Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sleeping Positions can Affect Your Health and Joint Pain

Can Your Sleep Position Affect Your Health? Can it affect your joint pain, especially in the knees?

Did you know that the position you sleep in at night can have an effect on your body's internal organs? In this article, from Yahoo News, you'll find out how your sleep position affects your heart, lungs, liver and stomach...and possibly your joints.

Sleeping on the stomach

Not very many people choose to sleep on their stomach, but there are a few who find this position to be the most comfortable. According to some studies sleeping on your stomach can put added pressure on all of your internal organs, including the liver and lungs. Sleeping on your stomach can also limit air intake. People who suffer from asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema or other lung disorders and chronic heart failure are especially warned to avoid sleeping on their stomach. Sleeping on the stomach can also exasperate the symptoms of acid reflux. Sleeping on the stomach is considered the worst sleep position by many health care professionals.

Some people however, find this more comfortable on their knees, if they place a pillow under their ankles so the legs are slightly bent.

Sleeping on the left side

Many people prefer to sleep on one side or another. Health care professionals often advise those who prefer sleeping on their side to sleep on the right side rather than the left. Sleeping on the left side can put added pressure and stress on the liver, stomach and lungs. Sleeping on the left side is also potentially harmful to the heart. People who suffer from chronic heart failure or have had a heart attack are often told to avoid sleeping on the left side. The theory is that sleeping on the left side can decrease the sympathetic nervous activity in the body. This activity is what typically controls blood pressure. Therefore sleeping on the left side can possibly raise blood pressure levels. Sleeping on the right side may actually lower your blood pressure and heart rate according to some studies.

Sleeping with a pillow between knees often helps not only with knee pain but with back pain as well. If you sleep with the upper leg over the lower leg this can place a lot of stress on your lower back.

Best Sleep Position during Pregnancy

Pregnant women are often told by health care professionals to sleep on their left side rather than the right side (opposite of above). This is because the growing uterus often puts added pressure on the liver. The liver is located on the right side of the body. Pregnant women may also see the benefit of increased heart function if they sleep on the left side, due to the heart being better able to pump blood, which enables better blood flow to internal organs.

The Best Sleep Position

Health care professionals typically consider sleeping prone on the back to be the healthiest sleep position. Sleeping on the back puts little to no additional pressure on internal organs. As a devout back sleeper, I was happy to read this information, but many find sleeping on their backs to be uncomfortable on the hips. If that is the case, putting a pillow under the knees can often relieve hip pain and enable you to sleep more comfortably your back. This can be a very comfortable position for those suffering with knee pain as well.

If you are concerned about how your sleep position may affect your vital organs I encourage you to speak with a trusted health care professional.

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  1. I keep seeing commercials for ACTIV On Roll pain reliever (like a deorderent stick), have you used it? What do you think of it? I am 43 years old female, in good shape, not overweight. I really like too run, actually I am adocted to running, but my knee pain is been hurting more and more.

  2. "prone" is face down.

  3. Actually prone just means lying flat ... its just most commonly used to describe facing downward

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