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The Best Sleeping Positions For Every Stage Of Life

The Best Sleeping Positions For Every Stage Of Life

The sleep position we choose constantly changes throughout our life. For some, sleep positions are determined by comfort levels. For others, pregnancy or a new partner can lead to a switch in sleeping style. As people get older, back pain and discomfort can also contribute to a shift in sleep position.

There’s no doubt you’ve woken up sore due to the way you’ve slept. Your sleeping position can often leave you feeling sore and tired because there is a very close link between the quality of your sleep and your go-to sleep style.

Lower back pain, soreness, and fatigue are telltale signs of two things - you’re either sleeping in the wrong position, or your mattress isn’t supporting your body the way that it should.

You’ll soon get to know the best sleeping positions for every stage of life, and why the type of mattress you sleep on should increase the comfort of your favorite way to sleep.

Table of Contents

Why Are Sleeping Positions So Important?

Since you spend over one-third of your life in bed, your sleep position plays a crucial role in supporting the rest and recovery of your body. Bedtime is when your mind and body clock off to repair and rejuvenate after a long day, and you shouldn't wake up feeling like you haven't slept at all.

More specifically, your sleep position can have a direct impact on your spine health. If the spine isn’t aligned correctly throughout the night, your sleep position can place unnecessary strain on sensitive areas such as the hips, neck, and shoulders.

Different stages of life can dictate what sleeping positions are better suited to ensure the best sleep possible. So while a sleeping position may suit you in your teens, you may need to switch things up as an adult.

Most Common Sleep Positions

While we all sleep differently, there are some common sleeping positions that we can all relate to. Your sleeping style will change over time, but you’ve likely experienced the following common sleep positions at some stage in your life.

Fetal position

fetal position | Puffy

From kids to adults - the fetal position is a popular sleeping style and considered the best sleeping position for all ages. It can help relax the body, release pressure from the lower back, and create a sense of security. The fetal position is popular amongst pregnant women and people who experience sleep apnea.

The best posture for the fetal position is to keep the body loose. A tight and rigid fetal position can lead to joint stiffness and even body pain in the morning.

Side sleeping

Side sleeping | Puffy

Sleeping on your side sometimes gets a bad rep for creating shoulder pain, neck pain, and jaw discomfort. However, the proper posture and sleeping on just the left side can deliver positive outcomes for those who deal with acid reflux and heartburn.

If you prefer sleeping on your side but feel discomfort in your lower back, a simple remedy is to place a pillow between the knees. The pillow acts as a bolster and reduces strain on the lower back and spine.

Some find it challenging to remain in a side sleeping position - if this is you and you want to sleep on your side all night, you can try hugging a memory foam body pillow. This will reduce stress on muscles and keep your body in place in the side position.

Back sleeping

Back sleeping | Puffy

Sleeping on your back is said to be one of the best positions as it helps keep the body in a neutral position. Like side sleeping, sleeping on your back is also beneficial for reducing the effects of acid reflux.

When you sleep on your back, you need to ensure that the pillow you sleep on is the right height to avoid straining the neck and back. When you sleep on your back, the best pillow is an adjustable memory foam pillow that contours to the head and neck.

Maintaining a suitable pillow height can significantly improve posture when you sleep on your back. If you’re transitioning from side sleeping to sleeping on your back, it may take some time for your back and shoulders to stay flat all night. To help, you can put a pillow below your knees. This helps minimize lower back pain and can also help you stay in the same position.

Stomach sleeping

Stomach sleeping | Puffy

Sleeping on your stomach is often preferred in colder months because of the warm and cozy feeling it creates. But stomach sleeping puts the most pressure on muscles and joints, making it a poor choice for adults who experience body pain.

If you want to sleep on your stomach, it’s critical to have a mattress that isn’t too firm. Opt for a medium-plush or ultra-plush mattress so your stomach and chest is adequately supported.

One of the most significant downsides when you sleep on your stomach is the position of your arms. Most people sleep on their arms which can cause numbness or pain. Stomach sleeping can also strain the neck as you have to move your head to the side to breathe.

Sleeping on your stomach can be improved by hugging a body pillow to reduce the chance of your hand getting trapped beneath your body.

The Best Sleeping Position For Different Ages

Developments in age and body impact the sleep cycle. It helps to understand the different ways to sleep for all age groups so you can get a good night’s sleep at any stage of life. This knowledge can assist with troubleshooting sleep issues so you can create a comfortable and relaxing environment that is uniquely yours.

Best Baby Sleeping Positions

The safest sleeping position for babies is on their back. Doctors recommend parents help babies develop a habit of back sleeping to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Best Baby Sleeping Positions

SIDS is a dangerous unexplainable condition that impacts approximately 2,000 babies per year in the US. While much is still unknown about its causes, one of the key preventative measures is ensuring that babies sleep on their backs. 

Best Children & Teen Sleeping Positions 

As children exceed toddler years and progress into the teens, their bodies develop; thus, sleeping positions tend to change frequently. 

The most common sleeping positions for children and teens include: 

While all are okay for children and teens, the key thing to look out for is the position of the arm. Your kids might be putting unnecessary strain on their arms and shoulders by regularly sleeping on top of their arms. Hugging a pillow is a solution that releases the tension on the joints.

Best Adult Sleeping Positions

Adulthood is when sleeping positions become more important than ever. As the body matures, aches and pains increase, and healthy sleep cycles become critical for general health and well-being.

Adults Sleeping Position

The most common sleeping positions for adults include:

When it comes to best sleep positions for adults, it all really depends on preference and comfort level. Adults who have back pain are more likely to benefit from side sleeping compared to stomach sleeping.

Adults with obstructive sleep apnea and snoring issues can benefit from side sleeping to help open up the airways. It all depends on how your body reacts.

Is There A Wrong Way To Sleep?

For most people, the wrong sleep position will be easy to spot. One of the most common signs that your sleep position isn’t for you is waking up with pangs of back pain or any other discomfort in your body.

Certain sleep positions can worsen the onset of back pain. One of the worst sleep positions for back pain is sleeping on your stomach. Stomach sleeping flattens the curb of the spine and places additional pressure on sensitive muscles around the lower back. Those prone to back pain or recovering from injury are not advised to sleep on their stomach.

Other signs of the wrong sleep position include a tingling arm or an aching shoulder. Both of these discomforts can also be linked to stomach sleeping.

Many stomach sleepers place their full body weight on their arms, often resulting in numbness, shoulder pain, and lower back pain. If this is you, then sleeping on your back may be a better option.

The Best Mattress For All Sleeping Positions

Sleeping positions change over time. So your mattress must adapt to the way you sleep, rather than you having to adjust to your mattress.

Time and time again, Puffy memory foam mattresses have been voted the best mattress for all types of sleepers. Why? It’s all in the contouring body-adaptive support of memory foam. Unlike spring and latex mattresses, memory foam softens to the curves of the body. No matter how much you move around, the mattress conforms to you, offering targeted support to muscles and joints.

Tired of your old lumpy bed? Compare Puffy’s mattresses and take it for a test-sleep with our 101-Night Sleep Trial.

If you find yourself struggling to sleep better or waking up with sore muscles and joints, adjusting your sleeping position can be a game-changer. Like all new things, it may take some trial and error to get comfy. For some extra help, consider upgrading to a Puffy Mattress for the best sleep guaranteed.

Check out Puffy mattress reviews from real customers and see how we compare with other brands.

Your Turn...

What is the best sleeping position for you? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.

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Certified Sleep Science Coach

Written by Teresa Francis, Certified Sleep Science Coach

Teresa Francis is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and full-time writer focused on well-being and sleep health. She’s written on a variety of topics, from what’s trending in bedroom decor to the way lifestyle influences sleep. Some of the subject areas she covers for Puffy include the best foods for better sleep, how new parents can catch up on rest, and the best way to become a morning person. Teresa has a Master’s Degree in Literature, and has always believed in the power of a good bedtime story.

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