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How Sleeping Position Affects Your Health: A Complete Guide

How Sleeping Position Affects Your Health: A Complete Guide

Did you know that you can sleep your way to better health? It’s true. The way you sleep at night has a direct impact on the way you feel the following day. If you sleep in the wrong position, you’ll suffer needlessly. Here’s a guide to show how your sleeping position affects your health.

Sleeping on your back is like doing yoga

Students at Inspired Yoga in Washington, D.C., perform Corpse Pose, Monday, Sept. 14, 2009. Corpse Pose or savasana is used at the beginning or end of most yoga classes. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Adam Baylor)
    Image via Flickr by aclintonb

    Are you familiar with the Savasana pose in yoga? Instructors have named it the death pose due to its resemblance to lying in a coffin. The underlying thought process is that people are most comfortable when they lie flat on their back. Yoga experts will tell you that Savasana will improve posture, reduce headaches, increase energy, and cure insomnia.

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    All these advantages are possible when you train yourself to sleep in this position. You will also enhance the strength and stability of your neck and spine, as long as you pick the perfect mattress. The explanation is that the primary purpose of a mattress is to do much of the work of the Savasana pose. It’ll shape your body as you sleep. The only downside to sleeping on your back is that it might be problematic for people with sleep apnea. Shop around and check out different mattresses that fit the needs of how you sleep. Once you’ve found one you think you may like, you can also read mattress reviews online to make sure that it is the right product for you.

    Sleeping on your stomach damages your neck

    Many people sleep on their stomachs several times a week, if not every night. That’s regrettable due to the lasting damage you can do to various parts of your body, particularly your neck. When you lie on your stomach for a long time, you place undue stress on the upper part of your body. You also constantly bend your unsupported neck the wrong way. It straightens your neck, which can cause a loss of sensation in your extremities in some instances. If your neck doesn’t curve, you’ll have to do exercises to fix the issues.

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    That’s not the only problem with sleeping on your stomach. You will also press down too much on your lungs, which can hamper your breathing. If you accidentally bruise a lung, you’ll suffer for weeks due to one bad night’s sleep. No matter how natural sleeping on your stomach might feel, you should avoid it at all costs.

    Sleeping on your left side is good for the heart

    woman lying in bed
      Image via Flickr by Lilmonster Michi

      Sleeping on your left side aids circulation and heart function, as well as keeping pressure off the liver, but did you know that most gynecologists recommend that women sleep on their left side while pregnant? They do this for several reasons. First of all, it’s the most comfortable sleeping position when carrying a child. You’ll find this is especially true as the size of your belly increases. Also, better circulation will provide the added benefit of delivering more nutrients to the baby via the placenta.

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      Sleeping on your right side increases acid reflux

      There’s one other reason to tend left. Most people change positions several times each night, which is better for your health anyway. If you fall victim to acid reflux, however, you should train yourself to go left whenever possible. By sleeping on that side, you reduce acid reflux due to the reduction in esophageal build-up. When you go right, you actually increase this issue, which makes insomnia and stomach discomfort more likely.

      Until now, you’ve probably not given a lot of thought to your sleeping position. Now that you’ve read some of the ways it can impact your health, you know that you should have a game plan each night when you go to bed. It should all start with picking the perfect mattress.

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      Featured photo credit: Seniju via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on December 2, 2019

      10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

      10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

      Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

      In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

      These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

      1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

      Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

      But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

      Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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      2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

      You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

      The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

      3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

      If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

      Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

      If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

      4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

      Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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      To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

      In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

      5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

      We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

      If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

      Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

      “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

      6. Give for the Joy of Giving

      When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

      One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

      So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

      7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

      Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

      Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

      8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

      When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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      So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

      9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

      Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

      It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

      It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

      10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

      There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

      But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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      Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

      More About Living a Fulfilling Life

      Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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