Sleep Apnea Might Restrict You To Sleep On Your Back
There are people who naturally sleep on their side and they are called the side sleepers and then there are people who, due to sleep apnea, sleep disorders, injury and other medical conditions are no longer allowed or able to sleep on their stomach or their back and now they have to learn to sleep on their side. So there are 2 questions: why and how does someone who has slept for many years on the stomach and back sleeping posture start to change that and become a side sleeper? I address the “why” in this article and the “how” in another”.
Can Sleep Apnea Or Snoring Force Someone to Become a Side Sleeper?
There might be a few disorders or medical conditions that may force you to sleep on your side.
Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the major reasons to switch and try to sleep on your side. It all comes down to the ability of air to pass through your nose or your mouth, through the windpipe, into your lungs. If you have an obstruction you will have tissue blockage and breathing difficulties / lack of oxygen. The sleeping posture of the side sleeper is the best among the options for the widest possible windpipe opening due to the head, neck and spine correct alignment (assuming that among the side sleeper pillows you took the one with good support)
Snoring, which is directly correlated with sleep apnea; most people who have sleep apnea snore (but not necessarily the other way around) and the reasoning is exactly the same as above. Sleeping on the side is the best position to avoid tissue blockage.
Neck injury can make it absolutely impossible to be a back or stomach sleeper because the neck is usually at various angles in those sleeping postures and definitely not aligned straight with the spine and the neck. Especially in the case of neck injury it is very important to have the proper support from the mattress up to your head using one of the side sleeper pillows in order to have the correct angle (completely horizontal).
Other medical conditions and wounds on the body may, as described above, prohibit non-side sleeping. These might be short term, in which case you might not need to force yourself to change permanently, but they also might be chronic and/or for the lifetime in which case one must switch to become a side sleeper.
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