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What’s the best sleeping position?

By Steven Willis   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Last updated: Tuesday 22nd March 2016

What’s the best sleeping position?

common sleeping positionsAs sleep fanatics and the creators of one of the world’s most beloved mattresses, we’re regularly asked for advice on all things sleep-related. One of questions we’re asked most regularly is “what’s the best sleeping position?” (or a similarly-worded query such as "what's the healthiest sleeping position" or "which side is better to sleep on?) Is the foetal position the fast-track to a good night? Or is sleeping on your back the best way to sleep the night through? What about the ‘starfish’, ‘free-faller’ or the ‘soldier’?

Well, the answer is simply whichever position you feel comfortable enough to fall asleep in is the best sleeping position for you. Sleeping positions are something that come naturally, and the idea of ‘trying’ to sleep in a position that doesn’t feel right is a sure way to delay the onset of sleep.

It’s true that in some cases certain sleeping positions aren’t recommended, for various reasons. Being pregnant, suffering from sleep apnoea (OSA), and having other specific conditions or injuries are all scenarios where particular sleeping positions wouldn’t be recommended (or even possible). Let’s take a look at those in more detail;

Pregnancy – The obvious physical changes that occur throughout pregnancy render any sleeping position where you lie on your front impossible, but certain other positions aren’t recommended. Lying on your back with the added weight of a growing baby can cause lower back strain – something which you’ll get enough of during the day – while sleeping on your right side can create various circulation problems, particularly related to the liver. So during pregnancy it’s said that sleeping on your left side is best

Sleep Apnoea (OSA) – This often-overlooked condition involves the periodic closing of the airway, resulting in breathing pauses that can sometimes last up to thirty seconds at a time. In severe cases these apnoeas can happen hundreds of times a night during sleep, dramatically harming sleep quality and overall health. Back sleeping is not recommended for OSA sufferers, as the tissue surrounding the neck and throat can create pressure around the airway and exacerbate the problem. 

Conditions or Injuries – There are numerous conditions and injuries that rule out particular sleeping positions, either through causing additional discomfort or being physically impossible. Perhaps the most common example of these would be back pain, which can rule out most back sleeping positions.

Beyond those specific situations though, you’re free to find whatever position feels right and go with it. Which means there’s no such thing as the ‘best’ sleeping position, and if you’re sleeping well then guess what – you’ve already found the position that works for you. If you’re not sleeping well, its’s unlikely to be because of your sleeping position.

You’re really asking a different question…

Since sleeping positions are naturally-occurring you inherently already know the one that works for you and, by deduction, the ones that don’t. If you’re wondering about sleeping positions then it’s quite likely you’re really asking a far wider, more complex question altogether; How do I sleep better?

Good sleep is the result of many different factors coming together, and because so many disparate elements contribute to your sleep quality it can sometimes be tricky to single out what’s causing a problem. It could be a simple, easily solved issue or it could be a combination of things that require a longer term approach. Again, looking beyond specific medical conditions, those factors can be neatly summed up in the following topics;

Bedroom Environment – The body is incredibly sensitive to its surroundings, especially when it comes to sleeping, so it’s vitally important than your bedroom is correctly set up to encourage good sleep. Think about light sources, colour schemes, layout, temperature, unnecessary distractions (TV, laptop, iPad anyone?) and noise levels. It just takes one of these factors to be out of sync to decimate your sleep quality.

5 Ways to Style your Bedroom for Sleep

Perfect Bedroom Environment

Food and Drink – What you eat and drink (and when you eat and drink it) are crucial to the body’s energy levels and, by association, sleep quality. There are a whole host of well-known foods and drinks that aren’t compatible to sleep thanks to the way that they create energy, and in contrast there are some foods and drinks that promote relaxation which is perfect for good sleep.

Dreamy Recipes for Good Sleep

Sleep-friendly Superfoods – Your Secret Weapons for Great Sleep

Sleep and Weight Gain

Exercise and Lifestyle -  Closely linked to dietary habits, exercise and lifestyle are important factors in achieving regular good sleep. The production and expenditure of energy throughout the course of the day determines, among other things, how prepared you’ll be for good sleep when it comes to bedtime.   Something as simple as a short walk while being exposed to sunlight can be beneficial for sleep.

Exercise and Sleep

Sleep and Sports Performance

Mattress – Last but absolutely not least, your mattress is something that should be an obvious factor in determining sleep quality, but it is often overlooked well beyond the point that it is causing a problem. All mattresses have a useable lifespan and it’s towards the end of that time when performance begins to deteriorate and your sleep will suffer. With regular poor quality sleep your overall health and wellbeing is jeopardised, so the importance of knowing when to change your mattress really can’t be overstated.

Mattress Buying Guide

 



Ergoflex™ are a 5-star GOLD Trusted Merchant on Feefo – For the Third Year Running!

Last updated: Friday 5th February 2016

Ergoflex™ are a 5-star GOLD Trusted Merchant on Feefo – For the Third Year Running!

feefo 2016We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been given the 5-Star GOLD Trusted Merchant accreditation by Feefo for the third straight year. The 2016 accreditation underlines our continued dedication to providing first-class customer service and outstanding products, and the fact we’ve maintained our level of excellence for three continuous years shows that we’re not taking our foot off the gas! 

Category: Ergo Flex News

Read full: Ergoflex™ are a 5-star GOLD Trusted Merchant on Feefo – For the Third Year Running!

Winter and Sleep – How the darker months can kill your sleep routine

Last updated: Thursday 4th February 2016

Winter and Sleep – How the darker months can kill your sleep routine

winter_sleepThe winter months should, in theory, be the perfect time for great sleep – cold, dark nights that almost demand cosying up and settling down – but for many people they signal the opposite; restlessness and disrupted sleep that results in a daytime lethargy that’s hard to shake off. The first months of the year really can excel in fuelling a low mood, especially when the weather is less snow-covered Alpine postcard scene and more dull grey, relentlessly rainy and bone-chillingly windy.

From side-effects of the syndrome known as ‘seasonal affective disorder’ (‘SAD’) to the rather more vague feeling of ‘Winter Blues’, the darker months can often produce a malaise that directly results in poor quality sleep. With regular bouts of bad sleep your body and mind will soon begin to suffer, so it pays to be aware of how this time of year can slowly but surely take its toll.

Let’s take a look at some of the issues involved, and how to potentially deal with them.

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: Winter and Sleep – How the darker months can kill your sleep routine

Ergoflex™ Christmas Gift Guide 2015

Last updated: Tuesday 17th November 2015

Ergoflex™ Christmas Gift Guide 2015

gift guideIt’s that time of year again when thoughts turn to cosy nights by the fire, fun in the snow, festive celebrations and, naturally, a growing panic about what to buy people for Christmas!

This year, why not rest easy and make sleep the theme of your gifts? By giving a sleep-related gift you’re giving so much more – increased energy and vitality, a brighter mood, and a wellbeing that only comes from regular good sleep.

So this Christmas ditch the chocolates and novelty presents, and give a gift that they’ll feel the benefit of every single day; sleep.

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: Ergoflex™ Christmas Gift Guide 2015

Sleep and Memory – How a Good Night Boosts Your Recall

Last updated: Wednesday 16th September 2015

Sleep and Memory – How a Good Night Boosts Your Recall

It’s well known that a good night’s sleep is one of the most effective ways to be at our best, both physically and mentally. One particular mental activity that is becoming increasingly linked to sleep quality is memory, from simple day-to-day recall to long-term historical memories stretching back several years. While the role that sleep plays in various aspects of memory has been a subject of debate for some time, it’s only recently that the strength of the connection is becoming evident.

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: Sleep and Memory – How a Good Night Boosts Your Recall

Record-Breaking Froome Takes 2nd Tour de France Title

Last updated: Monday 27th July 2015

Record-Breaking Froome Takes 2nd Tour de France Title

Chris Froome has won the 2015 Tour de France, marking an historical achievement and firmly cementing himself amongst the legends of the race. The Team Sky star completed a gruelling three weeks of racing one minute and twelve seconds faster than Movistar’s Nairo Quintana, making him the first Brit to win the prestigious Tour twice. As well as the overall Tour win, Froome also finished with the King of the Mountains jersey, an achievement last recorded some forty-five years ago by Eddy Merckx and just the sixth time it has happened in the Tour’s long history.

The incredible win completed a dominant performance from Froome and Team Sky, in which he held the lead from stage seven onwards.

 

Category: Ergo Flex News

Read full: Record-Breaking Froome Takes 2nd Tour de France Title

How is Technology Affecting the Way You Sleep?

Last updated: Monday 27th July 2015

How is Technology Affecting the Way You Sleep?

Do you ever find yourself replying to texts and emails late at night? Or choosing to watch another episode of a TV show when you know you should go to bed? 

When artificial lighting was introduced to our everyday lives, it started affecting the way that we slept. Now, with more technology available at our fingertips than ever before, it can delay the time it takes us to fall asleep at night, and decrease the quality of our sleep once we do drift off.

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: How is Technology Affecting the Way You Sleep?

Minimalist Bedrooms – How to Avoid a Clinical Look

Last updated: Monday 20th July 2015

Minimalist Bedrooms – How to Avoid a Clinical Look

minimalist bedroomsWhen considering colour schemes around the house, the bedroom isn’t the best place to get experimental. The wrong choice in the bedroom can trigger a sense of energy, creating a distraction that’s not what you need when you’re looking to wind down for the night. Worse still, a scheme that’s allowed to evolve randomly is likely to end up making the room feel too busy and claustrophobic.

Rather than a vibrant and exciting colour choice, neutrals and whites are the way to go in the bedroom. This is perfect for a minimalist and always-stylish look, but it comes with a risk of its own.

By taking the minimal approach too far the bedroom can end up with a clinical, sterile ambiance that’s just as inappropriate for relaxation as a busy and energetic space, if not more so. Remember that your bedroom is for sleep above everything else, and an oppressively clinical environment isn’t something to aspire to.

The good news is that it’s easy to take the edge off a minimalist look with a selection of bedroom accessories. A splash of considered colour and a subtle addition of texture can be all it needs to transform a minimalist bedroom from feeling like a hospital ward to a welcoming environment that retains its style. Here are four ways to achieve it.

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: Minimalist Bedrooms – How to Avoid a Clinical Look

Food and Sleep – Dreamy Recipes for Good Sleep

Last updated: Monday 13th July 2015

Food and Sleep – Dreamy Recipes for Good Sleep

Have you ever had a bad night’s sleep, only to find yourself craving fatty or sugary foods the next day? Or felt like you needed a nap after a big meal? A bad night’s sleep could cause you to eat more the next day and the type of food you eat could be affecting the quality of your sleep.

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: Food and Sleep – Dreamy Recipes for Good Sleep

Alternative Sleep Schedules – Is polyphasic sleep safe?

Last updated: Thursday 2nd July 2015

Alternative Sleep Schedules – Is polyphasic sleep safe?

In a world where almost everyone is running around trying to balance their work and home responsibilities, whilst also fitting in exercise and even a social life in between, getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night can be a challenge for many people.

So it’s not surprising that people throughout history have tried to cope on less sleep (famously, Margaret Thatcher, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell were all said to get just four hours of sleep a night), or that many adults sleep in on weekends in an attempt to “catch up” with the hours they lost during the week. But some people have taken this to extreme levels, training themselves to cope on just two hours of sleep every 24 hours.

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: Alternative Sleep Schedules – Is polyphasic sleep safe?

Exercise and Sleep - could the type of exercise you do be bad for your sleeping habits?

Last updated: Monday 22nd June 2015

Exercise and Sleep - could the type of exercise you do be bad for your sleeping habits?

Does the exercise you do really help you sleep better? Exercise is one of the most common suggestions to people who are finding it difficult to get to sleep, but studies suggest that the time of day you exercise, and the type of exercise you do, both effect the way you sleep.

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: Exercise and Sleep - could the type of exercise you do be bad for your sleeping habits?

Clutter and Sleep Loss - an untidy bedroom could be affecting the way you sleep

Last updated: Tuesday 16th June 2015

Clutter and Sleep Loss - an untidy bedroom could be affecting the way you sleep

Does the sight of a messy bedroom have you rushing to tidy it up? Or is the colour of your floor long forgotten underneath the piles of clothes, papers and general clutter of your bedroom? 

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: Clutter and Sleep Loss - an untidy bedroom could be affecting the way you sleep

The Lunar Effect: How the Moon Affects Your Sleep

Last updated: Tuesday 5th May 2015

The Lunar Effect: How the Moon Affects Your Sleep

Gazing at the moon on a dark night can give an indescribable sense of wonder, calming all your senses and can put perspective on everything. This feeling of awe could fall into what is described as the ‘lunar effect’, which is the belief that the lunar cycle can influence the behaviour of animals and humans. Whilst a lunar effect may first appear to be a myth from ancient times, there is at least some scientific evidence to back up the theory – especially on the way you sleep. 

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: The Lunar Effect: How the Moon Affects Your Sleep

Weird Sleep Experiments – Strange Journeys into the World of Sleep

Last updated: Friday 1st May 2015

Weird Sleep Experiments – Strange Journeys into the World of Sleep

Sleep remains one of the most mysterious elements of life, with scientists continuing to debate the most fundamental questions relating to the issue. It’s hard to believe that there isn’t actually a scientific consensus on why we sleep, let alone the reasons behind many of the more complex areas of the subject.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that over the years there have been some downright bizarre experiments into sleep.

Here are some of the weirdest, featuring a chanting man in a summer camp dormitory, a Clockwork Orange-style eye-opener, the ‘Pillownaut’ and a remarkable example of the power of the mind.

Are you ready to go down the weird sleep rabbit-hole?  

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: Weird Sleep Experiments – Strange Journeys into the World of Sleep

20 #Sleephacks (You Can Try Tonight)

Last updated: Tuesday 28th April 2015

20 #Sleephacks (You Can Try Tonight)

Struggling to sleep? Well, a good night’s sleep might be closer than you think – check out these easy #sleephacks that you can try tonight.

Category: Sleep Research

Read full: 20 #Sleephacks (You Can Try Tonight)

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