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Does Sleeping Like a Starfish Give You a Good Night's Sleep?

A Baby Sleeps Like Starfish

Sleep is as necessary to all human life as breathing. Everybody needs to get a good night's sleep to recharge their energies for the next day. Without sleep, people become tired and restless.

But resting your head on a soft pillow and lying flat on your back is not enough. You also need to know the best sleeping position that's right for you. Starfish sleeping position doesn't always work for everyone.

Three Basic Sleep Positions

Many people find sleeping on your back like a starfish to be most beneficial to their health. Besides getting sufficient spine support, it also keeps their face free from blemishes caused by pillows rubbing against their skin. Others say it also sets them free from wrinkles.

There are three basic sleep positions. Starfish is a variation of them along with the soldier and log positions.

  • Sleeping on your side is most helpful in preventing insomnia and chronic sleep deprivation. It's the most comfortable position to slumber.
  • Lying flat on the back is a healthy sleeping habit. It promotes spine support. It may help relieve back and shoulder pain but it can also aggravate it if you're not careful.
  • Sleeping on your stomach is a big no-no for most health professionals. It's not a healthy way to sleep through the night.

The starfish lets you sleep flat on the back with your arms raised upward beside your head. It is generally a healthy way to relax and get a good night's sleep.

Is Sleeping in Starfish Position Bad

Yes and no. It has both positive and negative effects on the body. You may benefit from sleeping flat on your back like a starfish but keeping it for a long time may also cause you pain.

Have you ever tried waking up one day with a sore back or painful shoulder? You scratch your head, wondering why that happened. You only slept like a starfish. Besides a few health benefits, sleeping in a starfish position also has the following ill effects:

  • It increases instances of snoring.
  • It may cause sleep apnea.
  • It may trigger acid reflux.

The starfish sleeping position may not always be the best for you. You can't put too much stress on your shoulder. Occasional shifting is also necessary to maintain blood circulation.

Interesting Facts About Sleeping Positions

The Better Sleep Council, or BSC, conducted a nationwide survey among Americans on their preferred sleeping position. Here's a quick view of what they found out.

  • Nearly 50% of all Americans sleep in a curled-up, fetal position. Women are more likely to sleep in this manner than men. It is their favorite way to slumber.
  • Sleeping on their stomachs is the second most popular sleeping position among Americans. Yet, they consider it the worse way to sleep.
  • Baby Boomers have their way to get a good night's sleep. It is called the yearner position. They sleep on the side with arms stretched forward.
  • Sleeping in a soldier position gets more health benefits than all the rest of the sleeping positions. People who sleep in this way are more likely to hold this position throughout their slumber.
  • Only 7% of the American population prefer sleeping in the starfish position. It has some health benefits, but it may also lead to sleep apnea and lower back pain.
  • The least known and rarely preferred sleeping position turns out to be the healthiest of all. Only a small number of Americans choose to sleep in the log position.

Starfish is not the ultimate sleeping position. Each position has its upside and downside. Experts suggest shifting positions as you slumber to get a good night's sleep.

Pros and Cons of the Starfish Position

While sleeping in the starfish position provides back support and protects your spine, experts do not recommend it to some people. It may cause them more harm than good.

Here are a few helpful points to remember when sleeping in the starfish position.

  • Sleeping flat on your back, like in the starfish position, may cause heartburn. Ten people participated in this study. Their throats were assessed for GER while they sleep.
  • Women love sleeping in the starfish position, but it hurts the baby in their womb. A study reveals that mothers who sleep flat on their backs are prone to having a stillbirth.
  • If you're already suffering from back pain, make sure to keep your spine well-support. Placing a pillow under your knees may help reduce the stress on your shoulders and relieve the pain.
  • Sleep apnea occurs when the air passage in your throat gets blocked. The starfish sleeping position may bring about this obstruction.

Sleeping in a starfish position can be so comfortable and relaxing. However, it may cause pain on your shoulders if you keep it for so long. To relieve the stress, consider moving your hands down to your sides.

What Makes the Best Sleeping Position

There is no standard sleeping position for all people. Each has its pros and cons. Consider these four comfortable sleeping positions and see what fits you best.

  • People from all age groups love to sleep on their side. The preference grows stronger with age. The elderly prefer to sleep on their side more than children.
  • The fetal position can be beneficial to people who are likely to have sleep apnea. A study of about 100 subjects revealed that sleeping on the side improves patients with heart failure.
  • Whether in a soldier or starfish sleeping position, lying flat on your back promotes a good night's sleep by keeping your spine aligned and protected.
  • Sleeping on your stomach is the most unfavorable sleeping position. It can trigger suffocation and may even cause death, especially among infants. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported.

The best sleeping position is one that gives you the best comfort. You don't get to wake up in the morning with sore limbs, and you would not have difficulty breathing while you sleep.

How To Choose the Right Sleeping Positon

It depends on some health conditions as well as other physical factors. Consider the following points:

  • Age does matter when choosing a comfortable sleeping position. As people get older, their bones become brittle and their muscles rigid and inflexible.
  • Back and shoulder pain can be relieved through sleep with the correct sleeping position. Sleeping in the wrong way could worsen the pain.
  • Breathing is essential to the body, even when you sleep. Some sleeping positions may cause difficulty in breathing. That is why some people are prone to snoring.
  • Women's health is also an essential factor. Experts don't recommend pregnant women to sleep on their backs. Soldier and starfish sleeping positions may hurt the baby in her womb.

You can't have a one-size-fits-all sleeping position. Being too stiff when you sleep may even cause more damage to your health. It's natural and healthy to shift positions from time to time.

Starfish Poll


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Reina Mendoza


Robert Clarke from UK on June 24, 2021:

I like sleeping like that but unfortunately for my partner I snore when I sleep on my back

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