Which Body Position Will Allow You To Sleep The Longest?

As it turns out, everyone has their favorite position to sleep in. We all have our preference, but how does this affect the quality of our sleep?
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Image source: Consumer Reports

By: Emily Lopez, UCLA Undergraduate Student

I am a full-on, free-fall, stomach-down kind of sleeper -- and I own it. As a martial artist, I must be aware of my body positions and move in a conscious manner to achieve ultimate results. The same goes for sleeping.

Recently, I realized that not everyone falls asleep and moves the same way I do. I began to wonder: Is there in fact a correct way to sleep in order to maximize a night of sleep?

As it turns out, everyone has their favorite position to sleep in. My sister likes lying flat on her stomach with her leg in a crisscross applesauce form. The guy walking through campus said he slept like a log facing up and not moving at all during the night. We all have our preference, but how does this affect the quality of our sleep?

In a study conducted by the Japanese Society of Sleep Research, investigators looked at four different sleep positions in adults without apparent obstructive sleep apnea: right, left, prone (on your stomach), and supine (on your back). Even though we all have our own creative modifications, we can generally relate to these four distinct directions.

Among the 20-40 age group, researchers did not find a dominant position. However, they did find that females slept longest in the supine (on your back) position and males slept longest in the right position.

So the next time I am rubbing the sleep from my eyes and remembering that zombie cupcake dream, I'll wonder if it was all because I succumbed to sleeping on my stomach again.

Want to learn more about sleep? Join the #SleepRevolution at the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative Annual Celebration on April 20 - with Arianna Huffington! Learn more and get free tickets here.