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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 September 28, 2020

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

      At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

      Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

      One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

      When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

      So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

      Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

      This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

      Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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      When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

      Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

      One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

      Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

      An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

      When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

      Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

      Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

      We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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      By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

      Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

      While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

      I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

      You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

      Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

      When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

      Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

      Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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      Con #2: Less Human Interaction

      One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

      Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

      Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

      This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

      While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

      Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

      Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

      This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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      For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

      Con #4: Unique Distractions

      Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

      For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

      To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

      Final Thoughts

      Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

      We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

      More About Working From Home

      Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

      Reference

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