Sleep well, live happy

The overall consensus from sleep experts is that our sleep quality is based on the amount of sleep we get, and in which position we sleep. The back pain may be caused or exacerbated by the way you sleep.
“Everyone has an individual need to sleep and if you are not able to meet your needs, you are not going to behave. Your normal way to compensate for the loss of sleep is by overworking, being rude or hyperactive, being more depressed and less social.”
In reality, most of us are actually combination sleepers. That means we have a preference for two of the three sleep positions – side, back, and stomach.
Poor sleep posture could potentially cause back and neck pain, fatigue, sleep apnea, muscle cramping, impaired circulation, headaches, heartburn, tummy troubles, and even premature wrinkles.

4 Sleep stages

This is the lightest stage of sleep. There are 4 distinct stages of sleep. Knowing sleep science and more about your own sleep position can help you sleep better and longer.

Stage 1

During this stage you will often sense slow eye movements and frequent awakenings or arousals. This is when the body begins to relax and brain wave activity begins to slow. This is the stage where sudden jerks or muscle spasms can happen. This is actually the best stage to be woken up from as you cycle through all the stages each night. On average it usually takes about 7 minutes to fall into stage one and then you spend 5-10 minutes here as we go through Alpha and then Theta brain wave states.

Stage 2

This is the first actual stage of sleep. You do not awake as many times as during stage 1 sleep and slow moving eye rolls stop. Brain waves continue to slow but have specific bursts of activity called ‘sleep spindles.’ This is thought to protect the brain from waking up. Body temperature decreases and heart rate slows. This is also where you transition from Theta to Delta waves.

Stage 3

This stage is known as ‘deep non-REM sleep.’ This is the most restorative stage of sleep. In the brain, researchers have found that stage 3 sleep consists of delta waves or slow waves. It is usually difficult to wake someone in this stage. Parasomnias or sleepwalking, sleep talking and night terrors occur during this stage of sleep. During this time you go into the slowest sleeping brainwave activity cycle called Delta Sleep.

Stage 4

Typically the eye moves rapidly under the lid, moving from side to side. Brain waves are also the most active. According to the National Institute of Health REM starts about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and at this point your voluntary muscles become paralyzed to keep you from harming yourself if you try to act upon what’s happening to you in your dreams. Interestingly, awakenings and arousals happen more easily in REM. And if you are woken up in REM it makes you feel groggy or overly sleepy.

It turns out, there are nine different sleeping positions, and each can tell a lot about the sleeper’s personality.

common sleep positions

Starfish position

Starfish sleepers sprawl out over the entire bed, comfortable and carefree. Another familiar term to describe it would be “spread-eagle“. If you’re one to stretch out like this, chances are you’re a great friend.
Starfish sleepers are described as good friends and great listeners. They love to help and generally do not like attention.
About 5% of people sleep in the starfish position with their legs spread further apart and their arms bent up on the sides of their head.
Starfish sleepers always are eager to lend an ear or give a helping hand to their friends in need. They don’t necessarily like being the center of attention, but don’t mind if they find themselves there from time to time.
This bed hogger is an open person, a good listener and a great friend, though you’re not keen on being in the limelight.

Freefall position

Sleeping on your stomach is something many people find uncomfortable, but those who enjoy this position wouldn’t have it any other way.
Freefall sleepers can be brash and gregarious, thin-skinned and sensitive of criticism.
Freefalling sleepers are bold and sociable on the outside, but typically don’t have the thick skin to deal with criticism or absurd situations.
About 7% of people sleep on their stomach in the freefall position.
When you sleep on your stomach, your core sinks deeper into the mattress while your limbs and head stay higher up on the surface, wreaking havoc on your spinal alignment and causing neck and back pain.

Soldier or savasana

About 8% of people sleep in the soldier or savasana position, with their legs outstretched and their arms by their side.
Those who find themselves sleeping this way typically are quiet, reserved and hold both themselves and other people to high standards and strict moral codes.

Yearner position

Sleeping on your side can have negative health impacts. Try sleeping on your left side with a pillow for support.
About 13% of people sleep in the yearner position.
Yearners tend to be open, yet cynical and suspicious. They are also generally indecisive, but stick to their guns once they make up their minds.
Who sleep like this are a little complicated: they are open-minded, yet cynical; slow and suspicious when making a decision, but stick to it once their minds are made up.
Yearners indicates an open nature, with an added benefit: You’re probably not as gullible. You’re also probably slower to make up your mind, but once you do, you’re less likely to change it.


First off, it’s great for your spine and overall posture. Think about it, if you’re lying on your back, your spine is straight, and a good mattress will allow for the natural curvature to have support, though sleeping on a firm mattress, a futon, or even the floor will do, thanks to the fact your spine can support itself. By lying on your back, your spine is in a neutral position without anything pressing against it to push it out of shape.
Sleeping on your back is technically the best way to sleep.
Since sleeping on your back is one of the best ways to make sure your spine and such stay aligned, you don’t need a whole lot of give in your mattress. Back sleepers are going to have their best results using a slightly medium to medium firm mattress. If you go too soft, you’ll start having more curvature in your back than you’d like.

Log position

Log sleepers are generally easy going and social. They tend to trust strangers and may even be a bit gullible.
About 15% of people sleep in the log position.
People that sleep on their side can help relieve some issues by sleeping with a pillow at their side.
If this is your favorite sleeping position, then you’re probably easy-going, social, and relatively trusting of strangers. You may also be a bit gullible. Logging is a fairly common position.

Fetal position

Is one side better than the other? Yes, especially if you’re expecting. You should sleep on the left side. It keeps your uterus from pressing against your liver on the right, while facilitating blood circulation to your fetus.
Experts estimate about 41% of people sleep in the fetal position, making it the most popular sleep position by far.
People who sleep in the fetus position are described as tough on the outside but sensitive at heart. More than twice as many women slept in this position versus men.
Think of putting a pillow between your legs and folding one leg while extending the other to relieve the pressure that you’re putting on your articulations and your pelvis. For your head, pick a thick pillow that will support your spine and occupy the empty space between your shoulder and your neck.
Still, this position does combat snoring, it does fight sleep apnea and keep those awful stomach acids in check.
People who sleep like a log are known as social butterflies. Although they are friendly, carefree, and popular, these social, trusting people are known for being gullible.yarPeople who sleep like a log are known as social butterflies. Although they are friendly, carefree, and popular, these social, trusting people are known for being gullible.


If you’re more comfortable sleeping on your side, place a pillow under your neck so it’s in alignment with the rest of your spine and a pillow between your legs so one leg doesn’t stretch over the other leg causing your pelvis to tilt.
Avoid sleeping with your arms higher than your shoulders (for example, by putting them under your pillow). It constricts your nerves and your veins. Your arms can be numb, and the weight is heavy on your shoulders, which makes getting up harder.
You may not realize this, but sleeping on your side is a fantastic position in which you can sleep. The best benefits come, in particular, if you sleep on your left side. If you’re sleeping on your left side, the liquid stays perfectly contained within.
Those who suffer from sleep apnea will also find sleeping on their side to be ideal.
Left-side sleeping may improve heartburn symptoms. “The reason for this is because when you sleep on your right side, the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes, allowing stomach acid to leak out, which can result in irritation”
Right-side sleeping may be better for your heart for the simple reason that it does not add any gravitational pressure to the heart.

Stargazer position

This position may not be the most popular, but it’s definitely a favorite position of mine. Stargazers find themselves lying on their back with their arms wrapped around their head.
Stargazer make their friends a priority and do anything in their power to help those they hold dear to them. People who sleep in this position tend to have a positive, “happy-go-lucky” outlook on life.

Stomach position

On your belly, your spine arches inwards because it’s not in its natural position. Your muscles and articulations carry the majority of your weight, and you’re forced to turn your head on the pillow in order to breathe.
You should prefer a flat pillow to prevent putting pressure on your neck and your shoulders, with a firm mattress.
Of all traditional sleeping positions, sleeping on your stomach is pretty much the worst save for one thing: stopping snoring. If you are a very heavy snorer in any other position, sleeping on your stomach is going to help out with that. This is because all the things which usually get in the way during sleep and cause the snoring will be out of the way when sleeping on your stomach.
There’s only one pillow to be used if you plan on making the most of sleeping on your stomach and staying alive. You’re looking for a pillow which either has a place for your face or which can hold up your forehead, so you can sleep face down and not suffocate.
Stomach-sleeping also means that your neck is going to be stuck in one position for an extended period of time. So it’s no surprise if you wake up to neck pain and experience muscle spasms and chronic pain.

Pillow Hugger position

Pillow huggers love to get snuggly and cuddled in bed, and are similar in personality to those stargazers above–they hold in high regard the close, personal bonds in their life.
Whether it be family, friends or a significant other, pillow huggers cherish those relationships over everything else.

Thinker position

Last but not least, this position is similar to the fetal position, except you’ll always have a hand gently resting on your chin.
Emotions run high and tend to vary between two extremes for whoever finds themselves sleeping in this position.
It’s fascinating to see the truths behind personality types and sleeping positions, and just as your personality doesn’t change over time, neither does the way you sleep.
Open, playful and fun personality. Can appear brash and may be secretly anxious.

What’s the Best Sleep Position?

France in particular, the country of romance, studies show that for over half of french couples the best way to sleep is back to back.
oung couples (less than 34 year olds) for a bit less than half prefer sleeping in the arms of one another, face to face.
If you are suffering back pain, you could try lying over a lumbar roll or peanut cushion at night to make you more comfortable. A rolled sheet or towel tied around your waist may also be helpful.

Smartphones Can Mess With Your Sleep

Turn off your phone. Research shows that late-night use of phones and tablets can interfere with sleep. One study found that people who used mobile devices late at night were more depleted the next morning and less engaged at work. Another study found that people who responded to text messages or other alerts after they had turned in for the night had poorer sleep quality, which in turn predicted symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Few other things to consider to sleep well

There are no formal classes or training manuals on the right way to sleep. People usually settle into the sleep position that’s most comfortable for them.
However, if you want to change your sleep position, there are a few things you can try. It’s often a matter of having the right mattress or pillow.
It’s always good to stay physically active, keep your spine limber and your core strong. Exercise at least three times a week and aim for a combination of cardio, strength training and stretching.
“Everyone has an individual need to sleep and if you are not able to meet your needs, you are not going to behave. Your normal way to compensate for the loss of sleep is by overworking, being rude or hyperactive, being more depressed and less social.”
Experimenting with different sleep positions won’t do any harm, so feel free to try each position for a few nights and see which is the best fit. It’s probably best to keep doing what feels right.

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