Ask the ASA: Changing Sleep Positions

Welcome to Ask the ASA, a regular feature that allows our visitors to ask questions and receive answers from the American Sleep Association!  Use our contact form to send in your questions (or send them to us via Facebook or Twitter), and we’ll select the best ones to receive answers from the ASA.

This time around, Dr. Neil Kline from the ASA addresses a question about frequently changing sleep positions:

I’ve noticed that my main comfortable position to sleep in changes from time to time. For example, I used to fall asleep in the soldier position but now fall asleep on my side. What could be the reason for these changes? Does anyone else have this? 

Contrary to popular belief, we change positions many times during the night. We are not stationary and static during sleep. We probably shift positions during the night in order to prevent pressure sores, because they can develop after just a few hours of constant contact.  Body position can also influence sleep in individuals with some sleep disorders. For example, obstructive sleep apnea is often worse while sleeping on your back. Because sleep is more fragmented in this position, it is believed that there might be a tendency for those affected people to sleep in other positions.

Dr. Neil Kline is a representative of American Sleep Association. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Sleep Medicine.  For more information on the ASA, visit their website.

Questions for the ASA are edited for clarity.