Side Sleeper: How to Sleep on Your Side the Right Way

Are you a side-sleeper or a back-sleeper? For most us, the sleeping position we prefer in bed is usually not a conscious choice. Most people tend to end up in the position that’s most comfortable.

Often, we start out sleeping on our side and end up sleeping on our back.

Our SleepX investigators explored different sleeping positions – starting with sleeping on your side – and came up with the ‘hottest topics’ around how we sleep.

 

Are there health advantages to side-sleeping?

According to the UK Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, sleeping on your side is the most common sleeping position. They also found that around twice as many women as men prefer this position.

Side-sleeping is healthier if you snore a lot or if you suffer from insomnia or sleep apnoea – which is a serious condition that’s associated with an increased risk of death and heart disease.

Does sleeping on your side help prevent back-ache?

Experts consider side-sleeping to be the best position to avoid back aches and pains. This is because it helps your spine stay in alignment. Using a pillow between your legs also helps.

Is it better to sleep on your left side or on your right?

Sleeping on your right side can aggravate heartburn; sleeping on your left side can calm this condition.

Sleeping on your right side can also put strain on your internal organs such as the liver, lungs and stomach.

Is sleeping on your side the best position if you’re pregnant?

The answer is ‘yes’. Due to the weight of a growing baby, side-sleeping is usually the most comfortable position. Sleeping on the left side helps improve circulation to your baby and puts less pressure on organs like the liver. 

More recent UK research, has led The Australian College of Midwives to urge pregnant women to sleep on their side because it halves the risk of stillbirth.

Is there a mattress that suits side-sleepers?

Whatever your favourite sleeping position, having a comfortable, supportive mattress is essential for a good night’s sleep. A firm or medium firm mattress will suit most people.

Because side-sleepers lie on their shoulder, having a softer mattress topper may help relieve any pressure.

Is there a pillow that suits side-sleepers?

If you’re a side-sleeper, our advice it to choose an ergonomic pillow that contours to the shape of your head and neck.

Your contoured pillow should be higher under your neck than under your head. This helps to keep your neck and spine in alignment and will help you avoid pain or neck stiffness in the morning.

Placing another pillow between your legs can also keep your hips, pelvis and spine in alignment.