What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Sleep Apnea?

Best sleep position for sleep apnea

Nothing feels better than crashing down on the bed after making it through a long, tiring day. You have done your time, and it is time to lie down and get some good sleep to revitalize your body and prepare for the next day. No wonder, sleep is the best form of rest.

But there are times when you wake up feeling exhausted, even after lying down like a log for eight hours. As a result, you suffer from daytime sleepiness and fatigue. These are the signs that you might be suffering from a common sleeping disorder known as sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is characterized by abnormally loud and frequent snoring which is not pleasant to any ear on the planet. You are not the only one missing out on sleep. Your roommate, partner, or even your neighbors will have a hard time sleeping with your acoustics on loop.

Lucky for you, sleep apnea is always treatable. It is as simple as making a few minor changes in your daily life, like changing your sleeping position, which can help reduce snoring.

What is your favorite sleeping position?

Sleeping is more than just lying down on the bed. We are so used to taking our sleep for granted. But our bedtime habits, including sleeping position, have a significant impact on the quality of our sleep.

You might change your sleeping positions frequently throughout the night. But there is always one best position which you find most comfortable. Voilà! That’s your favorite sleeping position.

However, your favorite sleeping position may not be the best for your health, especially if you are suffering from sleep apnea. Your breathing position affects your breathing process, which is central to any sleep disorder.

How do breathing conditions vary with body position?

Before discussing the best sleeping position for sleep apnea, you should know how your body’s breathing conditions vary with your body position.

You can breathe more easily when your body is in a vertical position, like standing or sitting, because there is no obstruction to the airflow and breathing.

But things get a bit more complicated when you lie down in a horizontal position. Your muscles get relaxed. Gravity kicks in and narrows down your airways. This is one of the main reasons for snoring.

What is the Best Sleeping Position for Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the air passage is completely blocked during sleep. The best home remedy to sleep apnea is to prevent that air blockage while you are sleeping. This is where sleeping position matters.

So, which one is the best sleeping position for sleep apnea? Let’s talk about the four most common sleeping position and their effects on your health.

Lateral Sleeping Position

Lateral sleeping, or sleeping on your side, is considered the best sleeping position for sleep apnea. You are less likely to suffer from breathing obstructions and disorders when your body is positioned sideways. It scores high on both the quality and quantity of sleep.

There are two types of lateral sleeping positions.

Left-Side Sleeping Position

Sleeping on your left side is found to be the most effective in the sleeping position to control snoring and sleep apnea. There is little to no resistance in the airway in this position, thus, allowing for uninterrupted blood circulation. Therefore, when in doubt, go left!

However, your heart and lungs have to bear more weight and pressure in this position. It often leads to hyperactive kidneys that require you to wake up frequently for urination at night.

You can make this side sleeping position easier by using a good pillow that provides support to your neck and back.

Right-Side Sleeping Position

Try switching to your right-hand side if you do not feel comfortable on your left. Like sleeping on your left, this lateral sleeping position is highly recommended for habitual snorers. It is highly effective in boosting blood circulation and oxygen flow in the body, which is crucial for a good night’s sleep.

However, the right-hand side sleeping position is often linked with gastroesophageal reflux.

Prone (Stomach) Sleeping Position

If you can’t seem to adjust to sleeping on either side, try sleeping on your stomach. Prone sleeping position reduces the issue of the restricted airway by pulling the tongue and palate forward. This is one of the best remedies to the snoring problem.

However, this position is not encouraged because it often leads to asphyxia if you are not careful enough. Do not bury your face in the pillow as it blocks your respiratory system.

Supine (Back) Sleeping Position

We have saved the least recommended sleeping position for the last. Sleeping on your back might seem like the most comfortable position, as it is good for spinal alignment.

But this position is the main convict when it comes to endless snoring and sleep apnea. The gravitational force pulls the soft palate and tongue downwards toward the throat and blocks the airway, causing positional obstructive sleep apnea.

Final Verdict

We are the creatures of habit. It might be a little difficult to make changes to your tried and tested sleeping position. But your favorite sleeping position may not always be the best.

An average person spends about one-third of their life sleeping. So it better be worth it. When it is about good sleep, both the quality and quantity matter. You can experience positive impacts on your health and quality of life just by switching to a new sleeping position.

The choice of the best sleeping position for sleep apnea patients depends on their severity. With willpower and dedication, the new sleeping position will be like your second nature.

Based on our research, left-hand side sleeping is considered the best sleeping position for sleep apnea, because it frees the airway and reduces snoring. Avoid sleeping on your back at all costs.

If you are already sleeping on your side, congratulations! You are more than halfway there to lead an energetic and healthy life by keeping sleep apnea at bay.


Dan was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2017 when he was only 32 years old. He has been using a BIPAP machine for his treatment. He hopes to provide a patient's perspective on the sleep apnea experience. Dan lives in Tampa with his girlfriend and 2 dogs.

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