Research shows our preferred sleeping positions may be impacting us and causing health issues and that BMI and weight can impact one’s sleep position preference.Over half of Australians (55%) sleep on their side, which has proven to be the best sleeping position for optimum health.
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We’re all aware that the duration of our sleep each night impacts our wellbeing both physically and mentally, however research suggests that your sleeping position affects the quality of overall sleep and health as a consequence. Certain positions can intensify pain and result in sleep aprea, which are typically caused by sleeping on your back, also known as the cause of snoring.
New research from online mattress retailer Ecosa has found that as we get older, we are more likely to sleep on our side due to the increased effort for breathing needed to sleep on our front. 67% of Australian adults are obese or overweight, which contributes to the high number of side sleepers. Having less flexibility of the spine can also influence side sleeping.
More than 4,500 Australians took part in the sleep position preference survey which found that 15% of us sleep on our backs, 23% enjoy a freestyle position, and 6.7% of us are stomach sleepers.
“This data is consistent with European research, which found similar proportions of sleep position preference among adults,” says Ecosa CEO Ringo Chan. “In addition to the research showing the link between side sleeping and older age, BMI and weight can also impact ones sleep position preference.”
Sleeping on your left side in particular has proven to relieve back pain, reduce heartburn, improve digestion and boost the lymphatic system. 2
“Sleeping on your side allows the airways to open, permitting a steady flow of oxygen to the lungs,” adds Chan.
Chan says it’s important to be aware of health issues like respiratory problems which may arise from sleeping the wrong way. Sleeping on your stomach for instance, can make breathing difficult as it compromises your airway passages and leads to things like tingling joints and neck pain due to poor circulation.3 Sleeping on your stomach can also lead to the development of facial wrinkles. Propping your forehead on a pillow can help break this sleep habit as it gives you room to breathe with your spine in a neutral position.4
A minimum of eight hours sleep, the right sleeping position and a quality mattress are the three steps you should take to enjoy a pain free, blissful sleep every night.