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After a long day, there’s nothing like hopping under the covers for some blissful sleep. But, as it turns out, the way you do it can help--or hurt--your body. Here’s the deal on the three most common sleeping positions and what they mean for your health.   

sleep back
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If you sleep on your back...

Congratulations, this is the best way! Sleeping in a supine position (on your back), is best for your spine and neck, since you’re maintaining a neutral position and aren’t contorting your body. In a more vain vein, sleeping on your back is also best for preventing wrinkles, since you aren’t smooshing your face into a pillow for eight hours. The only con to back-sleeping is that it could make you more prone to snoring or sleep apnea. If you sleep this way and notice yourself snoring, trying propping your head up (but not too much) with a pillow.

sleep side

If you sleep on your side...

Side-sleeping isn’t the best option, but it’s also not the worst. It is, however, the most common. In general, sleeping on your side can cause nerve compression in your arms and legs, which could lead to chronic pain. And weirdly, it also matters which side you sleep on. It’s better to lie on your left side, which may reduce heartburn and improve digestion. So, if you must sleep on your side, make sure it’s on your left and try placing a pillow between your knees to provide extra support for your back.

RELATED: 5 Tips for Side Sleepers

sleep stomach

If you sleep on your stomach...

If back-sleeping is arguably the best way to rest, stomach-sleeping is the worst. Laying flat on your stomach causes a lot of neck strain (since you have to turn your neck to a 90-degree angle in order to breathe) and flattens the natural curve of your spine, which could lead to lower back pain. If you sleep on your stomach, it’s highly advisable to train yourself to sleep on your side or back. (Sorry.)

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