There are three common sleeping postures and most will favour one or two at the most for the most comfort.
The three postures are:-
This is the most common, and in my opinion, the best sleeping posture. If you sleep on your side, it's important to ensure your spine is horizontal to the bed, and you head is level with your spine. If your mattress dips and fails to support where you curve, your spine will twist. Check your pillow supports your head and neck without it tilting down, and for extra comfort, place a pillow between your knees and ankles to prevent your top leg from dropping forward and twisting your lower back.
If you're most comfortable on your back, check your neck is fully supported by your pillow, and also your lower back is in contact with your mattress. A gap between your lower back and bed can lead to lower back pain. If your mattress isn't giving your back full support, place a pillow under your knees so your legs are slightly bent so your lower back will come into full contact with the mattress.
If you snore, you are more likely to snore while lying on your back – a nudge in the ribs from your partner may encourage you to roll onto your side. If this is the case, place the pillow under your legs to in-between your legs - see side sleeping posture above for more help.
This is the least common sleeping posture and potentially the worst for your neck. A thick pillow will stretch the neck and cause discomfort in the morning. Many front sleepers don't use a pillow that again can place stress on the neck and shoulders, but it is possible to buy one tailored from sleeping on your front.
Mattresses and Pillows
Memory foam is becoming more popular by the year and is now more affordable, and in many cases the same price as a conventional, individually sprung mattress. But while memory foam may be perfect for many, I would advise you try before you buy.
Often, the cheaper memory foam mattresses are false economy. Memory foam shapes itself to your body so every inch is supported. However, in summer you may find it becomes too hot to sleep well. You can buy memory foam mattresses with ‘breathable’ layers to keep your body cool – but this does add to the price.
There are many different shaped pillows now available to give support where it’s needed depending on your sleep position and shape. But again, if possible, try one in the shop for size as they can take some getting used to if you’ve been using a conventional style pillow.
So ultimately, the best position is down to your daytime posture habits, and getting good support from your bedding. A good night's sleep is vital for your health, so it is well worth investing in good quality bedding.
Also see best sleep hygiene
Posted by Roy, our Alexander Technique teacher.