According to Linda DiProperzio

“We all know that getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of staying healthy, but how we sleep also plays a role in keeping us in top form.” Studies show that the position that you sleep in can determine the quality of sleep that you will have as well as how you will feel the next morning.

If you suffer from pain or discomfort, there are a number of recommended sleeping positions that can help to alleviate your pain and flare-up.

Pregnancy

According to a survey by the National Sleep Foundation, 78 percent of women have difficulty sleeping during pregnancy. This can be attributed to the added weight but expectant moms can have a better sleep by resting on their side with legs bent and your head slightly elevated to help with breathing, giving the diaphragm more room to move. Lying on your left side can improve blood flow to the placenta. For added comfort, sleep with a pillow between your legs to take the pressure off muscles and joints.

Acid Reflux

This condition occurs when the valve between the esophagus and stomach isn’t working properly, causing acid from the stomach to pass into the esophagus. To relieve symptoms during the night, prop your head up. You can use several pillows for this, buy a wedge pillow or elevate the head of your bed by placing pillows or other cushioning underneath the mattress.

Poor Posture

Research shows that poor posture can contribute to back problems; maintaining a neutral spine is key to good posture as it keeps the muscles, ligaments and tendons that attach to your spine working together. Because the spine is naturally curved, sleeping flat on your back with your legs extended places added stress on the body. The best position is to sleep on your side or back with bended knees.

Snoring

No matter which one of you is snoring through the night it is a real problem. According to the National Sleep Foundation, snoring affects approximately 90 million American adults. Snoring occurs when the muscles of your throat relax, causing your tongue to fall backward and your airway to narrow. The physical obstruction of the flow of air, along with the tongue’s position, leads to the sound of snoring. Sleeping on your stomach without a pillow can open your airway. If this is too uncomfortable, consider using an orthopedic pillow designed for stomach sleepers.

Neck Pain

“If you frequently wake up with discomfort in your neck, lie on your back with a rolled-up towel under your shoulder blades, perpendicular to your body,” suggests Dr. Sugar. “You want your head, neck and back to be in a comfortable, relaxed position during the night. Your pillow shouldn’t prop you up too high (with your chin resting on your chest) or too low (with your head tilted back) while sleeping.”

Back Pain

Studies show that 80 percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. This statistic includes temporary pain as well as chronic pain that needs to be corrected with surgery. Sleeping on your back is the worst position for those with back pain, putting pressure on joints and muscles. Sleeping on your side can help alleviate discomfort because it keeps your spine elongated and prevents you from putting all of your weight on your back muscles. A body pillow placed between your thighs is a great technique for stabilizing the legs and keeping the strain of your weight off your back.

Seasonal Allergies

If you suffer from allergies, you’re not sleeping well. In a poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 37 percent of Americans said their sleep was impacted by allergies. The best way to drain your nose and throat of congestion is by sleeping in an almost upright position, tucking three or four pillows under your head and upper back. Be cautious though as using this technique for several nights will strain your neck and cause back pain. The best advice is to see your doctor for the ideal course of allergy treatment.

Wrinkles

“Sleep position can affect facial wrinkles, especially on the side of the eyes (‘crow’s-feet’) and on the forehead,” says Jeffrey Spiegel, MD, facial plastic surgeon and founder of Advanced Facial Aesthetics in Boston. “It happens when the skin of the face is pushed by our pillows (or arms) into a forward position. The longer you sleep this way, the more likely it is that these wrinkles will become permanently etched into the skin.” Sleeping on your back is the best way to let the skin sit in a natural position and avoid wrinkles. Place another pillow under your knees for added comfort.

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