Have you ever thought about how much time you spend in bed? With the average adult clocking up around 6-9 hours a night, that’s over a quarter of our lives spent in bed. Don’t we owe it to our bodies to make sure they are well supported?

Bad posture in bed can cause back and neck pain, and in some cases be the cause of sleep apnea, muscle cramping, and impaired circulation. If you’ve become used to sleeping in a bad position, you may find yourself waking regularly and never quite feeling refreshed in the morning.

So, what’s the best body position to sleep in, and how can you find your ideal sleeping posture so you ultimately get a better night’s sleep?

How to find the perfect sleeping posture

It may surprise you that the healthiest position is not always the comfiest position when it comes to ideal sleeping posture. Just because you feel comfortable when you lie down, doesn’t mean your body is being supported in the right way. It may just mean that you’ve become so used to the position you tend to sleep in that it is a comforting habit.

Whether you choose to sleep on your back, front or side, there are pros and cons. So read on to find out how to achieve the healthiest sleeping posture you can (and look out for those bad positions to sleep in!):

Is it bad for you to sleep on your stomach?

Unfortunately for those of you who are in the habit of sleeping on your belly, stomach sleeping tops the list of bad positions to sleep in.

Pros: Good for reducing snoring, but that’s about it!

Cons: If you sleep on your stomach your spine will not be in alignment due to the need to twist your neck to one side. This can also put pressure on muscles and joints, which can lead to numbness and tingling.

Is sleeping on your back good for you?

Does sleeping on your back help posture? The quick answer is yes, but it can have some unwanted side effects.

Pros: Best for keeping your spine and neck in a neutral position, so great for reducing aches and pains.

Cons: Can cause snoring by allowing your tongue to flop backwards and partially blocking your breathing tube. Snoring can cause sleeplessness for both you and your partner and can be risky if you suffer from sleep apnea.

Sleeping on your side: Is this the ideal sleeping posture?

There are two different ways of sleeping on your side, both of which can improve sleep posture.

Keeping legs relatively straight:

Pros: This reduces back and neck pain by elongating the spine. It also reduces acid reflux and you’ll be less likely to snore.

Cons: Some believe this position can increase wrinkles as half of your face is pushed into the pillow. Also, having straight legs can mean less stability, meaning you may find it harder to get comfy like this.

Side sleeping with legs bent – this is the most popular sleeping position:

Pros: This can be the most natural position to sleep in, providing support and balance.

Cons: Curling up tight can restrict airflow to and from your diaphragm. It can also leave you feeling stiff and sore if you suffer from arthritis and joint pain. Ease this by making sure you don’t curl up too tight, and reduce strain on your hips by placing a pillow between your legs.

How to improve sleep posture

Whether you choose to sleep on your back or on your side, make sure your neck and spine are supported. For the perfect sleeping posture your body should be supported at every point that it meets the mattress. Your mattress should mold to your body (without restricting movement) to keep your spine aligned, and your joints should not be put under pressure. This will lessen the chances you’ll wake up with aches and pains, and should make sure you get a much more settled night’s sleep.

To check for the perfect sleeping posture, lie in your preferred sleeping position (on your back or side) and carry out these tests:
  • When lying on your back, can you feel the mattress at the backs of your knees? If you answer yes, this is an ideal sleeping posture.
  • Can you fit your hand between the small (or side) of your back and the mattress? If you can this may mean your mattress is not offering enough support.
It’s commonly believed that you need a firm mattress for better support, but this is not necessarily true. Do the tests above, and you may find that a softer mattress can actually give you more support.

Does memory foam help you achieve the ideal sleeping posture?

We always hear that memory foam helps support the body, evenly distributes pressure and reduce aches and pains by allowing the foam to mold to the body. This may be true in principle, however there are downsides too. The foam uses body heat to soften and mold itself around the body. This heat has nowhere to go and so reflects back leading to overheating, night sweats and regular waking. Memory foam can also disrupt your natural need for movement throughout the night. On average we toss and turn 70 times a night – this does not normally wake us. However, memory foam cradles the body so much that it prevents this movement meaning you’ll be more prone to waking from discomfort.

Learn more about whether your memory foam mattress is stopping you sleeping.

So remember, the healthiest sleeping postures are those that put the least strain on your body, in particular the neck and back. Ideally you should sleep on your side or back for minimum impact on your spine and joints. And you should choose a mattress you can sink into a little so that all parts of your body are supported.

Want to increase your comfort further? Discover luxury wool comforters – the natural way to a better night’s sleep.