ON YOUR LEFT
People who suffer from regular bouts of heartburn report significant relief from their symptoms when they sleep on their left side.
In a study carried out by scientists at the Yuzuncu Yil University in Turkey, published in the international Journal of Sleep and Hypnosis, 40.9 per cent of people who chose to sleep on their left sides reported regular nightmares, compared to just 14.6 per cent of those who preferred to sleep on their right sides.
ON YOUR BACK
If you have back pain, sleeping on your back, with a supportive pillow under your head and knees that's just thick enough to keep your spine aligned, can help alleviate it - or at least, give you a relatively comfortable night's sleep.
And you get better beauty sleep on your back, as cosmetic surgeon Dr Goesel Anson explains.
Several credible studies have found that sleeping on your back - the supine position - can double the incidence of snoring and sleep apnoea, compared with sleeping on your side.
Sleeping on your back is also thought to exacerbate teeth grinding.
Osteopath Amy Hope recommends curling into the foetal position for a good night's sleep.
If you suffer from neck pain, this position can put pressure on joints at the base of the skull and worsen it.
ON YOUR RIGHT
If you have high blood pressure, you may want to start sleeping on your right side.
It gives the heart, in the left of your chest, a little extra room in the chest cavity, which can help lower blood pressure and slow heart rate, both of which can benefit people with heart problems.
If you are pregnant, experts say sleeping on your right side in late pregnancy carries a higher risk of stillbirth.
ON YOUR FRONT
Sleep expert Chris Idzikowski says sleeping on your front in the ‘free fall’ position, with arms raised to the side, puts internal organs in the ideal position to encourage comfortable digestion after a heavy meal.
'Sleeping on your front - lateral sleeping - is the worst possible position you can sleep in from a musculoskeletal point of view,’ says Rishi Loatey of the British Chiropractic Association.
'In order to breathe comfortably, you have to lie with your head and neck almost fully rotated to one side for many hours. It can overstretch and tighten opposing neck muscles and pinch nerves, leading to headaches, a stiff neck, tight shoulders and in some cases, pain radiating down the arms. '