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Like most people, Andrew Wellman changes his sleep position many times during the night. And like most people, he seldom realizes it. “The only time I know if I roll on my back is my wife elbows me because I start snoring,” says Wellman, director of the Sleep Disordered Breathing Lab in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

想大多人一样,Andrew Wellman夜间睡觉时会多次改变自己的睡姿,同样地,他也很少会意识到这点。波士顿Brigham的女性医院睡眠与呼吸紊乱科的主任Wellman说:“我唯一知道自己是否翻身的时候,是妻子因我打呼而用胳膊肘捅我。”

“A lot of my patients tell me they sleep on their side,” Wellman says. But when position sensors monitor them in the sleep lab, many self-professed side sleepers are on their backs up to 30% of the night, “and they didn’t know it.”

Wellman说:“我的很多患者告诉我,他们要侧躺着睡觉。” 但是,当在实验室对他们的睡姿用传感器进行监视时,会发现许多自称是侧卧睡觉的人晚上最多能有30%的时间在仰卧着睡觉。“当然,他们并不知情。

Sleep occurs in a repeated series of cycles, from light to deep to the phase called rapid eye movement (REM), when most dreams occur. We wake after each cycle, even if we don’t realize it.

睡眠里会发生一系列的重复周期,从浅到深,再到大多数梦发生的阶段,即快速眼动阶段(REM)。即使不能意识它,我们也会在每个周期后醒来。

“Everyone awakens throughout the night five to seven times, after each sleep cycle finishes, and then quickly returns to sleep, often with a brief movement, sometimes turning positions,” explains Shelby Harris, a psychologist and associate professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and the author of The Women’s Guide to Overcoming Insomnia.

“每个睡眠周期结束后,每个人整夜都会醒来五到七次,经常会小幅‘动作’一下,但转头就会迅速重回睡眠。” 纽约Albert Einstein医药大学的心理学家兼副教授Shelby Harris这么解释说。他也是 《女性克服失眠指南》一书的作者。

That is, of course, if all goes well.

当然,这是一切顺利的情况。

Pick your preference

按你的喜好来

Sleep experts agree there is no sleep posture that’s ideal for everyone. Sleep advice sites make a lot of unsupported claims: that sleeping on your right side protects your heart but causes facial wrinkles, that sleeping on your back helps clear the brain of waste products. But there is very little research to suggest that any position is better than another.

睡眠专家认为没有适合所有人的理想睡眠姿势。睡眠建议网站提出了许多不受支持的主张:比如向右侧躺睡觉可以保护心脏,但会导致面部长皱纹;仰卧睡觉可以帮助大脑扫清废物。但很少有研究表明一种姿势比另一种姿势要好。

For healthy individuals, “it’s just a matter of preference,” says Alcibiades Rodriguez, medical director of the Sleep Center at NYU Langone Health and assistant professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine. But for a person with pain or certain medical conditions, the right position can become important, Rodriguez says, especially as we age.

纽约大学Langone Health睡眠中心的医学主任兼医学院神经病学助理教授Alcibiades Rodriguez说:“对个体的健康而言,睡眠姿势只是一个偏好问题。” Rodriguez说:“但对一个痛苦或患有某种疾病的人来说,正确的睡眠姿势会很重要。尤其是随着年龄的增长,睡眠姿势会越来越重要。 ”

People with back pain may get relief by sleeping on their backs, according to the Cleveland Clinic, with a small pillow or rolled-up towel under the knees to alleviate pressure. If that’s not comfortable, then side sleeping — and switching sides during the night — might work. Placing a pillow between the knees can relieve back and hip pain for some people. Most experts advise against stomach sleeping, since it forces the neck to turn to the side and pushes it out of alignment, which can cause back pain. If you must sleep on your stomach, try skipping the pillow, or place another pillow under your pelvis to reduce back and neck strain, the Mayo Clinic advises.

背上疼的人通过仰卧可以让疼痛缓解。据Cleveland诊所所说,在膝盖下面垫上一个小枕头或卷起的毛巾也可以缓解疼痛,如果这会不舒服,那就侧着睡觉——夜里再换边,这么做可能也会有作用。对一些人来说,在膝盖之间塞个枕头可以缓解背上和臀部的痛感。大多专家建议不要趴着睡,因为这种睡姿会让脖子侧歪,连带着会让背部疼痛。Mayo诊所建议,如果你必须要趴着睡,可以试着不要枕头,而把枕头放在骨盆下面,这样做可以减轻背上和脖子上的压力。

Side sleeping is best for those with specific health problems

那些有特定健康问题的人最适合侧卧睡觉

Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition, often triggered by excess weight and lifestyle factors, in which people stop breathing several times a night, typically because their throat muscles relax and block the airway. The brain will wake someone suffering sleep apnea episodes, but they may not remember any of the long breathing lapses, heavy snoring, gasps, and snorts. It can cause daytime fatigue and lead to high blood pressure and heart problems, among other ills. Acid reflux — the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus — can also be exacerbated by being horizontal.

睡眠时呼吸暂停是一种严重的潜在疾病,这通常是因为体重增加和生活因素导致。人们夜里呼吸会骤停几次,这通常是因为他们的喉部肌肉放松,造成了呼吸道的堵塞。大脑会唤醒睡觉时呼吸骤停的人,但他们会记不起任何长时间的呼吸异常,打呼重,喘气或喷气。这会引起白天疲劳、并导致高血压和心脏病等问题。胃酸反流(胃酸往食道的倒流)毛病也会因平躺着睡而加剧。

“Sleep apnea is worse in the supine position,” Rodriguez says. “And for a person with acid reflux, the supine position is probably not a good idea.”

Rodriguez说:“仰卧着睡,呼吸暂停会更严重。” “而对会胃酸倒流的人来说,仰卧着睡不是个好主意。”

Pregnant women may want to sleep on their left side. Sleeping on the right can compress the liver, Rodriguez says, and sleeping supine can cause the baby to push on the mother’s diaphragm, making it difficult for her to breathe. Infants should be placed on their backs for sleeping, he says, to help avoid sudden infant death syndrome.

孕妇可能会想向左侧睡。Rodriguez说,向右侧卧会压迫肝脏,而仰卧睡觉会让婴儿推挤母亲的子宫膜,让母亲呼吸困难。他说,为免婴儿猝死,婴儿应仰卧睡觉。

Snoring, which is also worse in the supine position, is by itself not thought to disrupt the sleep of the snorer, Wellman says. “We don’t think it’s a health problem,” he says. “It’s a social problem.” He and other sleep experts offer an old-school trick to help reduce snoring: Sew a tennis ball into the back of your pajamas. If you roll onto your back, the discomfort subconsciously causes you to roll back onto your side, Wellman says.

Wellman说,仰卧时打鼾会更糟糕,就本身而言,这不会干扰打鼾者的睡眠。他说:“我们不认为这是个健康问题,这个社会问题。”他和其他的睡眠专家提供了一个古老的方法来减少打呼:在睡衣背面缝入一个网球,如果你向后滚,不舒服会下意识地阻碍你向后滚。

Another trick to ease snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux: Raise the legs at the head of your bed (the cheap approach), or invest in an adjustable bed and raise the back (the very costly approach). Wedge pillows can also help.

另外一个减少打呼、呼吸骤停和胃酸反流的方法是:抬高放在床尾的双脚(便宜的方法),或换个可调整的床并提高床背(昂贵的方法)。使用楔形枕头也会有所帮助。

Where you sleep matters

睡觉的地方影响重大

“Young kids will sleep anywhere,” says Rafael Pelayo, a sleep specialist at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center. “Teenagers will sleep anywhere. So will most college students.” The growing bodies and minds of young people require and encourage deeper sleeping, Pelayo explains. That’s why their arousal threshold — what it takes to wake them — is much higher.

斯坦福大学睡眠医学中心的睡眠专家Rafael Pelayo说:“小孩子在任何地方都可以睡觉。” “青少年或许可以在任何地方睡觉,而大多数的大学生也能如此。” Pelayo解释说,年轻人不断成熟的身心需要他们有越来越深的睡眠。这也是为什么他们的唤醒阈值(叫醒他们需要的时长)更高的原因。

“Most people say they sleep best in their own homes,” Pelayo says. Not so with insomniacs. “With all the frustration, the tossing and turning of insomnia, you create negative associations toward your bedroom. You dread going to bed. Then, when you take a trip, you go to a hotel, you’re suddenly away from that environment, and you sleep better.”

Pelayo说:“大多数人说他们在家里睡得最好。” 而失眠症并非如此。“带着因失眠产生的挫败感和折腾感,你对卧室产生了消极联想。你害怕睡觉。然后,当你旅行时,你去了一家宾馆,突然离开了那种失眠的环境,你发现自己睡得更好了。”

I’m not an insomniac, but I, too, have found that I sometimes sleep better in hotels, on mattresses I don’t expect will work for me.

我不失眠,但我也发现有时我在酒店睡得更好,在我没想到的床垫上。

Pelayo says my experience, and those of insomniacs, suggests that mattresses, positions, and even traditional sleep hygiene tips don’t hold all the answers.

Pelayo说,我的经历以及那些失眠症患者的经历都表明,床垫质量、睡觉姿势甚至传统的睡眠技巧都无法解决所有问题。

A safe, stress-free environment can play a big role, he says. In a sleep lab, there are cameras all around, and people have wires attached to their heads. “And despite the weirdness of the situation, people often say they never slept so well,” Pelayo says. People may simply feel safer and protected in a hotel or a sleep clinic, he says.

他说,一个安全、无压力的环境会有很大作用。在睡眠实验室中,到处都是摄像头,并且有天线连接脑部。Pelayo说: “尽管情况很怪异,但人们经常说他们从来没有睡得那么好。”他说,人们可能仅仅是觉得在酒店或睡眠诊所里会更安全,更受保护。

‘That’s my side’

这是属于我的一侧

There’s another important factor that matters greatly to people: which side of the bed people sleep.

还有个对人们很重要的影响因素:人们睡在床的哪一侧。

“The first night you share a bed with somebody, each one of you picks a side of the bed,” Pelayo points out. “Henceforth, you never discuss that anymore. That becomes your side. This becomes my side.” In Stanford’s sleep lab, he says, people who have had a bed partner for years tend to pick one side of the bed and ignore the other half, even though the bed is large and they’re by themselves. And this territorial nature extends beyond the home.

Pelayo指出:“你与某人共睡一张床的第一夜,你们每个人会各选一侧。从此,你们再也不会就此再做讨论。一侧专属于你,一侧是我的。”他说,在斯坦福大学的睡眠实验室中,与伴侣共睡一张床多年的人往往会自动选择睡在床的哪一侧而忽略另一侧,即使床很大,他们也只有一个人。这种领土性质往往超出了家的范畴。

“If you’re traveling, when you get to the hotel room with your significant other, you go, ‘That’s my side, this is your side,’” Pelayo says. Some people even consider it an invasion of privacy if they’re out of town and a bed partner crosses over to their side. “You’ll say, ‘You used my pillow last night while I was away. Why’d you do that?’”

Pelayo说:“如果你正在旅行,当你与拍档一起进入房间时,你会走到床边说:'我睡这边,你睡那边。’”有些人甚至认为出门在外,床伴越过了身边就是侵犯隐私。“你会说:“昨晚我不在时,你用了我的枕头。你为什么要这么做?”

The point is to find the location, environment, and position that works for you. “If you’re comfortable, you’ll know it,” says Harris, the author and Albert Einstein College of Medicine researcher. “Comfort is king. But if you find you’re very restless at night and need to move a lot to get comfortable — say four-plus times a night — then consider asking your doctor for help.”

关键是要找到适合自己的地点,环境和睡觉姿势。作者兼Albert Einstein医学院的研究员Harris说:“只要能让你觉得舒服,你就找到了。”“舒适为王。但是,如果你发现自己在晚上非常不安,需要大量移动才能感到舒适(比如说一晚上翻身四次以上),就可以考虑向医生求助了。”