Even though side sleeping is extremely popular and beneficial, many people still don’t know how to do it properly to actually obtain the most benefits. After all, most people don’t really analyze or research their exact position before they fall asleep— it just happens!
But it really is something that you need to consider when you think about how long you are spending in this position. Thankfully, we are here to tell you everything you need to know about side sleeping, how to do it properly, and how to get a good night’s sleep no matter what your position is.
Should You Sleep on Your Side?
Side sleepers are by far the most common in terms of different sleeping positions. But is it actually the best way to sleep? Sleeping on your side can be an ideal position due to benefits like reducing chronic pain and reducing snoring. However, this is only true if you do it properly!
Like the other sleeping positions, there are variations within the “side sleeper” that include the fetal position, the log position, the yearner position, and the spooning position for couples. Of course, there’s also the question of which side to sleep on. Overall, sleeping on your side is perfectly fine and even beneficial when done properly.
Pros and Cons of Other Sleeping Positions
But what about the other sleeping positions? Even though the side sleeping position is the most common, people may also sleep on their stomachs and backs. Sleeping on your stomach is generally not ideal as it does not put your neck and spine in a neutral position. Over time, this can cause nerve pain, numbness, and tingling in the back and neck.
Sleeping on your back is definitely a more ideal sleeping position as everything is in a neutral position— except for lower back pain specifically. It can also aggravate snoring or sleep apnea. As we can see, both back and side sleeping positions are perfectly acceptable, although they each have different positives and negatives— so pick the one that’s most comfortable for you!
Which Side Should You Sleep on?
When it comes to which side you should sleep on, you probably already have a natural preference. However, sleeping on your left side is way more beneficial to your health based on the position of your organs. Here are a few benefits of sleeping on your left side compared to your right side:
- Promote good digestion by helping your digestive system move waste through your intestines and colon. Sleeping on your left side can also help reduce the occurrence of painful and annoying heartburn that occurs when chemicals from the stomach come up into the esophagus.
By keeping your stomach lower than your esophagus, you can prevent these juices from coming up into the esophagus and causing heartburn.
- Promote better brain function by helping your body clear out interstitial waste that can even reduce your risk of developing neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Improve circulation by sleeping on your left side based on the position of organs in the body.
How to Properly Sleep on Your Side?
Odds are that you don’t necessarily think about what’s a “proper” sleeping position— you just find something comfortable and drift off from there. However, you really should be thinking about this. Sleeping in unideal positions on a regular basis can wreak havoc on your muscles and joints all over your body— no matter what your sleeping position is.
When it comes to sleeping on your side, however, there are some things you can do to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success even after you wake up:
- Start with a mattress that’s ideal for side sleepers! Many people are tempted to get a pillowy soft mattress, but this is not the best fit for side sleepers as it doesn’t give you the support you need. Instead, look for a medium-firm mattress that obviously isn’t rock hard, but can support your entire spine without sinking deep down into the mattress.
- Next, use a pillow that’s ideal for side sleepers. We recommend going with a medium-firm memory foam pillow. Side sleepers will need a thicker pillow than stomach sleepers in order to keep their neck in line with their spine. Down fill pillows may also be a solid option provided they are thick enough to keep your head propped up and in line with the rest of your body.
- Since we have already gone over the benefits of sleeping on each side, start on your left side since it’s a better position. Make sure that your head is upright and not tucked too close to your body.
- Don’t put your arms and hands anywhere funky like under the pillow, under your body, or out to the sides. Instead, keep them below your neck and parallel to the rest of your body.
- Place a pillow between your knees for extra support. There are even specific knee pillows made for side sleepers that would be a perfect addition for anyone looking to wake up pain-free.
- Finally, bring your knees up toward your chest a little bit in order to reduce pressure on your back.
Best Knee Pillows for Side Sleepers
One of the best things you can do to ensure that you’re properly sleeping on your side is to use a knee pillow that is specifically designed for side sleepers. By far, the best pillow for side sleepers is our memory foam knee pillow.
This pillow is designed with 100% memory foam that doesn’t have anything else added in that may decrease the effectiveness or quality of the product. It’s made by some of the best memory foam manufacturers in the world that really know their stuff and make incredible products. Our Everlasting Comfort pillow features a curved ergonomic design that can slide between your knees and keep them separated throughout the night to provide the ideal spacing and support for your legs, hips, and back.
By keeping everything in a straight line, you can help address chronic knee, hip, leg, back, thigh, pelvis, and lumbar pain as a result of your faulty sleeping position. And you don’t have to worry about it becoming dislodged in the middle of the night thanks to a removable and adjustable strap. On the other hand, if you don’t like the strap, you can easily take it off and forget about it. In any case, this is the best knee pillow for side sleepers who need some extra support and alignment.
Other Ways to Ensure a Good Night’s Sleep
Pillows are important for side sleepers to get enough rest, but they are really just one part of the equation. If you are having trouble sleeping, there are some more things you can try out before you reach for sleeping medications that can become habit-forming. Here are some other things you can do to help yourself catch some z’s:
- Watch what you eat and drink before bed. Avoid eating big meals right before bedtime. Also avoid consuming food or drinks with caffeine at least seven hours before you plan on going to bed. Yes, this does mean skipping the caffeinated evening tea or late night chocolatey snack!
- Create a pro-sleep environment in your bedroom by incorporating things like blackout curtains to increase darkness, white noise machines to block out distracting noises, high-quality bed linens that are super comfortable, and an essential oil diffuser to naturally send signals to your brain that it’s time to relax. Also make sure that the temperature in your bedroom is low enough to promote sleep— usually between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Avoid too much blue light exposure in the evening by either using blue light glasses to block out this type of light or switching your phone over to “night mode.” Blue light signals to your brain that it’s daytime and time to be awake, whereas yellow light signals to your brain that it’s nighttime and time to go to bed. So make sure to switch off the television or your smartphone two hours before heading to bed so that your body has time to recognize that it’s time for bed.
- If nothing else seems to work and you really want to take something to get better sleep, try out melatonin before automatically trying out actual sleep medications. Melatonin is our body’s natural sleep hormone that tells the brain when it’s time to start shutting down.
Since it’s a natural supplement, it has no withdrawal effects or negative side effects when compared with prescription sleep aids that can be habit-forming and cause next-day side effects like drowsiness.
As you can see, there are plenty of things that side sleepers to do optimize their sleeping position and get a better night’s sleep. One of the best things is to use a knee pillow designed for side sleepers from a reputable company like Everlasting Comfort. After trying out these guidelines, you’ll never have to toss and turn throughout the night ever again!