How Sleeping On Your Back, Side And Stomach Affects Your Health

How Sleeping On Your Back, Side And Stomach Affects Your Health

Most of us have a preferred sleeping position, be it on our stomach, side or back. As it turns out, your posture in bed can be just as important as your posture in the workplace. This video from the business tutorial specialist Flikli explains all the ways your bedtime posture could be affecting your health.

So apparently, laying on your back is the best way to ensure a nice, straight spine while sleeping — but it can also increase the likelihood of snoring. Sleeping on your side has been shown to cause pins and needles in your arms and legs while stomach sleepers are at risk of sustaining long-term damage to their necks and lower back. You can reduce the strain in these areas by placing a pillow beneath your hips and shoulders (which doesn’t sound particularly comfortable to be honest.)

Based on the video’s recommendations, your best bet appears to be sleeping on your back. Mind you, we imagine the type of mattress you own plays a large role too — a soft, spongy mattress is unlikely to keep your spine straight while sleeping on your back, for instance. (You can find a bunch of mattress-buying tips in our expert Q&A.) Oh, and if you co-sleep with children, your posture is going to be destroyed regardless.

[Via Flikli]


  • I love how they make these suggesting that you have any real control over the posture you sleep with. I’m a stomach sleeper and I know it’s not a great posture but it doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t get comfortable any other way and if I start out in another position I’ll be on my stomach like normal when I wake up. I don’t choose to be that way, it just happens.

    • Yeah, it’s not like it’s a matter of discipline or anything. If I were conscious enough to correct my position I’d be awake. If I try to sleep on my back or stomach tonight instead of my sides I’ll be up all night and tomorrow morning I’ll wake up on my side.

      • It’s actually something akin to a discipline that can be acquired. I’m normally a back=sleeper, but that makes me a tremendous snorer. Sharing a bed with a partner that couldn’t sleep through my snores forced me to get used to sleep on my side. It was uncomfortable at the beginning but little by little it’s becoming natural. Some people employ aids such as sewing a tennis ball or similar to the back of their pajamas tops, but I thankfully didn’t need that.

      • I think it often comes down to how you were put to bed as a baby. My Mum says she used to put me on my stomach because at the time that was the recommended sleeping posture for babies.

        • Id’ be interested to know who recommended that, and in which decade.

          The video doesn’t reference any studies, science, or relevant authority on healthy sleep. But it is a video on the internet. so I guess I have to believe it.

          • im pretty sure stomach sleeping recommendation was for a long time pre-SIDS awareness, so it probably ended in the 80s, no idea when it started though.

          • Early 1980s.

            Also I imagine that back then, just as now, for new parents there’s a vast, confusing array of contradictory sage advice about the best way to care for a baby.

        • My baby is 20months, we put her to bed on her back, for the first year or so, then she would always end up on her stomach and now she rolls over onto her stomach within seconds of being put to bed, so im thinking she will always be a stomach sleeper like her mother.

      • I agree with @pylgrim, I think you can change with a bit of effort. I used to be a 100% stomach sleeper, with my arm under my pillow, but I kept getting numb arms and I also read how bad it was sleeping on your front. It took time but I slowly changed to a back/side sleeper, by just always going to bed on my back, it took a while but it eventually stuck. Obviously make sure you’re comfy, I needed a bigger pillow (or two thin ones) since I found if my head was too far back I couldn’t sleep; also a pillow under my knees made sure I didn’t get any lower back discomfort. . I still wake and I find I’m on the my stomach every now but just roll over to my back or go for a side sleep. Although the wife says I snore periodically now, which I never did.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!