People are generally aware of the value of maintaining a correct posture. However, proper posture is not limited to standing or sitting. Since the average person sleeps for at least seven hours daily, sleeping posture is equally crucial.
Maintaining an appropriate sleeping posture can prevent or relieve back pain. As you sleep, your back’s muscles and ligaments can repair any damage. Keeping your back in good shape as you sleep requires proper body positioning. However, sleep apnea causes individuals to temporarily stop breathing while they sleep, making it hard to find a position that lets them get a good night’s sleep.
It is estimated that between 3 to 7 percent of men and 2 to 5 percent of women in the general population suffer from sleep apnea, making it one of the most common sleep disorders. Changing your sleeping position can significantly affect how well you sleep. Changing your position can be helpful if you’re trying to alleviate discomfort caused by back pain, sleep apnea, or other medical issues.
The Best Positions for Sleep Apnea Relief
Changes in behavior, breathing aids, mouthpieces, and even surgery are all viable options for treating sleep apnea. In addition, sleep apnea can be managed in several ways, including abstaining from alcohol, weight control, quitting smoking, and modifying your sleeping position.
A mattress that is the right size for you is also essential to quality sleep. It’s best to purchase a bed suited to your height and body shape. Bed size should reflect your height and the space required to stretch out when sleeping fully. If possible, try to find a mattress that is at least one-third to one-quarter the length of your actual height.
Before buying a bed, it’s recommended to research the difference between full vs queen size beds. Proper mattress size will give you enough space to find the correct sleeping position for your sleep apnea. The advantages of various sleeping positions vary, so choose one depending on your needs.
The following is a list of multiple sleeping positions that can effectively address the problem of sleep apnea.
Elevating Your Head
It has been found that supine sleeping positions exacerbate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is more common in patients with mild OSA and smaller neck sizes. Gravity is the primary cause of this phenomenon.
The soft tissues of the upper airway, particularly the tongue, cause upper airway resistance when you sleep on your back. If you have sleep apnea and tend to sleep on your back, propping your head on pillows may be your best bet. Sleeping with your head slightly elevated may reduce the severity of sleep apnea.
Sleeping on the Left Side
When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your airways close off as you sleep, which interrupts your breathing. One approach to prevent snoring and ease moderate apnea is to sleep on your left side, which puts less pressure on the airways.
Sleeping on your left side is recommended if you want to lessen the effects of sleep apnea. Besides reducing the impact of sleep apnea and snoring, it also improves blood circulation.
Sleeping on the Right Side
If you’re having trouble falling asleep when lying on your left side, try practicing falling asleep on your right instead. It is best to sleep on your left or right side because this helps reduce difficulties like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can make sleep apnea symptoms worse.
Allow yourself a few nights to become used to sleeping in a different position. It is also crucial to relocate your mattress so that you are not staring at a computer screen or light that can distract your sleep.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach reduces airway blockages because gravity pulls the tongue and soft tissue forward. However, be mindful that if your pillow is too close to your face, it may obstruct your airway and make breathing difficult.
In addition, sleeping on your stomach can put extra stress on your neck, so if you already have neck issues, be careful. When sleeping on your stomach, using a thin pillow or one made especially for stomach sleepers to reduce pressure on the neck can be helpful.
Take Your Time
It may take some time to discover the most comfortable sleeping position that helps reduce sleep apnea symptoms. Don’t stop trying new sleeping positions until you find what helps. However, it would be best if you went to a doctor because sleep apnea has severe repercussions.
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