What Are the Best Sleep Positions for Sleep Apnea?

2 Mins read

Around 22 million Americans live with sleep apnea — that’s a large number of people who have to deal with this often tricky condition that can be serious too.

However, there are some sleep positions that can help with sleep apnea a little better than others, and we’ve outlined them below!

If you’re hoping to find the best sleep positions for sleep apnea, as well as those that might not be best for you, keep reading on.

Left-Side Sleeping

Side-sleeping is considered to be the best type of sleeping. It’s proven to reduce issues such as insomnia and gastroesophageal reflux disease. These can both negatively affect sleep apnea and make the condition worse.

What makes sleeping on your left side better than sleeping on your right is that it’s better for blood flow. If you have any breathing conditions, it’ll make life easier for you too.

However, left-side sleeping isn’t always recommended for people with congestive heart failure, as it can cause stress to the heart as well as discomfort — if this applies to you, you should check with your physician first.

Right-Side Sleeping

Left-side sleeping might be the best choice, but right-side sleeping is the next-best alternative. 

Again, it’s good for blood flow — and air flow too — and decreases the chances of you snoring. It can worsen symptoms of acid reflux, however, because it can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, so bear this in mind if you do sleep on your right side.

You can learn more about sleep apnea and your own personal sleeping needs here, so you’re fully aware of what works for you.

Prone Sleeping

Prone sleeping, or stomach sleeping, isn’t the best sleep position for sleep apnea relief, but isn’t the worst either.

Sleeping on your stomach encourages your tongue and soft tissue forward, reducing the chances of you snoring and helping to avoid obstructions to your airways, so it’s beneficial in this regard.

However, prone sleepers will often bury their face into their pillow so it covers their mouth — this is detrimental as it doesn’t encourage good breathing, therefore not being great for sleep apnea.

Supine Sleeping

Of the four sleeping positions outlined here, supine, or back sleeping, is the one that we recommend the least. 

Supine sleeping works against gravity, making you more likely to snore and twice as likely to experience the condition of sleep apnea. 

It creates a higher level of resistance in your upper airway as it encourages your soft tissues to crowd. This is also referred to as positional obstructive sleep apnea. 

People with sleep apnea have often chosen back sleeping. However, this can be a counterproductive decision — ideally, you should sleep in one of the above three positions. However, if you have to sleep on your back, try to get a better-quality pillow if possible.

Finding the Best Sleep Positions for Sleep Apnea

As a general rule, the best sleep positions for sleep apnea are left- and right-side sleeping, due to the benefits they bring.

It won’t be that simple for everybody though, depending on how you’re used to sleeping and if you have any conditions. For example, if you’re prone to acid reflux, right-side sleeping may not be best for you, while if you’re used to stomach sleeping, you might be able to work past the drawbacks so that it’s effective for you. 

Are you looking for more health advice? Check out the rest of our posts!