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Trouble breathing at night: Best sleeping positions to breathe easier

Trouble breathing at night: Best sleeping positions to breathe easier

Do you ever wake up gasping for air, or feel like you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep because of breathing difficulties? It’s a surprisingly common problem, and the way you sleep can actually play a big role. 

This blog will explore the connection between sleep position and breathing, and offer tips on the best sleeping positions for those who experience trouble breathing at night.

The importance of sleep position for breathing

Believe it or not, the position you choose to sleep in can significantly impact your breathing.

When you lie down, gravity affects how your tongue and airway tissues behave. In certain positions, gravity can pull your tongue back and narrow your airway, making breathing more difficult.

Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can worsen with specific sleep positions. For instance, sleeping on your back can relax the throat muscles and block your airway in people with sleep apnea.

Alt tag: Woman in white pyjamas stretching and yawning in bed with white sheets and pillows.

Finding the right sleep position for easier breathing

Not everyone benefits from the same sleep position. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of common sleeping styles, specifically considering their impact on trouble breathing at night.

Side sleeping

Side sleeping is widely recommended for those experiencing trouble breathing at night, especially those diagnosed with sleep apnea. In this position, gravity helps keep your airway open, reducing the likelihood of snoring and nighttime breathing problems. However, side sleeping isn’t perfect for everyone. Some individuals may experience shoulder or neck pain when sleeping on their side. Using a supportive pillow like our Meelu memory foam pillow can help alleviate this discomfort and ensure proper spinal alignment.

Alt tag: Woman in white pyjamas sleeping on her side with a white pillow and a gold alarm clock on the bedside table.

Stomach sleeping

Research on stomach sleeping and its impact on breathing is mixed. Some studies suggest stomach sleeping may improve breathing for people with sleep apnea, while others indicate it can restrict airflow.  Regardless, stomach sleeping is generally not recommended due to its potential to worsen back pain. Additionally, stomach sleeping can put a strain on your neck as you’re forced to turn your head to one side throughout the night.

Alt tag: Woman in white pyjamas sleeping on her stomach with a white pillow and a gold alarm clock on the bedside table.

Back sleeping

Back sleeping is generally not recommended for those with sleep apnea, as it can worsen airway obstruction. In this position, gravity can pull your tongue back and collapse the airway, leading to breathing difficulties and increased snoring. Back sleeping may also aggravate acid reflux for some individuals.

Alt tag: Child waking up in bed with a smile, lying on white sheets with a book next to them.

Tips for better breathing during sleep

  • Elevate your head: Prop yourself up with extra pillows to improve airflow and drainage.
  • Clear congestion: Use a saline nasal spray or decongestant before bed to open up your airways.
  • Manage allergies: If allergies contribute to breathing problems, consult your doctor for ways to manage your allergies.
  • Consider a CPAP machine: For diagnosed sleep apnea, a CPAP machine can be a life-changer, providing continuous positive airway pressure while you sleep.

Remember: If you’re experiencing persistent trouble breathing at night, consult your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Alt tag: Man in a white t-shirt blowing his nose to improve trouble breathing at night.

Improving your sleep environment

Invest in a quality mattress

A supportive mattress that aligns your spine and keeps your body properly positioned can significantly improve breathing and reduce pressure on your chest. A mattress like our Meelu mattress, designed with pressure-relieving materials and targeted back support, can help create a sleep environment that promotes optimal breathing throughout the night. Additionally, Meelu mattresses come in a variety of comfort levels, so you can choose the one that best suits your sleep style and preferences.

Maintain a cool bedroom temperature

Cooler temperatures promote deeper sleep and may ease breathing difficulties.

Practice relaxation techniques

Techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises before bed can help calm your nervous system and improve sleep quality.

Related: 7 sleeping tips for a deeper sleep

Alt tag: Woman sleeping peacefully on a patterned pillow and white bedding.

A good night’s sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. By understanding the connection between sleep position and breathing, and implementing some simple strategies, you can breathe easier and wake up feeling refreshed. For those seeking extra comfort and support to alleviate trouble breathing at night, a high-quality mattress like a Meelu Mattress can further enhance your sleep experience.

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