When I was a kid, I’d do anything to avoid a nap. As an adult, they’re a special treat. There’s nothing like getting into that perfect position under a warm blanket. But what is the “perfect position”?
Our sleeping positions may change over time. Maybe you buy a new mattress and discover that you have a new preference. Lying on your belly might feel great until you get an allergy attack from the cat hair on your pillow. And sleeping on your back may have done the trick until you started snoring–and your partner began poking you in the ribs to get you to roll over. So there are plenty of factors that influence an individual’s preferences, including some health issues. But what do the experts have to say?
According to Dr. Shahin Iqbal, a sleep specialist with Pulmonary Consultants of Hagerstown, healthy adults can sleep in any position they like. What about avoiding wrinkles by sleeping on your back, and similar claims? Forget about it—there is no medical research indicating that one position is better than another, he said. For a normal adult, it’s truly a matter of personal preference. If you’re not comfortable at night, try a different position or a different mattress.
Of course, if you’ve tried every pillow under the sun, soft and firm mattresses, and a variety of sleep positions and still feel like you’re not getting a good night’s rest, it’s time to talk to your doctor and rule out a potential health problem or sleep disorder.
Remember this: you’ll spend about a third of your life sleeping, and poor quality sleep can wreak havoc on your body. According to the National Institutes of Health, sleepiness may be associated with low energy, forgetfulness, problems concentrating, and even emotional instability. Not to mention that about 100,000 motor vehicle crashes a year are attributed to the driver falling asleep. They say your quality of sleep is just as important as the quantity. So find the formula that works for you. If you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day, you’re doing it right.
By Kathleen McGuire Gilbert