Sleeping the right way

Sleeping the right way

by Evigan Xiao 10 Feb 2020

Have you ever woken up one day feeling worse off than the night before? This can happen even with having a full eight hours of sleep. Not only is this annoying, it’s downright criminal! You work to ensure that you get a good night’s rest, only to find out that it didn’t do you any good. Or perhaps it’s not the sleep that is to blame…


Considering that we spend almost a third of our lives asleep, getting quality rest is crucial to daily health and well-being. And while sleep can be affected by things like nutrition and the ambient environment, there is one thing that many people fail to consider: posture.


Even though posture is most often thought as more of a “vertical thing”, horizontal posture (sleeping) is equally important as well. Spending eight hours in a position with little to no movement can result in undesirable outcomes if the position is not sound posture-wise.


To that end, here are the common sleeping postures, ranked from the best to the worst:


  • On the back
    • Starfish (arms and legs splayed) – good for the back due to natural spine alignment but with risk of snoring
    • Soldier (arms and legs straight down) – same benefits as starfish but with an even higher risk of snoring
  • On the side
    • Foetal (knees drawn up) – can lessen symptoms of snoring, neck and back pain. Particularly beneficial for those with obstructive sleep apnoea
    • Log (similar to soldier) – good overall position. No particular drawbacks
    • Yearner  (like the Log but with arms outstretched) – good position for back disks, muscles and ligaments
  • On the stomach
    • Freefaller (facedown with arms beside the head) – discourages snoring but places pressure on joints of the neck and spine.


For the most part, sleeping on the back seems to be the most recommended sleeping position. Placing a big, fluffy pillow under your knees can also contribute to maintaining the normal curvature of the lumbar spine. This would allow those who experience pain in their lower back to sleep without discomfort.


Of course, things like mattress and pillow quality also factor into the equation as well. The proper setup should provide support to the natural contours of your body as you sleep. Getting an orthopaedic mattress and a pillow that maintain its shape might cost a bit extra, but you really can’t put a price on a good night’s rest.