your tummy (the ‘freefaller’): This puts a large amount of strain on your neck and commonly leads to strain of the neck or wry neck (torticollis). Also can lead to back pain as the curves are not supported. Place a towel under hips. For infants less than 1 year old sleeping in this position has been linked to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and should be avoided completely.

Side sleeping (the ‘log’): Side-sleeping is great for overall health it reduces snoring and keeps your spine elongated. If you suffer from acid reflux, this is the next best thing to sleeping on your back. If the arm is under the body this can restrict blood flow and put increased pressure on nerves.  For pregnant women it is ideal and good for blood circulation.

Fetal position (the ‘foetus’): This position is only recommended for pregnant women. Sleeping with the knees close to the chest can leave you with pain in the back and joints and restricts normal breathing.

Not sure what position is the best for your condition? Come in for a consultation at Physio Savvy and get some advice on position, pillows and mattresses.

Sweet dreams!


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Karishma Jhaveri

Karishma Jhaveri

Physiotherapist at Physio Savvy
Karishma completed her Bachelors in Physiotherapy from Manipal, India and has also completed Mulligan therapy certificaion. In Manipal Hospital, she worked for 3 years in clinical placement under several areas including diabetic clinic, pediatric wards, burns ICU and cardiac ICU. She then continued working in Mumbai under the President of Indian Association of physiotherapy Dr Ali Irani. Her work also includes health surveys in India for WHO in rural parts near Manipal, and she has taken a special interest in working with children.
Karishma Jhaveri

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Posted in Musculoskeletal Disorders.