This position is good for your back, too. It prevents facial wrinkles and skin breakouts. “Sleeping on your back also combats acid reflux,” said Dr. Decontee Jimmeh, a neurologist in Norwood Clinic in Birmingham, Ala. to Medical Daily in an email. Lying on your back means the head is elevated, and the stomach is able to sit below the esophagus, making it less likely for digested substances to come back up. It’s important to note sleeping in this position can result in snoring. In addition, placing your arms up adds pressure on the nerves of the shoulders, which leads to pain.
Second Best: On Your Side
Sleeping on your side is beneficial for patients who have obstructive sleep apnea, prone to general snoring, neck and back pain, and for those pregnant. Fletcher said “[S]leeping on one’s side is helpful by mechanically opening up a crowded oropharynx. It also elongates the spine, which helps back pain.”
Being a side-sleeper, however, can also cause unwanted skin aging, since placing one side of your face on the pillow can cause you to get wrinkles, and even leads to saggy breasts.
Good for: Snoring less, sleeping during pregnancy
Bad for: Preventing neck and back pain, minimizing wrinkles, maintaining perky breasts
The scoop: When you snooze with your knees pulled up high and chin tucked into your chest, you may feel it in the morning, especially if you have an arthritic back or joints, Dr. Olson says.
“This curved position also restricts diaphragmatic breathing,” adds Dody Chang, a licensed acupuncturist in Irvington, NY. And if you make this your nightly pose, you may bring on premature facial wrinkles and breast sag.