Some medical practitioners believe that back sleeping is best, whereas others think sleeping on your side is the position of choice. Back sleeping is, for example, quite beneficial too (and safer for) infants.
Support Your Knees
Spineuniverse.com recommends that if you are a back sleeper you place a pillow under your knees to support the natural curve of the lower back. Sleeping on your back may prove helpful if you have lower back issues and pain. The pillow will help take pressure off of your sciatic nerve.
Forget the Pillow
Terri Trespicio, senior editor for "Body+Soul" magazine, is a firm believer that back sleeping, with no pillow, is the most beneficial way to sleep. Trespicio notes that the benefits of not using a pillow while back sleeping is that it allows your spine to rest with all of the natural curves in place. If you do use a pillow, and it is too thick, it can affect your breathing and not in a good way.
Ease Internal Organs
Romow.com agrees with Trespicio that back sleeping is the best route to go because it gives your internal organs room to breathe and is beneficial if you have back pain. According to Drsaracino.com, back sleeping is the best sleeping posture if your legs are elevated at the calves by nine inches. This puts the lower back in contact with the bed. Your back muscles can relax and the discs are able to re-expand because they can reabsorb the fluids that were pushed out of the discs during the day. Lying in this position also enhances blood flow to the heart.
A potential benefit of back sleeping is that you are not squishing your face against a pillow or mattress, which can cause wrinkles.
In 1992, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that infants should sleep on their backs, rather than on their bellies or side, to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It has been reported that back sleeping can reduce the incidence of SIDS by nearly 50 percent.
According to Jodi Mindell, pediatric sleep expert, back sleeping is not recommended for women who are in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Mindell explains that this position puts the full weight of your uterus on your back muscles, intestines, spine and on the vein that transports blood from your lower back to your heart, which is called the vena cava. Furthermore, Mindell says that back sleeping can put a pregnant woman at risk for hemorrhoids, digestion problems, backaches, and can interfere with circulation and breathing. Back sleeping can also affect blood pressure, causing it to drop and making a pregnant woman feel dizzy. For other women, it can cause an increase in blood pressure.