Do you sleep curled up in the fetal position? If so, you are in the majority. The Better Sleep Council reports that 41% of sleepers prefer to sleep this way, although this is certainly not the only option.
There are plenty of back sleepers out there and a few stomach sleepers. But which is the best position for a restful night of slumber? There is actually no definitive answer to this question, since the best sleep position is different for everyone.
Your best sleep position is whichever bodily configuration allows you to feel relaxed and comfortable enough to drift off to dreamland.
Many people instinctively know which position suits them best simply because it’s however they feel most comfortable. But if you have certain health issues, it may take a little tweaking to find the best alignment. For instance, if you have chronic back pain, then sleeping on your side can actually help ease the pain-especially if you place a small pillow between your legs. Side sleeping is also recommended for individuals with sleep apnea and women who are pregnant. The side is the most highly recommended choice for most people.
However, some people find that side sleeping can worsen their pain and prohibit a good night’s sleep. This might apply to you if you have a condition like shoulder bursitis or a rotator cuff tear. For patients with shoulder and other upper body injuries, back sleeping might be the way to go.
The only sleep position that experts strongly advise against is stomach sleeping. Stomach sleepers are at a high risk of developing neck pain and lower back strain. Plus, they tend to toss and turn often at night, which deprives them of the health benefits of a good night’s sleep.
Yogis are arguably some of the calmest, most peaceful individuals on the planet. So it stands to reason that they would follow best practices when it comes to sleep. For yogis, when it comes to falling asleep easily, the focus is on inducing a deep state of relaxation. This is achievable with the technique of Yoga Nidra, which is said to release emotional, physical, and mental tension. Yoga Nidra begins and ends with a positive affirmation, such as “I release the day and calmly enter into a time of deep sleep.”
To perform Yoga Nidra, lie on a comfortable bed on your back. Place your arms parallel to your body with your legs slightly apart and your palms facing upward. Close your eyes and breathe in and out naturally through the nose. Silently repeat your positive affirmation and, focusing on one body part at a time, tense the muscles briefly and release.
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