A Complete Guide to Sleeping Positions

A Complete Guide to Sleeping Positions

Everyone has a different sleeping position, some even have several. Things get a little more complicated when dealing with a couple in bed, but sleeping habits definitely vary throughout our lifespan.

With these sleeping positions are a psychological pull that makes for some great water cooler conversations. Accurate or not, there are some telling habits behind some of the most frequent and non-frequent sleeping positions. If one of these applies to you, don’t take it too much to heart, as everyone is different.

Along with those psychological reasons are a lot of health reasons, as some positions are better than others for your long-term health. As a sleeper if you wake up with frequent back or joint pain, even after changing mattresses, then it is possible you are sleeping in a position that is detrimental to your health. Take note of the many sleeping positions below, and see which one best applies to you.

The Back

A Complete Guide to Sleeping PositionsWildly considered the best sleeping position for your overall health, the back position reduces acid reflux, neck and back pain, minimizes wrinkles and for women helps with maintaining the shape in their chest area. The big one on this with the health is the back and neck pain, which can be caused by the spine not being aligned properly while sleeping, and with the neck being turned in an uncomfortable way in other positions. If these are your two main issues while sleeping then going to the back position would be the ideal choice.

For vanity reasons not sleeping with your face on the pillow or mattress will cut down on wrinkles earlier in life and help women maintain a better shape in their chest area. So the back position is the overall best for skin health, heart health, and neck and back pain. But for snorers, it is the absolute worse position if you have a partner.

The Side

Much like the back position the side has the same benefits, but loses out in a key area by not being able to avoid having your face in the pillow or the mattress. Sleepers on their side will most likely develop wrinkles faster on the side of their face they sleep on the most. Breast sagging is also an option, since one is stretching the skin farther out while sleeping on the side.

Of the best benefits of the side position, this is the preferred position if you snore, or if you are afflicted with sleep apnea. Users on their side don’t have to worry about snoring, but have to be careful to pick the correct pillow to prop their head up on or else they may wake up with neck pain. Pregnant women also reap benefits of side sleeping, not only out of necessity, but because it is good for blood flow.

Fetal Position

A Complete Guide to Sleeping PositionsThis is a weird position, and one that usually ends up with the sleeper bringing their knees to their chest, or putting a pillow between their legs as comfort. There is a saying that female fetal sleepers that put pillows between their legs are subconsciously compensating for weaker hips, although that was more than likely said tongue in cheek.

The fetal position is the second to worst position, and can lead to a bad back or even aggravate arthritis. It loses all of the benefits of side sleeping other than less snoring, but for some people may be one of the more comfortable positions to fall asleep too, mainly if they’re pregnant. If developing soreness in key areas of your body and you are a fetal sleeper, then it may be time to change it up so it doesn’t develop into something chronic.

On the Stomach

Classified as the worst sleeping position, it is unfortunately one of the default sleeping positions that gets a lot of people to fall asleep comfortably. You get all of the cons of the positions combined, from wrinkles, achy joints, and neck and back pains. The worst part about this position is that it is guaranteed to give you horrible neck pain, even if it hasn’t already.

Sleeping on your stomach turns your head in a way where it has to sit in that position for hours, stretching muscles in a way that it shouldn’t be in for hours at a time. If sleeping with your partner on a not so big bed, this is also one of the ways to aggravate the person on the other side of the bed since this position takes up the most space. A bird’s eye view down to a stomach sleeper shows a horribly unnatural position that if everyone could see would make them think twice about sleeping on their stomach.

As a Couple

A Complete Guide to Sleeping PositionsNow combine all of the positions above and add them to how couples sleep, which can vary differently. Starting with the Spoon, which is the most popular, the male takes a protective position over his partner that can either be close, or loose depending on the relationship. A tight spoon indicates a newer relationship that shows a strong bond and trust, while a loose spoon shows an older relationship that has gone through the stages of maturing and becomes more about getting a better nights rest. In a situation where one partner goes to the other side of the bed and their mate spoons them from behind while sleeping, that could be an indication that they are starved for attention or wants to be pursued more.

Face to face while sleeping is rarely done, but is an intimate position that usually takes place when couples have intense emotions for one another. It isn’t a position that happens too often, and when it does, it can be a very restorative and powerful night of sleep for the couple.

The restless position is one where the mate goes from one side of the bed in their own position alone to a position where they are reaching for their partner. This happens throughout the night until the settle on a spot, and indicates an equal amount of independence and strong feelings for their partner. Sleepers who do this tend to be wild sleepers when they sleep by themselves.

Sleeping back to back is actually one of the more preferred styles in couple sleeping, and indicates security in the relationship. When the backs are touching it shows intimacy and that the partners are thinking about one another while sleeping. The loose back to back can also mean a recent fight or unresolved issue, so watch out!

The best position for couples to sleep in though would still be the tried and true head on the chest, where you hear the heartbeat. Besides being a very nurturing position it provides a sense of protection to the participants both emotionally and physically which leads to a very nice night of sleep.


Of the many sleeping positions available by yourself or as a couple, the one to avoid the most is on your stomach. This seems to be universally hailed as the worst possible solution, and as you can see there are plenty of other options for getting a good night’s rest. Have some fun with the positions and take care of long-term health, as a bad sleeping position can be a hazard.

A good sleeping position, however, can make all the difference in the world.