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Side, Back, or Stomach. The best way to sleep for sleep apnea sufferers.

October 27, 2021


When you suffer from sleep apnea, every little adjustment can help. The issues that come from multiple sleepless nights are far beyond simply feeling tired and cranky. Learning every way you can help yourself fall asleep and stay asleep can affect every aspect of your life.

So, which is the best sleeposition for sleep apnea sufferers?

On your side

“The most popular way to sleep is favored by more than 4 out of 10 people, especially among women, who are twice as likely as men to sleep curled up on their side.” (WebMD.com)

Sleeping on your side is the best position for overall health. It is good for spine alignment and not only helps sleep apnea sufferers to sleep better – it can cut down your symptoms. It aligns your airways nicely and does not encourage snoring. Also, it can be managed quite easily with a CPAP machine. 

 Another reason to sleep on your side is the possibility that it might help your brain health. One of the symptoms of sleep apnea is feeling overwhelmed and fuzzy. This is often due to a lack of good sleep. Sleeping on your side is the best method for clearing your head during sleep. 

“It’s possible that sleeping on your side could be good for your brain. Scientists recently learned that our brains clear out waste more quickly while we sleep.” (OnHealth.com)

On Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is bad for multiple reasons, especially for sleep apnea sufferers. Stomach sleeping is bad for your spine, with your neck elevated and pressure on your lower back. 

“Stomach sleeping can put pressure on nerves and cause numbness, tingling, and nerve pain.” https://www.onhealth.com/content/1/best_sleeping_positions_sleep

Sleeping on your stomach also constricts your airways as your neck is twisted. Some doctors suggest sleeping with your forehead propped on a pillow and your face lifted but facing your mattress so that you can still breathe. If you can master the art of sleeping like this, you are a genius in our books!

Sleeping on your back

Back sleeping is extremely common among sleep apnea sufferers. While it’s easy on the spine and appears to offer less constriction to your airways, it also flattens out your lungs and causes snoring. 

“Back sleeping is easy on the spine because gravity keeps your body centered over it. With the right neck support from a memory foam or latex pillow, your neck should maintain its normal banana-like curve.” https://health.clevelandclinic.org/back-side-stomach-sleep-position-best/

Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea and is a sign of air constriction. You are not breathing clearly if you are snoring. Even with the ease of wearing a CPAP, back sleeping is still not as good as side sleeping for sleep apnea sufferers. 

How To Stay On Your Side

If you are not currently a side sleeper, it can be difficult to train yourself to sleep in this position. The simplest way to train yourself is to lie with a pillow on either side of your body. As you start to roll onto your back, the pillow will make it harder, and your brain will remind you to stay on your side. Eventually, the position will feel more natural, and you can start to remove your pillows. However, some people find that snuggling with the pillow also helps sleep. 

If you, or someone you know, are not sleeping well, we can help. Get in touch with us by completing the form below.

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