How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health More Than You Think!

Updated on March 26th, 2020
sleeping positions

We spent nearly one-fourth of our lives sleeping. Getting restful sleep has benefits for physiological, psychological, and emotional health. Time is very precious, and so is health. Let’s find out what the various sleeping positions mean for your health and how you can choose the right spot. From sleeping on your back to lying on your front, or resting on your side, each of these unique sleep positions has important implications for your health.

Sleep Positions and What They Mean for Your Health

1. Soldier Position: Sleeping on your Back

Soldier Position Sleeping

Known as the solider position, sleeping on your back with your hands on each side is considered the best posture for rest. This pose is similar to Savasana pose in yoga.


It is also known to have many health benefits. If wrinkles or sagging breasts are a concern, this sleeping position is ideal. It is an excellent way to ward off GERD symptoms like an acid reflex, for gravity prevents acid and food from rising to the esophagus(1).

If you suffer from crippling back or neck pain, sleeping on the back ensures your weight is evenly balanced. This posture leads to even distribution of pressure as well as neutral positions for the spine, head, and neck, as against other sleeping positions.


However, the risks are that sleeping on your back increases chances of sleep apnea and snoring. Also, log sleepers resting with their legs together and arms by the side are rigid, while starfish position sleepers are friendly and generous.


  • Assists in improving overall posture
  • Improves the position to support the arms, neck, and spine.
  • Reduces acid reflux.
  • It helps to maintain the firmness of the breasts.
  • Cures insomnia.
  • It reduces the likelihood of headaches.
  • Prevents wrinkles.


  • It can aggravate snoring in those with sleep apnea as gravity pulls down the tongue.
  • It can cause lower back pain.
  • It can impact a fetus adversely in pregnant mothers.

[ Read: Sleeping Positions for Back Pain Relief ]

2. Starfish Position

Starfish Position

The starfish position is the variation of the back-sleeper area. In this version, the person lies on the back, but arms are up on either side of the head.


  • It provides support for the spine and the neck.
  • It cures the problem of insomnia.
  • It lowers the chances of headaches.
  • It reduces acid reflux/GERD by preventing stomach substances from re-entering the esophagus.
  • It also prevents facial wrinkles or breakouts in the skin.


  • As gravity pulls down the tongue, the posture aggravates snoring in individuals suffering from sleep apnea.
  • The strange arm position exerts nerve pressure on the shoulder, triggering pain.
  • It can cause lower back pain.

3. Sleeping on the Side

Sleeping on the Side

Close to 2/3rd of individuals sleep on their side. According to experts, for overall health, this is the best sleeping position. Side sleepers experience less snoring and sleep apnea(2) than those resting on their back. They also have fewer chances of back and neck pain, as against those sleeping on the front. Evidence even shows side sleepers can ward off dementia because the brain’s waste clearance systems work better for them.

If you sleep on the side, it reduces heartburn, improves blood flow, and offers a restful sleep. Experts say sleeping on the right is not correct, because it prevents good circulation, and constricts blood vessels. This posture results in frequent night movement. But sleeping on the left results in additional strain on the lungs, stomach, and liver besides causing nightmares. Side sleeping causes premature aging of the body and skin, too.

Side sleepers in the fetal position are soft on the inside. Those sleeping with arms outstretched ahead of them are optimistic dream chasers. They could also be suspicious and cynical. Those sleeping on the side like a log are easy going and friendly.

[ Read: Neck Pain from Sleeping Wrong ]

4. Log Position

log Position

While sleeping in the posture, lie on the side with arms positioned down in a smooth straight line. Sleeping on the left side supports resting the vital organs.


  • It provides support for the spine as it receives complete comfort in a natural curve.
  • It prevents neck and back pain.
  • Reduces snoring and sleep apnea.
  • Best sleeping position for pregnant women.


  • As the top leg does not receive adequate support, chances of hip or back pain are high.
  • Side sleeping triggers facial wrinkles, skin aging, and sagging breasts.
  • It even causes neck pain.

5. Yearner Position

Yearner Position

This position involves resting on the side, with slightly bent legs, arms outstretched, and the head somewhat off-center. This posture is referred to as the yearner posture. It helps to lie on the left side to better rest vital organs.


  • Prevents neck and back pain.
  • Reduces acid reflux.
  • Reduces snoring and sleep apnea.
  • Eases heartburn
  • Prevents dementia due to the clearance of brain waste.
  • Fewer chances of interrupted sleep.


  • Restricts active circulation and puts pressure on the nerves, resulting in pain in the arms and the shoulders.
  • Nerve compression places a strain on the internal organ like lungs, liver, and stomach.
  • It can cause premature aging of the skin and the body.

[ Read: Guided Sleep Meditation ]

6. Fetal Position

Fetal Position

This sleeping position involves lying on the side with knees towards the chest and the chin titled down. Over 41% of women sleep in this position. Resting on the left is better for vital organs.


  • Reduces snoring to a large extent.
  • Perfect posture for pregnant women.
  • It helps reduce acid reflux.


  • The extreme curl strains the neck and back, causing pain.
  • Like other side sleeping conditions, it wrinkles the skin and sags the breast.

7. Freefall Position

Lying flat on the stomach while resting is not the ideal sleeping position. Medical experts do not advise it.


  • It may reduce snoring in some instances.


  • It puts the spine in strain, causing pain in the lower spine and neck.
  • Blood circulation cuts off from the face, causing wrinkles.
  • It stresses the internal organs, too.

8. Sleeping on the Front

Again, sleeping on the stomach is not recommended by experts. It provides no support for the spine’s natural curve, and pressurized the muscles and joints, increasing risks of neck and back pain.

Tabular Summary

Sleep Position

Health Conditions

Sleeping on the belly Triggers neck or back pain
Sleeping on the back Triggers sleep apnea, snoring, poor circulation, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases.
Sleeping on the Side This is excellent for health because it cures back and neck pain and improves digestion
Sleeping in the fetal position Reduces snoring, but does not help in curing back pain, as it ensures diaphragmatic breathing restriction.
Sleeping on the left side Recommended for pregnant women.
Starfish position Cures back pain and snoring, but can cause acid reflux.
Spooning position For couples to improve oxytocin generation.

Thus, how you sleep benefits your health in different ways. Each of these sleeping positions has its benefits, risks, pitfalls, and advantages. You need to be able to study which group you fall under to understand its implications for your health.

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