Did you know that by simply changing your sleep position, you can treat chronic ailments like sleep apnea and acid reflux?
That’s right! According to David Wolfe, the eight hours you spend sleeping can have an enormous impact on how you feel when you are awake. It’s not enough just to get enough sleep. You must have quality sleep. Is it possible to sleep wrong? No, of course not. But the way you sleep can cause pain or discomfort in your waking life.
Most adults suffer from some form of chronic pain. Medical Pain Clinics specialist Jenny Lee, PT, DPT says sleeping on your back can increase pressure on the spine and lead to lower back pain. So if you suffer from chronic back pain, try sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent.
If you suffer from shoulder pain however, sleeping on your side may be painful. Lee recommends using extra pillows to support the shoulder and help maintain a comfortable position. Wolfe suggests sleeping on the opposite side and placing a large pillow at the chest so the injured arm can rest comfortably in a raised position.
For neck pain, sleep with a rolled up hand towel inside your pillowcase. Keep the neck towel at the base of the neck for the best support. The goal is to keep the neck level, as opposed to strained in a bent or arched position.
Another ailment that can improve by changing the way you sleep is acid reflux. An article in the New York Times proves the myth that sleeping on your left side can actually reduce symptoms of acid reflux. Scientists have not yet determined why this is, but some speculate it is because the position keeps the meeting point between the stomach and esophagus above the level of gastric acid.
Yet another case for sleeping on the side is sleep apnea. A study published by the National Institute of Health found that sleeping on one’s back causes twice as much sleep apnea as sleeping on one’s side. Philips Respironics says all people, not just those with sleep apnea, are more likely to snore when sleeping on their backs than on their sides.
The bottom line is no matter whether you suffer from neck pain or acid reflux, sleeping on the (left) side will lead to a happier and healthier life.