Positional Sleep Therapy

woman sleeping on her side

Well first off if you don’t know what the effects of sleep apnea are or if you think you might have it look at this post.  But to summarize, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where someone will wake up many times during their sleep.  This can be up to a hundred times in the worst of cases and just a dozen in the better cases.  This is due to a piece of tissue collapsing in the airway making one jerk awake.  Over time this will lead to drowsiness and overall bad health.  It is most common in overweight, middle-aged men.

Can sleeping position be a solution to my Sleep Apnea?

Usually people will treat their sleep apnea with a CPAP or an oral appliance.  Both of those do fix the problem but can be obtrusive.  Over time you may get used to the feeling of each, but it can be pretty uncomfortable and can make you lose additional sleep when getting used to it.  An alternative solution that doctors have found is the way you lay when you sleep.

Sleeping Positions

Stomach

Because of the added weight on the center of your body while you sleep on your stomach, it can be an added stressor your spine.  This will make it hard for your spine to create a neutral position, over time hurting your back.  If you took a look at that article you can see that it’s also bad for your neck.  Pregnant women might also want to avoid it for very obvious reasons.  None of these problems will occur overnight but may present themselves as time goes on.

Back

Those who prefer to sleep on your back don’t need to deal with spinal or neck pain, but it can lead to sleep apnea symptoms.  Due to gravity, this sleeping position makes it easier for the tissue in your neck to collapse the airway and wake you up.

Side

The best position is on your side.  It’s good on your bones and good for your sleep apnea.  However, many people don’t sleep like this naturally.  You may want to find a device or even just train yourself to do it gradually.  If you need to use pillows to support yourself that’s totally okay.  Even if you don’t have sleep apnea this position can be very comfortable.  I 100% recommend that anybody who think’s they’re at risk of sleep apnea try sleeping on their side.