Interesting Articles

A compilation of articles published about snoring, sleep apnea, OSA, pregnancy and your sleeping position

Source: Mayo Clinic

Snoring is the hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when your breathing is obstructed in some way while you're sleeping. Sometimes snoring may indicate a serious health condition. In addition, snoring can be a nuisance to your partner.

As many as half of adults snore at least occasionally. Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe, which creates those irritating sounds.

Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime or sleeping on your side, can help stop snoring.

In addition, medical devices and surgery are available that may reduce disruptive snoring. However, these aren't suitable or necessary for everyone who snores.

August 16 2011

Understanding Sleeping Positions

Thursday, July 7, 2011 at 11:20AM

Sleeping on Your Back

Sleeping on your back without a pillow is the best position for your spine. Using a pillow tends to pull your head and neck forward and can affect your breathing. But without a pillow you can rest with your spines natural curves in place.

Sleeping on your back also gives your internal organs more space and is the ideal position for those suffering from pain in their lower back. A pillow under your knees is sometimes recommended to help you maintain the natural curve of your body. Sleeping on your back can prevent neck and back pain, reduce acid reflux and minimize wrinkles. But it is perhaps the worst possible position for people who snore or suffer from sleep apnea.

In fact, snoring is usually most frequent and severe when sleeping on your back. For this reason, many experts often recommend sleeping on your side unless your back problems supersede your snoring or sleep disorder issues.

Sleeping on Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is one of the worst positions to sleep in due to the impact it can have on your lower back, your neck and potentially your lungs. Stomach sleeping flattens the natural curve in the lower back. It also forces your head to be turned to one side all night which distorts the alignment of the spine in your neck.

Stomach sleeping is the least recommended sleeping position because of the pressure it puts on your body. When you sleep on your stomach, your internal organs are restricted and cannot expand because your ribcage is trapped and you are putting pressure on it. Additionally, it puts a lot of pressure on your joints, muscles and neck and can irritate nerves leading to pain, numbness and tingling. This position is not recommended for people who have trouble with the discs in their back. If you do choose stomach sleeping, make sure you use only one very thin pillow.

Sleeping on Your Side

Sleeping on your side is the most common sleeping position. For side sleepers, this sleeping position only becomes a problem if you put your arm or your hands under your head. Because your head weighs about ten pounds, resting it on your arm for hours at night stresses the nerves that run through the top of the shoulder and down the arm and can result in numb fingers. And if your shoulder gets hiked up toward your ear, you shoulder and neck muscles can become constricted.

If you do sleep on your side, you should try to sleep with a straight back even if this means moving your feet closer to your body. Meanwhile, a pillow between your legs will relieve some of the discomfort in your legs and lower back. Finally, sleeping on your right side may also help in overcoming hip and spinal concerns, prevent neck and back pain, minimize acid reflux and reduce snoring. Meanwhile, sleeping on your left side is the recommended position during pregnancy.

In general, sleeping on your side is good for overall health. It reduces snoring and keeps your spine elongated. Additionally, if you suffer from acid reflux it is the next best thing to sleeping on your back. The only downside is that sleeping on your side can cause more wrinkles because one side of your face is smashed into the pillow.

To maximize the benefits of side sleeping, most experts recommend a thick pillow to fill the space above your shoulder so that your head and neck are supported in a neutral position.

Study Shows Sleep Positions Linked to Personality

Recently, Professor Chris Idzikowski, director the UK Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service analyzed six common sleeping positions and found that each one is linked to particular personality traits. These positions included three side sleeping positions the fetus, the yearner and the log and one stomach sleeping position known as the free faller. Also included in the study were two back sleeping positions the soldier and the starfish.

He also found that most people are unlikely to change their sleeping position. In fact, just 5 percent said they sleep in a different position each night.

Following is an overview of his findings:

  • Fetus: This is the most common sleeping position with 41 percent of the people surveyed sleeping in this position. And more than twice as many women sleep in this position than men. People who sleep in this position are tough on the outside but sensitive at heart. For instance, they may appear to be shy when they first meet someone, but will soon relax.
  • Log: This sleeping position includes lying on your side with both arms down by your side. Idzikowski found that these sleepers are easy going social people who like being part of the in-crowd, are trusting of strangers and sometimes gullible.
  • Yearner: This sleeping position includes lying on your side with both arms out in front. People who sleep in this position have an open nature but can be suspicious and cynical. They are also slow to make up their minds but once they have made a decision they are unlikely to change their minds.
  • Soldier: This sleeping position includes lying on your back with both arms pinned to your sides. People who sleep in this position are generally quiet and reserved. Although they dont like a fuss, they have high standards for themselves and others.
  • Starfish: With this sleeping position, you lie on your back with both arms up around the pillow. These sleepers make good friends because they are always ready to listen to others and offer help when needed. They generally dont like to be the center of attention.
  • Free-fall: This sleeping position involves lying on your stomach with your hands around the pillow and your head turned to one side. People who sleep in this position can be gregarious and brash but also thin-skinned. They often dont like criticism or extreme situations.
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