How Your Sleeping Position Can Impact Your Overall Health

How Your Sleeping Position Can Impact Your Overall Health

Sleep is a vital component of your overall health and well-being. When you don’t get enough sleep, your mind and your body suffer. And your sleeping position can have a lot to do with that.

Certain sleeping positions are better for your health than others. This is especially true if you suffer from conditions like neck pain, back pain, or sleep apnea.

If you’re concerned about how your sleep is affecting your health, the team at Delmarva Pain and Spine Center are here to help. Dr. Shachi Patel is our pain management specialist who helps you understand the best way to sleep to keep your pain in check.

Types of sleeping positions

Like most people, you probably look forward to crawling into bed after a long day at work or at home. After all, sleep is something your body and mind need to function and survive. 

When you get into bed, how do you normally lay? Do you start on your back and end up on your side? Or are you more of a face in the pillow belly sleeper?

There are many different positions that you can sleep in, but did you know that each one has a different impact on your body? The way you sleep has profound impacts on certain areas of your health.

There are three main sleeping positions — side sleeping, back sleeping, and stomach sleeping. While you may be more comfortable in one position than the others, it’s important to know how your sleeping position affects your body and health.

Sleeping positions and your health

Each type of sleeping position offers certain advantages and disadvantages to your health. Many factors play into this, including any medical conditions you have or problems with pain in your spine.

For instance, side sleeping is a great way to get quality sleep while keeping your spine in alignment. However, if you suffer from shoulder problems, sleeping on your side causes increased shoulder pain and tension.

The left side is generally the better side to sleep on, as sleeping on your right side puts increased strain on your internal organs. It also contributes to symptoms of reflux and heartburn, which is why if you’re a side sleeper, you should opt for the left side as much as possible.

Back sleepers are at risk for worsening sleep apnea and back pain in some cases. It’s not the recommended position for pregnancy, and puts increased strain on your back if you don’t have the right mattress. This may lead to chronic back pain from nightly muscle strain.

Stomach sleeping is the worst for your spine; it often causes neck and back pain, along with other issues. However, it can be beneficial if you have obstructive sleep apnea, as your risk of airway collapse is low.

Advantages to certain positions

Just like there are disadvantages to each sleeping position, they also each have a lot of benefits as well. If you’re dealing with chronic pain or medical problems, Dr. Patel discusses which sleeping position is most beneficial for you.

Some of the major benefits of each sleeping position include:


Sleeping on your back is a great way to keep your spine in alignment during rest. It’s great if you have low back pain or neck issues. Back sleepers also don’t suffer from congestion and stuffiness from allergies, as the position allows your sinuses to drain appropriately.


Side sleeping is by far the preferred method of rest. It has the most benefits to your health, especially when it comes to your spine.

Sleeping on your side helps to keep your hips, shoulders, and spine in good alignment, which decreases your risk of back or neck pain. It’s also good if you suffer from sleep apnea or heartburn, as it doesn’t provoke these conditions. 

As mentioned before, it’s often better to sleep on your left side, especially if you’re pregnant or suffer from acid reflux.


Stomach sleeping is not the greatest way to spend your night, and is the least utilized position for sleep. One advantage comes when you snore or have sleep apnea. Sleeping on your stomach keeps your airway open, decreasing your risk for sleep apnea symptoms.

However, it’s hard to keep your spine in alignment when you’re on your stomach. It also makes it harder for your lungs to breathe, as they have to work against the gravity of your body. It’s also not recommended in pregnancy.

If you’re looking to improve your health through your sleep, don’t hesitate to call our office today at 302-355-0900 to schedule a consultation. You can also book an appointment with our team on the website.

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