This Is The Best Sleep Position For Deep, Uninterrupted Rest

Image by Tranquility / Contributor

From the fetal position to lying flat on your back, we all have our preferred sleeping position—but which one is really best in terms of getting deep, restorative sleep? To find out, we asked the experts. Here’s what they had to say.

What’s really the best sleeping position?

The best sleeping position for you is the one in which your spine is aligned, according to board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., and Nishi Bhopal, M.D., a psychiatrist specializing in sleep medicine.

As Bhopal tells mbg, this is going to be different for everyone. What really matters is finding a position that’s most comfortable for you that allows the spine to be aligned and supported, she says.

And according to Breus, this comes down to sleep posture more than your actual sleeping position. When lying down, your spine should follow its natural curves at the neck, the middle back, and the low back, he explains. “For these curves to fall naturally during sleep, the whole body must be supported,” he adds.

Typically, this is most easily achieved by lying on your back or your side. Sleeping on your stomach, Breus adds, doesn’t usually allow for spinal alignment.ADVERTISEMENT

Why does it matter?

For one thing, good sleep posture allows the body to fully relax and be supported, which can mitigate stiffness upon waking up. As Breus notes, poor sleep posture can worsen any existing discomfort you deal with in your hips, back shoulders, neck, etc., and create new issues like stiffness, especially at the joints.

“A strong sleep posture allows these natural curves to be maintained throughout the night, no crunching at your neck, no sagging of your lower back, no torqueing of your middle back,” he adds.

You’ll also want to make sure your pillow and mattress are supportive enough, he and Bhopal note. “Choose a pillow of the right thickness to keep your spine straight,” Bhopal advises, adding, “You can also use other blankets and pillows to support your back so that your muscles can relax and recover.”

The takeaway:

While there may be no universally “best” sleeping position, there is universally good sleep posture, and it all comes down to keeping your spine in alignment. If you’re frequently waking up stiff, your sleep posture could have something to do with it, so try adjusting your position and posture when you sleep to keep that spine straight—and make sure your pillow and mattress are supportive enough to help out.

When combined with other healthy nighttime habits like a calming wind-down routine, a healthy diet, and potentially a sleep supplement for extra support, the right posture can lead the way to the deep, uninterrupted rest we’re all craving.*


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