Posture, Positions, and Pillows

So everybody knows that there are various positions that people sleep in, and while some people switch up their sleeping positions as often as they change their underwear, in most cases, people pick one, maybe two sleeping positions and stick with it for life. Barring exceptional circumstances, of course. In this article, we’ll be taking a brief rundown of all the various sleeping positions and some of their pros and cons.

Position #1 – Back Sleepers


As the name obviously implies, this refers to people who sleep on their back. According to the Better Sleep Council, this can be further broken down into the soldier position, and the starfish position (coincidentally, also your girlfriend’s favorite position). The soldier position looks like Neville Longbottom (the dopey chubby kid, in case you forgot) in the first Harry Potter movie after that nerd witch Hermione (the one that was supposed to be frumpy but turned out hot…. Only after the fourth movie of course) hit him with the Petrificus Totalus spell after he caught Harry and his ragtag crew sneaking out of the dorm to handle business that really should have been left to the adults. As they say, snitchers get witches. The starfish position looks like, well, you get the picture I’m sure. The council’s study showed that about 8% of people sleep in the soldier position and 5% in the starfish position.

Pros: This position is great for your spine and neck as they are fully supported by the mattress; further as your spine remains straight with no contortions, there is no undue pressure on the spine. I suppose there is a reason the popular shavasana or corpse pose in yoga, so closely resembles this position, it’s great for your spine after a session of contorting your spine into positions that most definitely do not look anything like a starfish. This position is also good to prevent facial wrinkles from your face being smooshed into your pillow, or if you are the kind of girl who wears makeup to bed occasionally (usually after a night out at the club; you definitely don’t want the guy to have a morning after shock if he sees your non-made up face!). You don’t want to use too many pillows in this position however as it can obstruct your breathing; a single basic pillow would suffice.

Cons: If you are a snorer or suffer from sleep apnea, then this might be the worst position for you, particularly if you are the kind that makes weighing scales creak and beg when you step on them. Or maybe you’re just an average American Wal-Mart shopper. Either way, sleeping on your back causes compression pressure on the airway both from the base of the tongues as well as any fat that may encase your neck and jowls.

Position #2 – Side Sleepers


Once again, the valiant researchers at the Better Sleep Council have broken this position into 3 different sub-positions: the fetus, the log, and the yearner. The fetus is self-explanatory, the log is basically the soldier turned on the side, and the yearner is the position with outstretched arms, ideal for people looking for a reason to accidentally grope their bed partners in their sleep (I kid, I kid, consent is super important, guys!). The council estimates that 41% of people sleep in the fetus position, 15% in the log position, and 13% in the yearner position, meaning that 69% of all people are side sleepers. Clearly, this is the position of the common man.

Pros: Well, other than being probably the most comfortable sleeping position, surprisingly not very much. However, apparently pregnant women are encouraged to sleep on their left side as it improves heart circulation and also alleviates the pressure from the baby’s weight on the mother’s lower back. Sleeping on the left side is also good for people suffering from heartburn and acid reflux.

Cons: The dreaded numb arm syndrome upon waking. In this position a large portion of your body’s weight is either placed over a single arm or shoulder, which can have an adverse effect on muscles and nerves. Since there is no natural neck support, a good pillow is also essential, I recommend looking specifically for side sleeper pillows which are designed to give ideal lumbar and neck support. I’d suggest taking a look at this supposedly best side sleeper pillow since it comes highly recommended by sleep experts. Whichever pillow you decide to get, make sure it is soft yet sturdy, allowing for adjustment while still adequately supporting the curvature of the neck.

Position #3 – Stomach Sleepers


Also known as the freefall position, it is estimated that only 7% of people sleep in this position. Based on my anecdotal experience, I estimate that a full 80% of these people are also drunk, and fell into this position as they drunkenly stumbled into bed.

Pros: Helps with snoring and sleep apnea issues. People may also think you are dead, allowing you to skip work or school. Farts are diffused into the air instead of into your mattress.

Cons: Worst position for you spine as it flattens its natural curve and may lead to lower back pain. This can be alleviated by placing a pillow under your hips to support the spine, however people would likely just think of you as a nasty pillow humper. Oh yeah, and you may also suffocate and die, and if not you’ll most likely leave a nasty puddle of drool on your pillow and mattress.

So, to conclude, which position are you?

p.s. No babies were hurt in the production of this article.