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]

The Unkindest Cut: The Chainsaw Was Invented to Assist With Difficult Childbirths

viafilms/iStock via Getty Images
viafilms/iStock via Getty Images

There’s always a price to be paid for innovation. Usually that amounts to some sleepless nights and lots of trial and error. But sometimes it means attempting to deliver babies with a chainsaw.

This dark chapter in agricultural history comes from Popular Science, which recently detailed how the motorized cutting tool populating Home Depot shelves came to be. In the 18th century, two Scottish surgeons named John Aitken and James Jeffray devised a solution they could employ when faced with difficult childbirths. Rather than use a knife to widen the pelvic area by slicing through cartilage and bone to extricate a stuck baby, the two developed a chainsaw to make cutting easier.

While this sounds ghastly, the doctors were actually trying to lessen the agony endured by women who needed their pelvic bone separated. The knife took a long time, while their device—a modified knife with serrated “teeth” on a chain—could cut through bone and tissue more quickly.

If circumstances warranted it, the doctor would grab the saw, which had a handle on both ends, and wrap the chain around the pelvic bone, pulling each handle so the chain would cut into the bone. Later, the device was outfitted with a hand crank. Thanks to this innovation, difficult births could be described as merely agonizing as opposed to extended torture.

The procedure was dubbed a symphysiotomy and remained in use in the medical field as surgeons noticed how efficiently it could work in other circumstances, like amputations. It lasted through much of the 19th century as part of a surgical toolbox until C-sections grew in popularity. In the 20th century, the principle was commandeered for less disturbing purposes like logging, with two-person saws weighing more than 100 pounds each. By the 1950s, those gave way to lighter models.

For all its discomfiting history, at least the chainsaw proved to be useful—which isn't something that can be said for all inventions purporting to aid in childbirth. In 1965, George and Charlotte Blonsky patented a device that acted as a human turntable, spinning so quickly it might induce the patient (or victim) into delivering their baby via centrifugal force.

[h/t Popular Science]

Kane Tanaka, World’s Oldest Living Person, Just Celebrated Her 117th Birthday

Ruletka, iStock via Getty Images
Ruletka, iStock via Getty Images

Less than a year after being named oldest living person in the world, Kane Tanaka has reached a new milestone. As Reuters reports, Tanaka celebrated her 117th birthday on January 2, 2020, extending the Guinness World Record-winning streak she set in March 2019.

Kane—the seventh of eight siblings—was born on January 2, 1903 in Fukuoka, Japan. She married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and the couple had five children. Today, she is a grandmother to five and a great-grandmother to eight.

Tanaka celebrated her birthday at the Fukuoka nursing home where she resides, surrounded by friends and family. After taking a bite of her birthday cake, she reportedly said, “Tasty, I want some more." On a typical day, Tanaka spends her time studying math, practicing calligraphy, and beating the nursing home staff at board games.

The 117 club is an exclusive group only a handful of women has entered in recent history. In the last few years, Emma Morano of Italy, Violet Mosse Brown of Jamaica, and Nabi Tajima and Chiyo Miyako of Japan all reached age 117 and were each the oldest person alive for a brief period. If Tanaka celebrates another birthday next year, she will be the first person since the 1990s to live to 118.

[h/t Reuters]

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