Did you know that nearly two-thirds of adults in the U.S. prefer to sleep on their sides? In this article we’ll look at the pros and cons of being a side sleeper. We’ll also offer some solutions to help side sleepers get the best night’s sleep, night after night.
Side Sleeper Pros
Most sleep experts agree that sleeping on your side is the healthiest sleeping position, with benefits such as:
- Proper Spinal Alignment: Sleeping with your back and pelvis aligned will reduce pressure and pain.
- Improved Breathing: Side sleepers receive more air circulation, making this position best for those with sleep apnea and/or acid reflux.
- Better For Heart: Sleeping on one’s left side avoids heart pressure, which can alleviate heartburn and improve blood circulation.
Side Sleeper Cons
Side sleepers face unique challenges when it comes to getting a great night’s sleep. In fact, there are two common complaints among side sleepers:
- Support: Lack of support for their backs.
- Pressure and Pain: Pressure point pain on hip and shoulder, while lying on one’s side.
These challenges for side sleepers can impact the quality and quantity of sleep they get each night.
Solutions For Side Sleepers
There are three buying decisions that will substantially improve the quantity and quality of sleep, side sleepers get each night:
- Choose the right mattress for your needs.
- Select the right pillow to promote proper neck alignment while you sleep.
- Consider investing in a small pillow to place between your knees while sleeping.
1) Mattress Selection – Is a Latex Mattress Good For Side Sleepers?
Latex Mattresses are perfect for side sleepers. They provide cushioned support and contouring, which is needed to keep the spine aligned, while lying on one’s side.
Latex Mattresses also come in a variety of firmness levels, making them suitable for a wide variety of side sleepers. Most side sleepers find that a medium mattress firmness is the most comfortable. Medium support provides proper spinal alignment and it conforms to the sleeper’s body, alleviating pressure on the hip and shoulder, while lying on their side. It gives sleepers some softness, (but not too soft) in order for their hips and shoulders to sink into the mattress a little (not too much), to keep the spine aligned.
Keep in mind that each sleeper should consider their body weight and sleeping position, when choosing their mattress firmness. For example, those who are lighter (under 120 lbs.), may prefer a firmness of medium soft or soft and those who are heavier (over 220 lbs.), may prefer a firmness of medium-firm.
One thing that sets PlushBeds natural latex mattresses apart from other mattresses is that you can adjust the comfort layers of your mattress, so that the needs of one part for a firmer mattress does not supersede the needs of the other partner for a softer sleep surface. You can even customize each side of the mattress, to ensure both partners are getting the best night’s sleep.
2) Choosing the Right Pillow
Sleeping on a pillow that doesn’t provide the right amount of support or doesn’t hold its shape throughout the night, can cause neck pain and headaches for side sleepers. This is commonly caused by pillows that do not promote adequate alignment throughout the night.
Also, you may want to make sure your pillow doesn’t offer too high of a loft, sending your neck out of alignment. The goal, according to Spine-health.com, is to find a pillow with sufficient support to keep the head, neck, and spine in a natural horizontal line while sleeping.
The website goes on to suggest that latex pillows are the most helpful of pillow types for promoting adequate alignment for your spine as a side sleeper.
3) Consider Using a Pillow Between the Knees
When you sleep on your side, your knees come together, pulling on the hips and drawing your spine out of alignment. Sleeping with a firm pillow between your knees prevents the downward pull, and allows your spine to remain in proper alignment while you sleep. Firmer pillows work better than soft pillows when used for this purpose.
Side sleepers may face unique challenges when it comes to sleep. However, sleeping on the right mattress and pillow can mitigate those concerns, allowing you to get a good night’s sleep, night after night.
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