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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 July 8, 2020

      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

      18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

      The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

      1. Understand Yourself Better

      Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

      Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

      2. Keep Track of Small Changes

      I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

      Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

      3. Become Aware of What Matters

      As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

      You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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      4. Boost Creativity

      The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

      When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

      You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

      5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

      A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

      Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

      6. Process Life Experiences

      When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

      Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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      7. Stress Relief

      In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

      Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

      8. Provide Direction

      Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

      One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

      9. Solve Problems

      Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

      Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

      When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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      10. Find Relief From Fighting

      Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

      Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

      11. Find Meaning in Life

      Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

      12. Allow Yourself to Focus

      Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

      13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

      When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

      14. Let the Past Go

      I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

      15. Allow Freedom

      Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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      16. Enhance Your Career

      Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

      Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

      17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

      All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

      18. Catalog Your Life for Others

      No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

      We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

      Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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