Little can compare to curling up in bed after a long day. And while there are a number of sleep positions to choose from, side sleeping seems to be one of the most popular. In fact, 47% of American sleepers prefer curling in the fetal position over sleeping on their back or stomach.
So, how does the other half fare? Sleep experts report that stomach sleepers are more prone to restless tossing and turning during the night. As you can imagine, this can lead to a cranky morning. And, because of the very nature of the position, the neck can wind up at odd angles, creating neck and lower back pain. Back sleepers may also experience greater lower back pain and increased apnea episodes and snoring.
The following are some of the reasons why most people sleep on their sides.
One of the primary reasons why people sleep on their sides is because it is the most comfortable position for them. This is especially true for individuals who suffer from sleep apnea or snoring, as sleeping on their sides can reduce these symptoms. In addition, sleeping on one's side can also alleviate pressure on the back and joints, making it a more comfortable position for those with chronic pain.
Another reason why many people sleep on their sides is because it is often recommended for pregnant women. Sleeping on one's back can lead to a decrease in blood flow to the fetus, which can cause complications during pregnancy. As a result, doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on their left side, as it helps improve blood flow to the placenta.
Sleeping on one's side can also aid in digestion. The stomach is located on the left side of the body, and sleeping on the left side can help keep stomach acid and other digestive juices in the stomach, reducing the likelihood of acid reflux. This can be particularly helpful for those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Sleeping on one's side can also help maintain proper spinal alignment. When we sleep on our stomach or back, the spine can become misaligned, leading to pain and discomfort. However, sleeping on one's side can help keep the spine in a neutral position, reducing the risk of pain or injury. As mentioned earlier, sleeping on one's side can reduce snoring. This is because when we sleep on our back, gravity can cause the tongue and other soft tissues in the throat to collapse, leading to snoring. However, sleeping on one's side can help keep these tissues in place, reducing the likelihood of snoring.
Improving Brain Health
Recent studies suggest that sleeping on one's side can also have cognitive benefits. Researchers found that individuals who slept on their sides were more likely to clear harmful waste products from their brain, which can improve cognitive function, and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Enhancing Sleep Quality
Finally, sleeping on one's side can improve the quality of one's sleep. When we sleep on our backs or stomachs, we tend to move around more during the night, which can disrupt our sleep. However, sleeping on one's side can help us stay in one position for longer periods, leading to a more restful sleep.
While the side position can offer greater rest and comfort, some experience discomfort upon waking. From body alignment to tender pressure points, side sleepers may want to adapt their bed to their sleeping habits. While you can purchase a new quality mattress, another way to help improve your comfort and sleep is to add a top layer to your old mattress.
You can do this with a mattress topper. Unlike a mattress pad or mattress protector, a mattress topper is designed to add support and relieve pressure point pain caused by a too firm or too soft mattress. Are you interested in finding the right mattress topper for you? This article will explain the importance of having a mattress topper and how to choose one.
How Sleeping on Your Side Affects Your Sleep
Many people find that getting their zzz’s on their side promotes more restful sleep. Sleeping on your side can help with troublesome insomnia or back and hip pain and is even recommended during pregnancy. Side sleeping during pregnancy, particularly on the left side, promotes proper blood circulation to the baby and may reduce swelling and varicose veins.
Although recommended by sleep and health experts, the side sleeping position can come with pitfalls, such as neck, back, shoulder, or other body pain. There are options for dealing with discomfort while keeping your favorite sleep position. One option to consider is a mattress topper.
When Does it Make Sense to Use a Mattress Topper?
You’ve likely run across mattress toppers before and may wonder what benefits they offer. It can make sense to use a mattress topper when your current mattress doesn’t provide enough comfort for a good night’s sleep. Whether the mattress is too firm or too soft, a mattress topper can deliver added support and a new level of cozy to your slumber.
It can also add years to your mattress. Since it lays over the top of the mattress, a topper offers a layer of protection that can keep your mattress looking great for a much longer time.
That being said, a topper can’t turn back time. If you’re considering a topper to help out an older, uncomfortable mattress, you won’t feel much of an improvement. Unfortunately, for a sunken-in or otherwise worn-out mattress, it might be time to bite the bullet and purchase a new mattress. On the bright side, a mattress topper in conjunction with a new mattress can bring a heightened level of comfort and prolong the life of the new mattress.
Why the Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers can be Especially Important
A side sleep position is preferred by many people and can offer several benefits, such as reduced snoring and heartburn relief. But even with these advantages, side sleepers can experience pressure or other types of aches and pains.
This can happen due to a lack of support on the different pressure points located throughout the body. For instance, a soft mattress can give way or sink in due to pressure from the shoulders and hips. This shift takes your body out of alignment, and you can end up waking in the night with back pain or feeling stiff and achy when waking for the day.
A firm mattress works in the opposite way. One that’s too firm often doesn’t offer the level of cushion necessary for the different pressure points. When sleeping on your side on a firm mattress, the shoulder, hip, waist, and spine can easily fall out of alignment.
A quality mattress topper may help alleviate some of these issues. You can top your mattress with one that’s just right — not too soft and not too firm. Similar to the Goldilocks Effect, you may find that a medium-firm topper hits all the spots in all the right places, and you can ease that achy feeling and wake up feeling rested and refreshed. After all, quality sleep affects the quality of waking hours, as well.
Now that you know some reasons mattress toppers can benefit side sleepers, you probably want to know what to look for when shopping around.
Things to Look for in the Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers
When sleeping, support and pressure relief can provide better body alignment and a better night’s rest. Here, we’ll cover the importance of these and how a mattress topper may improve your comfort level.
In contrast to an ill-suited mattress, a mattress topper can provide improved support for side sleepers. When a mattress is too soft or too firm, the heavier areas, such as the shoulders and hips, lack support and often lead to an achy body.
A mattress topper can help bring your body back into alignment. And with a number of levels of thickness to choose from, you can go from “Oh, that feels nice” to “Where have you been all my life?” support.
Support is your key to comfort. If the body is aligned and cradled with care, the body is happy. When the hip and shoulder sink in or lay flat as if on a board, the natural alignment of the spine can change. Combine this with the added pressure and you’ll likely have a night of tossing and turning.
The extra cushioning of a mattress topper can help disperse the weight of your body more evenly and offer a contouring, pressure-relieving effect specific to the size and shape of your body. This can help reduce the pressure on problematic areas. With all of your pressure points resting in sync, you can get more shut-eye.
Other Considerations When Purchasing the Best Mattress Topper
Aside from support and pressure relief, there are other considerations that can enhance your sleep time. Temperature regulation, the quality of material, and the size of the mattress topper can create some new and improved bedding. Below we discuss some of the factors that make for the best mattress toppers for side sleepers.
By design, mattresses offer little in regard to air flow, and this can prove to be a problem for hot sleepers. Due to a mattress’s heat retention, it’s easy for overheating to happen over the course of the night. If you find that the temperature of your sleep environment is an issue, you might want to look into the best cooling mattress topper to keep you cool and comfortable.
With differing densities, you can choose a breathable topper that can pull body heat away and provide a cooler place for you to rest. A ventilated design also works wonders at drawing heat away from the body. There are a number of materials that can help with temperature regulation, such as cooling gel memory foam or cotton wool. Some toppers feature gel beads in combination with fiberfill, while others integrate a cooling gel swirl.
If heat is getting in the way of your sleep, you may want to consider a cooling gel memory foam mattress topper. PlushBeds’ cooling gel memory foam topper offers soothing medium-firm support and enhanced airflow that effectively draws heat away from the body. This cooling mattress topper is also hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, and mildew-resistant. You can even opt for an organic cotton cover for added protection.
As a natural fiber, wool provides breathable comfort and plush softness that wicks away moisture and can keep you cool and dry. Wool can also keep you warm during the cooler months. Wool is a great option for side sleepers and naturally inhibits the growth of mold and repels dust mites and other pesky allergens. PlushBeds’ handmade natural wool mattress topper is a great choice.
As with most anything you purchase, higher-quality materials are often longer lasting and can be more comfortable. Mattress toppers are no different, and there are a number of materials, such as latex and down alternatives, that can provide comfort for the long term.
When thinking about comfort, a latex mattress topper may not be the first thing that comes to mind. And while you may think that all latex is synthetic, you can find high-quality natural latex, such as PlushBeds’ latex mattress topper. It’s hypoallergenic, mildew and dust mite resistant, odor-free, and antimicrobial.
A pure natural latex mattress topper offers durability, flexibility, and cushioning support for pressure points. A soft to medium firmness can offer an added layer of support for the shoulders, hips, and knees. A latex topper can also diminish the motion transfer of a sleep partner’s movement, keeping you sleeping soundly longer. And since it’s naturally sourced, you don’t need to worry about chemical smells and off-gassing.
It’s hard to beat the softness of down, but you can come close with a Alternative Down Mattress Topper from PlushBeds. Ultra-soft, this fluffy and cozy topper can add cushion to a firm mattress and ease pressure points for side sleepers.
Like other quality materials, down alternative can offer breathability and wick away moisture. Quilted options even disperse the fiberfill and can create the feel of a pillow-top mattress. But don’t let the name “alternative” fool you. This vegan alternative can match the luxury and plushness of down toppers.
To get the most out of your mattress topper, you want to ensure that you choose the correct topper size when purchasing. You can do this by choosing your existing mattress size or referring to a sizing chart. Also, keep in mind the level of thickness you want. This can help you narrow down the best mattress toppers for side sleepers.
Mattress toppers from PlushBeds run the gamut of sizes and can accommodate a twin all the way to a California king. Standard topper sizes for twin mattresses are 38 inches by 75 inches, while twin XL measures 80 inches by 38 inches. Other mattress measurements include:
- Full: 75 inches by 54 inches
- Full XL: 80 inches by 54 inches
- Queen: 80 inches by 60 inches
- King: 80 inches by 76 inches
When thinking about thickness, generally speaking, the thicker in diameter, the more support your body can receive. Those with a lower body weight may want to go with a 2-inch thickness, while heavier individuals may feel more comfortable with a 3-inch, high-density topper.
Additional Hints and Tips for Side Sleepers
1. Position your pillow properly: To ensure that your neck and spine are properly aligned while sleeping on your side, it's important to use the right pillow. Your pillow should be thick enough to keep your head in a neutral position but not so thick that it tilts your neck up or down. A good rule of thumb is to look for a pillow that's the distance from your ear to the end of your shoulder.
2. Use a body pillow: A body pillow is a long, cylindrical pillow that can be hugged or placed between your legs while sleeping on your side. This can help reduce pressure on your hips and lower back, and improve spinal alignment. Additionally, if you're pregnant, a body pillow can help support your growing belly, and alleviate discomfort.
3. Experiment with different sleeping positions: While sleeping on your side is generally considered the healthiest position, there are variations that can be more or less comfortable depending on your body type and sleep preferences. For example, some side sleepers find that sleeping with their legs slightly bent or with a small pillow between their knees can help alleviate lower back pain.
4. Invest in a good mattress: Your mattress is a crucial factor in ensuring a good night's sleep, especially for side sleepers who need proper support for their hips and shoulders. Look for a mattress that's firm enough to support your spine, but also soft enough to contour to your body's curves. Memory foam and latex mattresses are often good options for side sleepers.
5. Stretch before bed: Stretching before bed can help alleviate tension in your muscles and joints, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Some stretches that may be particularly beneficial for side sleepers include the side-lying quad stretch (which stretches the hip flexors), the kneeling hip flexor stretch (which stretches the hip flexors and quads), and the seated spinal twist (which stretches the spine and hips).
6. Consider your sleep environment: The temperature, lighting, and noise level in your sleep environment can all impact the quality of your sleep. Most people sleep best in a cool, dark, and quiet room. Consider investing in blackout curtains, or a white noise machine, if you find that external factors are disrupting your sleep.
By incorporating these tips and advice into your sleeping routine, you can improve your comfort and reduce pain as a side sleeper. Remember, everyone's body is different, so it may take some experimentation to find what works best for you. However, with patience and persistence, you can find the sleeping position and pillow that allows you to get a good night's rest.
Discover Premium Mattress Toppers From PlushBeds
The best mattress toppers can offer an ideal solution for side sleepers and give you the feeling of a new bed and renewed comfort. A perfect addition to your old mattress, a topper can provide you with extra support that can help with spinal alignment, temperature regulation, and pressure relief.
Covered by a two-year warranty, PlushBeds toppers are made in the USA, offer low chemical emission, and are GreenGuard Gold Certified. This top-tier certification offers a safe option for sensitive individuals.
Protect your investment longer with our Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) Certified organic cotton cover. This sustainably sourced removable cover is machine washable and can protect the mattress topper for longer-lasting use.
Check out the PlushBeds line of sustainably sourced toppers and get a better night’s sleep.
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