If you’re a side sleeper, then you are in good company. Most sleep studies estimate that side sleepers account for over 74% of all sleepers. If this is your natural sleep position, you can count on a few benefits when catching some ZZZs — depending on which side you sleep on, side sleeping can reduce pressure on your stomach and digestive tract, and help improve circulation and the drainage of toxins from the body.
While there are plenty of sleep tips that apply for just about anyone who needs some quality shuteye, there are a few extra tips to help you snooze soundly as a side sleeper. Next time you’re tucking in for the night, consider these helpful tricks to getting more restful and restorative sleep on your side!
Sleep on your left side.
When you sleep on your side, it’s important to be mindful of your anatomy. That’s because the side on which you sleep could impact the amount of pressure on your internal organs. When you sleep on your left side instead of your right, you are reducing pressure on your stomach and digestive tract as well as promoting healthier blood flow throughout the body. Sleeping on your left side also alleviates acid reflux and heartburn, and helps to boost digestion throughout the night.
Buy a firmer pillow that provides lots of support for your neck and head.
Sleeping on your side can be great for a lot of reasons, but snoozing in this position can sometimes put extra pressure on your neck and head if you aren’t using the right pillow. If you sleep on your side, make sure you have a firmer pillow that lifts your head to align with your neck and back more naturally. Avoid down and down alternative pillows, since these are usually much softer than other materials and won’t provide the loft you need. Try pillows made with materials like latex foam instead, since latex foam provides natural contouring with plenty of spinal support if you opt for a firmer option.
Opt for a softer mattress (but not too soft).
The firmness of your bed should be determined based on your weight, height and your unique sleep needs — but your sleep position has a big impact, too. For side sleepers, we recommend choosing a mattress that is either soft or medium, depending on your body type. This provides enough targeted pressure point relief to alleviate pain at the shoulders and hips. Make sure your bed isn’t too soft, however, since a mattress that is too soft can cause your spine to fall out of alignment during sleep. The perfect firmness level will depend on your weight and height as well as your sleep position, so don’t be afraid to ask a sleep specialist if you aren’t sure.
Sleep with an extra pillow between your legs and knees.
One of the most common ailments for side sleepers is pressure point pain, mainly because sleeping on your side doesn’t provide enough support for your needs and legs. To counteract the impact of side sleeping, use a softer pillow in between your knees to keep your spine aligned and to reduce pressure on your hips and legs. This helps reduce the chances of lower back pain and joint soreness when you wake up in the morning.
Choose a bed with contouring materials.
If you’re a side sleeper, it’s extra important that your mattress provides enough contouring comfort to reduce pressure on your hips and shoulders. Some materials are better than others for this — we recommend opting for a mattress that uses a combination of memory foam and latex alternative foam. Both of these materials deliver targeted pressure point relief (supporting the curves of your spine without pushing too much on your pressure points). If you tend to sleep hot, make sure to look for a cooling foam mattress since memory foam in particular can cause nighttime overheating.