Everyone has a favourite sleeping position that makes them feel all cozy and comfy when they get into bed each night.

Whether you like to sleep on your stomach or your side, it’s all a matter of preference. However, you might be surprised to know that your sleep position has a huge impact on your health.

An average person spends around one-third of their lives sleeping. As a result, sleeping in the wrong position can cause several health issues and posture problems. Research even suggests that our sleeping position influences our dreams and is also an indicator of a person’s personality.

Medical Issues Caused By Poor Sleep Posture

While sleep position has less of an effect on young and healthy people, the impact increases as you get older. Here are common problems associated with poor sleeping positions:

Back and neck pain: When we go to sleep, our muscles and joints relax and start healing themselves. Poor posture prevents the blood from flowing effectively to all parts of the body which means they can’t heal properly.

Snoring and Sleep apnea: Certain positions obstruct the airways, causing gaps in the breathing pattern of the person. This can lead to snoring and sleep apnea.

Heartburn and acid reflux: Sleeping without propping your head up can cause acid from the stomach to flow upward, resulting in heartburn.


Best Sleep Postures

The ideal sleeping posture varies for different people based on their musculoskeletal health. Here’s a list of some of the best sleeping positions:


While only a reported 15% of Canadians sleep on their backs, this is one of the best sleeping positions. It is highly beneficial for the back and the spine and allows for the healthy development of the muscles. As the body isn’t forced into any contortions, this position also prevents any aches and pains that are usually experienced after waking up. However, for snorers, this position can increase the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea.


Most side sleepers prefer their right side, but some also sleep on their left side. Whichever side you sleep on, it reduces the likelihood of snoring and keeps the airways unobstructed.

But it can put a strain on the lower back which can be reduced by keeping a pillow tucked between the knees. This preserves the natural alignment of the spine, pelvis, and hips.


A surprisingly large number of people prefer to sleep in a fetal position. Fetal position is where the person sleeps on the side with their torso rounded and their knees bent.

The position can provide relief to people who have a herniated disk or snore a lot. However, it can cause stiffness in the spine and restrict the airways. 

The Worst Sleeping Position

The worst position is sleeping on your tummy. Not only does this flatten the natural curve of your spine, but it also strains the neck and can lead to numbness and irritated nerves. It is also one of the leading causes of back pain and aching muscles.

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Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute is the leading sports medicine and physiotherapy clinic in Toronto. We offer the services of some of the best doctors and physiotherapists in the country. We are known for our expert diagnoses and effective non-surgical treatment options for various physical and mental health issues as well as debilitating illnesses.

Our range of services includes massage therapy, shockwave therapy, medical injection therapy, and neck and shoulder pain treatments.

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended for the purpose of providing medical advice. All information, content, and material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.