by Stacey Colin0
(NewsMaxHealth) When you climb into bed each night, you probably try to find a position that feels comfortable to you. That’s a reasonable start, experts say, but it may not be the ideal approach if you have certain types of pain or health conditions.
Different sleep positions have their benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to find one that suits your body’s needs.
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Here are some common health conditions that warrant specific sleep positions:
Sleep apnea: If you snore or have sleep apnea (a disorder involving pauses in breathing while you sleep), it’s better to sleep on your side or stomach because these positions will help keep your airway open.
Snoring and sleep apnea tend to be worse when you sleep on your back because “when you’re sleeping, everything relaxes in the neck and throat and the tongue will slide back and cause some obstruction to air flow,” explains Jason Coles, M.D., a sleep physician with the Spectrum Health Medical Group in Grand Rapids, Mich.
In fact, a recent study at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found that when people with obstructive sleep apnea slept on their backs (the supine position), 60 percent of them had more than a two-fold worsening in their pauses in breathing and airflow.
There are a variety of techniques to keep people off their backs while they sleep.
“The cheap way is to sew a pocket into the back of a T-shirt and add a tennis ball around the level of the shoulder blades,” says Ryan S. Hays, M.D., an assistant professor of neurology & neurotherapeutics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “Having a body pillow that you can roll over and ‘hug’ during the night may also be helpful in promoting non-supine sleep.”