Supine position is the name given to the habit of sleeping on your back. This position is adopted by about 10 percent of people, according to a national sleep survey conducted in 2012. If you are one of them, knowing the pros and cons of your sleeping position can help you choose your next mattress and get a better night of sleep.
Benefits for Back Sleepers
Whatever your sleeping position, the most important thing is maintaining the correct alignment of the spine. Sleeping on your back helps to do this and also brings several other health benefits.
- Reduce Acid Reflux and Heartburn: That uncomfortable burning in your chest and throat is usually caused by incorrect eating habits or snacks just before going to bed. But the good news is that sleeping on your back, with your head and chest elevated, helps to eliminate this nightly feeling.
Lying on your back, keeping your stomach lower than your esophagus, also helps stop gastric reflux. This way, food and stomach acid cannot crawl up your digestive tract while you sleep.
- Less Neck, Shoulders, and Back Pain: Supine sleeping helps keep your neck, shoulders, and spine aligned on the mattress. Using an appropriate pillow, you can keep your neck in a neutral position throughout the night. Sleeping on your back also avoids keeping your shoulders pressed against the mattress, as happens when you sleep on your side.
- Less Pressure on Your Organs: When sleeping on your back, you put less pressure on your organs, airways, muscles, and joints than when you sleep on your side or your stomach.
- Relieve Sinus Issues: The best position to sleep when you suffer from sinus problems is with your head slightly raised. Supine sleeping helps gravity naturally drain the sinuses, reducing the excessive blood flow that can create nasal congestion.
Disadvantages for Back Sleepers
Sleeping on your back also has some negative points, though fewer of them are for other sleeping positions.
- Lower Back Pain: People who adopt a supine position may wake up with pain in their lower backs, especially if the mattress is not of the appropriate material. That is why it is vital to sleep in a bed that supports your lower back.
- Can Worsen Snoring or Sleep Apnea: When sleeping on your back, the weight of your neck and the position of your jaw and tongue can cause airway obstruction, which results in snoring and can worsen apnea symptoms. Sleep apnea sufferers should avoid sleeping on their backs.
Not Recommended for Pregnant Women: Doctors do not recommend supine sleeping for pregnant women after 20 weeks of pregnancy because the weight of the uterus can compress the vena cava and reduce the blood flow to the fetus. After five months, the best is to start sleeping on your side.
How to Become a Back Sleeper
If you usually sleep on your side or face down, changing the habit and adopting supine sleeping can take some time and require a little work. But if you want to enjoy the benefits of this new position, some simple techniques can help you change your nightly routine.
- Invest in a Firm, Quality Mattress: Not every mattress is suitable for those who want to sleep on their back. A recent medical study found that uncomfortable beds make the person move more during the night, compromising sleep Between a soft mattress and a hard one, a medium-firm is usually a good choice. When buying a new mattress, look for specialized companies that can help you choose the best model. For example, read Nolah Mattress reviews to learn about cases of people who have improved their sleep thanks to the right choice.
- Consider a Mattress Topper: A mattress topper is a layer of padded material that can be placed on top of a bed. With a thickness between one and three inches, it’s designed to adjust the mattress’s feel, making it softer or firmer.
- Chose a Low to Mid-Height Pillow: Using an overfilled pillow can help keep your neck straight, but at the same time, push your head and neck too far forward, causing tension and pain.
- Keep Extra Pillows Handy: A simple tactic to force a change in the sleeping position is to create a pillow barrier on your sides, almost like a fort, preventing you from changing your position during sleep. Besides, placing a smaller pillow or cushion under your knees and your lower back can help with the transition, relieving some of your lower back tension.
- Spread Out: It is unnecessary to sleep with your arms and legs straight and aligned with your body. Spread freely on the bed, especially when learning to sleep on your back. The practice helps distribute your weight during the night, so the pressure is not only accumulated in your joints.
The way you lie down at night can influence the way you feel in the morning. Sleeping on your back can guarantee better sleep and an awakening with less pain and discomfort. That is, optimizing your sleeping position can substantially change the person you are when you are awake.