The Best Sleeping Position, According to Experts

Damir Khabirov/iStock via Getty Images
Damir Khabirov/iStock via Getty Images

Actually falling asleep isn't the only thing required to get a good night's rest. If you're sleeping in the wrong position, you can wake up feeling groggier, grumpier, and achier than you did when you first crawled into bed. The best sleep position isn't necessarily what feels most comfortable for you at the start of the night: Whether you're pregnant, suffer from sleep apnea, or experience back and neck pain, experts agree that sleeping on your side will have the most positive effects on your body, Mic reports.

More so than sleeping on your back or stomach, side sleeping is the key to a restful, healthful night. That's because lying on your side with a pillow under your head naturally aligns your spine. When your back is straight, it relieves pressure from muscles that would otherwise be straining to support your body throughout the night. Neck and lower back pains and even more severe conditions like sciatica are often the result of raising your head too high or twisting your spine as you sleep.

A straight spine isn't the only benefit of sleeping on your side. If you have sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by disrupted breathing during the night, side sleeping can ease your symptoms by keeping airways open. It's also the best position to sleep in if you're pregnant. Sleeping on your side removes pressure from the belly, and if you sleep on your left side, it can promote oxygen flow to the placenta.

Whether or not you're pregnant, the left side is still the best position for catching your ZZZs. It's better for your organs, encourages lymph system drainage, and reduces symptoms of acid reflux. But if you can't resist facing the right, you could still reap other side-sleeping benefits like the delayed onset of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

To maximize the positive effects of sleeping on your side, you need the right tools. A pillow that raises your head to be level with the rest of your spine (meaning it's not too low or too high) is essential, as is a firm mattress that supports your body. To maintain the side position throughout the night and relieve pressure from your joints, invest in additional pillows for your torso and between your knees (or get one big body pillow that's built for side sleepers to snuggle up with).

Of course, everyone is different, and switching to your side won't necessarily fix all your sleep-related issues. In order to determine which position best fits your needs, check out these tips.

[h/t Mic]

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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Victorian Women Worked Out, Too—They Just Did It Wearing Corsets

Opening a door was nearly as taxing as an actual 19th-century workout.
Opening a door was nearly as taxing as an actual 19th-century workout.
ivan-96/iStock via Getty Images

The next time you’re gasping for breath in the middle of a cardio routine, try to imagine doing the same thing while decked out in a flowy dress and corset. That’s what female exercise enthusiasts faced in the 1800s.

According to Atlas Obscura, tailors weren’t churning out loose leggings or stretchy tracksuits for women to don for their daily fitness sessions, and workout guides for Victorian women were mainly written by men. To their credit, they weren’t recommending that ladies undergo high-intensity interval training or heavy lifting; instead, exercises were devised to account for the fact that women’s movements would be greatly constricted by tight bodices and elaborate hairstyles. As such, workouts focused on getting the blood flowing rather than burning calories or toning muscle.

In his 1827 book A Treatise on Calisthenic Exercises, Signor G.P. Voarino detailed dozens of options for women, including skipping, walking in zigzags, marching in place, and bending your arms and legs at specific angles. Some exercises even called for the use of a cane, though they were more geared towards balancing and stretching than weight-lifting.

To Voarino, the light calisthenic exercises were meant for “counteracting every tendency to deformity, and for obviating such defects of figure as are occasioned by confinement within doors, too close an application to sedentary employment, or by those constrained positions which young ladies habitually assume during their hours of study.”

Nearly 30 years later, Catharine Beecher (Harriet Beecher Stowe's sister) published her own workout guide, Physiology and Calisthenics for Schools and Families, which encouraged educators especially to incorporate exercise programs for all children into their curricula. Beecher was against corsets, but the illustrations in her book did still depict young ladies in long dresses—it would be some time before students were expected to change into gym clothes at school. Many of Beecher’s calisthenic exercises were similar to Voarino’s, though she included some beginner ballet positions, arm circles, and other faster-paced movements.

Compared to the fitness regimen of 14th-century knight Jean Le Maingre, however, Victorian calisthenics seem perfectly reasonable. From scaling walls to throwing stones, here’s how he liked to break a sweat.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]