We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep. Without it, we’ll feel tired, sluggish, irritable, and be unable to concentrate or perform to the best of our abilities.
Unfortunately, it’s estimated that about one in three people don’t get good sleep at night, according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the good news is, there may be something that can be done about it with the right sleep position and the right mattress and pillow for optimal support and comfort.
Let’s take a look at the different sleep positions, which ones may be better for a more restful sleep, and some products that may help you get the best sleep possible.
Types of Sleeping Positions
As you might have guessed, there are different sleeping positions. And each individual may have his or her own preferred sleeping position, though several positions may be tried through the night.
Sleep positions can be broadly categorized as side position, back position, and stomach position. That said, there are variations of these categories, including the following:
Side Position Variations
Fetal position – This side sleeping position resembles the way a fetus would be rest inside the womb and is characterized by bent knees tucked into the torso. It’s estimated that about 41% of people slept in this way for at least part of their nightly slumber. Some people insert a pillow in between their knees to relieve pressure on the back and hips to make the position more comfortable.
Log position – People who sleep in the log side sleeping position resemble a log because their arms are extended down along their bodies and their legs are relatively straight. This is not a common way to sleep as only about 6% of people sleep in the log sleeping position.
Yearner position – Rather than sleeping with their arms straight down at their sides as in the log position, those who sleep in the yearner position have their arms stretched out in front of other bodies. Approximately 13% of people sleep this way.
Spooning position – This position requires another individual to be sleeping in the same bed and involves one individual facing the other’s back and holding that person close. Essentially, the person behind is serving as the “spoon” in this position while holding the other individual.
Back Position Variations
Soldier position – Only about 8% of people sleep in the soldier position, which involves sleeping on a person’s back with their arms straight down close to their body, as a soldier would be standing on guard. These sleepers are more likely to not change positions very often compared to other sleep positions.
Starfish position – These back sleepers sleep on their backs with their arms over their heads and are more likely to sleepwalk compared to other sleep positions.
Stomach Position Variations
Freefall position – About 17% of people claim to sleep in the freefall position, which involves sleeping on one’s stomach with the head turned to the side and arms tucked underneath or around the pillow.
Pros and Cons of Each Sleeping Position
There are some benefits to certain sleeping positions and some drawbacks to others. Let’s go over some of the pros and cons of each sleep position:
- Eases snoring by moving any obstructions in the airways out of the way
- May aggravate certain medical conditions
- May cause neck and back pain because the neck and spine are not in a neutral position
- May place pressure on nerves, causing numbness and nerve pain
- Less neck pain because the head, neck, and spine are in a neutral position
- May help alleviate heartburn
- May cause lower back pain
- May exacerbate existing back pain
- May aggravate snoring or sleep apnea
- Not recommended during late pregnancy
- May help with snoring
- May be good for the brain, as science suggests that side sleeping can allow the brain to eliminate waste more efficiently
- Restricts the diaphragm, making it more difficult to breathe more deeply
- May aggravate arthritic pain
- May cause wrinkles in the face over time as the face is pressed into the pillow for long periods
- May cause breast sagging because of the gradual stretching of the breast ligament
Best Pillow Types For Each Sleep Position
Depending on the way you sleep at night, you may want to tailor your pillow type. Here are the best pillow types for each sleep position.
If you sleep on your side, you may want to look for pillows that have a fuller shape to support your neck and keep your spine aligned properly. As far as materials go, memory foam tends to work well because they can contour to your shape and fill in any videos that would otherwise cause neck pain.
Here are some pillows you may want to check out:
Royal Therapy Memory Foam Pillow
This therapy pillow is made with memory foam to”remember” the curvature of your neck, shoulders, and spine. This helps ensure that your neck and spine are properly aligned while sleeping on your side and minimizing any pain or discomfort you feel as a result of having your neck bent all night. This pillow is not only good for side sleepers but back and stomach sleepers, too.
Cushion Lab Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
Great for side sleepers as well as back and stomach sleepers, this Cushion Lab memory foam pillow is stuffed with dense Hyperfoam filling for impeccable comfort, and covered in a hypoallergenic bamboo cover that’s highly breathable with 3D wave cooling air channels to keep you cool and comfortable while you sleep.
Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow
Made from memory foam and microfiber, this adjustable pillow provides the perfect balance between comfort and support for side sleepers to get the most restful sleep. The unique adjustable design allows you to add or take out the memory foam fill for a fully customized experience. Your neck and spine with be perfectly aligned to eliminate pain and discomfort and instead promoted the best sleep you’ll ever have.
Coliseum Back Sleeper Cervical Pillow
If you’re looking for the ultimate in upper back and shoulder support while you sleep on your back, this is the pillow for you. This orthopedic pillow is made of 60 dense high-quality memory foam pieces to keep it firm while supporting your neck and head at the same time. It’s the ideal pillow to keep your back and neck aligned that might be difficult with a traditional soft pillow. The hole is designed to support your head and reduce the pressure off the back of your head when you sleep on your back.
TravelEase Contour Memory Foam Pillow
You’ll never be as comfortable sleeping on your back as you will be when sleeping in this TravelEase Contour Memory Foam Pillow. Made from organic bamboo charcoal memory foam, this pillow makes an ideal choice whether sleeping in your own bed or even on your travels. It releases negative ions, which can help relieve tension and stress by balancing with the positive ions released by electronics in your home.
The unique butterfly-wing shape was designed with ergonomic shapes in mind and is not only perfect for when you’re sleeping on your back, but also when you sleep on your side and stomach, too.
Milemont Memory Foam Pillow
Whether you’re looking for a pillow to suit your back sleep position or need something to ease your neck and shoulder pain while you sleep, this pillow makes the perfect choice. The contouring allows for proper alignment of your spine that can relieve and avoid pain in your head, neck, and shoulders. Thanks to its memory foam, this pillow is able to retain its shape use after use.
Belly Sleep Gel Infused Memory Foam Pillow
Keeping your back and neck aligned when sleeping on your stomach can be difficult, but not with this pillow. Designed with curved edges that reduce neck and head rotation, this pillow can help maintain neutral positioning of your head, neck, and spine. It can also help to improve your breathing and reduce pressure points, letting you get a restful sleep and wake up feeling well-rested.
Xtreme Comforts Slim Hypoallergenic Shredded Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow
Rated the number one bed pillow by USA Today, the Xtreme Comforts pillow is perfect for stomach sleepers. The deluxe shredded memory foam maintains its shape and fullness throughout the night and won’t flatten out or go lumpy like other pillows thanks to the shredded foam. The pillow can be molded and maneuvered for the ultimate in comfort when sleeping on your stomach.
Elite Rest Ultra Slim Sleeper Memory Foam Pillow
Don’t let the slim contour of this pillow fool you. This ergonomically designed pillow is designed to allow for maximum comfort for stomach sleepers to help keep the neck and spine aligned and breathing optimal. The design of the pillow can also help reduce snoring and minimize shoulder and upper back pain. The memory foam is hypoallergenic and anti-fungal to suit household occupants with allergies.
Best Mattress Types For Each Sleep Position
Not only can you customize the pillows you use based on how you sleep, but there are also mattresses available that may be better suited for each type of sleeper. Here are the top mattresses available for each position:
Tuft & Needle Mattress
Thanks to the adaptive the foam that this mattress features, stomach sleepers can get a good night’s rest without having to worry about not being able to breathe properly or having their neck or spine out of line. Made with T&N Adaptive foam, this mattress offers a bouncy yet supportive feel that’s ideal for stomach sleepers, as well as those who like to sleep on their backs and sides sometimes, too.
The latex and memory foam keeps you on top of the mattress without you sinking into it while providing pressure relief and localized bounce that won’t cause any sleep disturbance in your partner. It also keeps you cool and comfy all night long.
Sweet Night Infused Gel Memory Foam Mattress
For anyone who likes to sleep on their back and stay cool throughout the night, the Sweet Night mattress is an ideal option. This mattress is perfect to help maintain proper spinal alignment for back sleepers, as well as those who sleep on their stomach or side. The 10-inch thickness also adds to impeccable comfort, and the material allows for maximum breathability to help you stay both comfortable and cool.
Linenspa Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress
The Linenspa memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress boasts 8 to 12 inches of comfort to maximize support for side sleepers while minimizing any disturbance of sleep partners. This hybrid mattress is made of both memory foam with a traditional innerspring mattress for a medium-firm support with a plush layer of memory foam to help keep the spine aligned and minimize pressure points.
Who knew that there are so many different sleep positions! And each one as its advantages and disadvantages. If you’re trying to improve your sleep, consider the different positions and their pros and cons, and perhaps upgrade your mattress and pillow to ensure get a great night’s sleep to ensure you get up every morning well-rested.