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The 5 Best and Worst Sleeping Positions

The 5 Best and Worst Sleeping Positions

Some days, we wake up feeling limber and well rested, and other days we wake up with aches and pains. These differences can be attributed to our sleeping positions. While it’s difficult to control our sleeping habits once we’re asleep, it’s possible to prime yourself for a good night’s sleep by starting out in the right position. Similarly, bad positions can have a negative effect on your health and the quality of your sleep.

Here are the 5 most common sleeping positions, ranked from best to worst by award-winning Colorado chiropractor Dr. Aaron Casselman.

1. On your side

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    Many specialists consider sleeping on your side to be the best option. It doesn’t strain any parts of your body, and is comfortable for people who experience pain in their joints throughout the day. The most common variation of this sleeping style is to sleep with the legs bent slightly, bringing the knees in towards the chest. Curling slightly like this is especially comfortable for people who have a bad back, because bringing the knees up and in can help stretch the muscles in your back. As long as the position isn’t overdone (see item number 4!), this slight stretch can ease an aching back without contributing or adding to any pre-existing back problems.

    2. On your back with your arms at your sides

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      This position alleviates tension in the spine and neck (as long as you don’t overdo it with the pillows). Make sure, when you’re on your back, that your head is supported but not tilted too much. Too much of an angle can cause neck pain, which defeats the purpose of this sleeping position! The downside to this position is that it is often accompanied by snoring. This sleeping position is also not recommended for people with sleep apnea. Sleeping on your back also has beauty benefits. For instance, sleeping on your back keeps your face away from your pillow, which can have dirt and oils from your skin on it, which can contribute to acne. Also, sleeping with your face away from the sheets can help keep wrinkles at bay.

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      3. On your back with your arms raised

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        Also known as the “starfish position,” this has the same benefits as sleeping on your back with your arms at your sides. However, it can lead to snoring, and having your arms raised above your head for a considerable length of time can lead to shoulder pain in the morning. If you often sleep like this, you might attribute aches in your shoulders and upper back to the way you’re sleeping.

        4. Curled up

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          Some people prefer sleeping on their sides, but instead of slightly bending their legs, they bring them all the way to their chests. This fetal position can feel comfortable at first, but it can cause neck pain and restrict breathing throughout the night. This can also be too much of a stretch in your back, which could lead to back pain in the morning. If you do like to stretch your back out, consider doing some stretches before bed. This might help you stay away from this sleeping position.

          5. On your stomach

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            This is widely considered to be the worst position to sleep in. It strains the neck and can cause serious pain in the morning. Sleeping on your stomach can also restrict breathing because the mouth and nose are both partially covered by the pillow. This position can also strain the vertebrae at the base of the neck after just a few minutes — imagine what hours of sleeping in that position can do!

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            Featured photo credit: z Q via flickr.com

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            Maggie Heath

            Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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            Last Updated on September 18, 2020

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

            Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

            Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

            1. Exercise Daily

            It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

            If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

            Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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            If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

            2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

            Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

            One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

            This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

            3. Acknowledge Your Limits

            Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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            Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

            Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

            4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

            Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

            The basic nutritional advice includes:

            • Eat unprocessed foods
            • Eat more veggies
            • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
            • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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            Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

              5. Watch Out for Travel

              Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

              This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

              If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

              6. Start Slow

              Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

              If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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              7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

              Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

              My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

              If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

              I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

              Final Thoughts

              Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

              Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

              More Tips on Getting in Shape

              Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

              Reference

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