There are many advice articles out there about which sleep position is best. Most of us tend to stick with what we’re comfortable with until something encourages us to change, but if you’re looking to consciously change your sleep position, then you may be looking for advice about which sleep position is best.
But you shouldn’t necessarily take any of this advice to heart because all of it seems to minimize the significance of sleep apnea.
As with most topics on the Internet, there are relatively few truly original articles, and most are just rehashings and repetitions of a single, Ur-article. So, although there are dozens and probably hundreds of pieces of advice on this topic, almost all of them derive from this 2011 CNN piece on the best sleep positions, which suffers from complete ignorance of sleep apnea.
Instead, the article focuses primarily on snoring, and notes that snoring is worst when one sleeps on one’s back, but despite this concludes that the back is still the best sleeping position.
The article notes that back sleeping is good for preventing neck and back pain, reducing acid reflux, minimizing wrinkles, and “maintaining perky breasts,” and these combined virtues make it the best choice, failing to recognize the numerous health consequences that make sleep apnea a danger that may outweigh all the positives of back sleeping. The article is on a recognized source and sounds authoritative with quotes from a chiropractor, the co-director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Sleep Medicine, and a dermatologist.
Subsequent takes on the article may mention sleep apnea, but because of the authoritative tone of the article, they still tend to mirror its conclusions.
Your Best Sleep Position
The best sleep position is the one where you get the best restorative rest. If sleeping on your back makes you snore, it’s likely that this is not the best position for getting a restful night’s sleep. And it may be doing much more harm by exposing you to cardiovascular risk, psychological and mood disorders, and serious accidents. If you are unsure about the best sleeping position for you, talk to your doctor about the issue, and, if you snore, get evaluated for sleep apnea.
Have additional questions about snoring and sleep apnea? Please call 402-493-4175 to talk to sleep dentist Dr. Roger Roubal at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha. He can either answer your questions or refer you to someone who can.