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Best And Worst Sleep Positions For Your Health

Health.com     First Posted: 04/24/11 11:56 AM ET   Updated: 06/24/11 06:12 AM ET

Your preferred p.m. pose could be giving you back and neck pain, tummy troubles, even premature wrinkles. Discover the best positions for your body--plus the one you may want to avoid.

The Best: Back Position
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Good for: Preventing neck and back pain, reducing acid reflux, minimizing wrinkles, maintaining perky breasts

Bad for: Snoring

The scoop: Sleeping on your back makes it easy for your head, neck and spine to maintain a neutral position. You're not forcing any extra curves into your back, says Steven Diamant, a chiropractor in New York City. It's also ideal for fighting acid reflux, Dr. Olson says: "If the head is elevated, your stomach will be below your esophagus so acid or food can't come back up."

Back-sleeping also helps prevent wrinkles, because nothing is pushing against your face, notes Dee Anna Glaser, M.D., a professor of dermatology at Saint Louis University. And the weight of your breasts is fully supported, reducing sagginess.

Consider this: "Snoring is usually most frequent and severe when sleeping on the back," Dr. Olson says.

Perfect pillow: One puffy one. The goal is to keep your head and neck supported without propping your head up too much.

More from Health.com:

7 Tips For The Best Sleep Ever

The 6 Best Pillows For Every Sleep Position

6 Smart Shopping Tips For Buying A Better Mattress
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Swear you don't move at all at night?

Think again. While you generally spend the most time in the position you fall asleep in, even those who barely have to make their beds in the morning move two to four times an hour, which may add up to 20 or more tosses and turns a night, says Eric Olson, M.D., co-director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota. "That's completely normal, and you'll still go into deep REM sleep, the restorative kind," he says.

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Filed by Laura Schocker  |