How to Sleep on Your Side the Right Way

A good night’s sleep is not only all about how dark the room is or how smooth the jazz music an individual plays before heading into dreamland. It’s also about how you lay your body down.

Pat yourself on the back if you’re a side sleeper. It’s a way to help your body digest food better and for your blood to circulate properly.

Side sleeping is a practice that many people do at night. And you’re lucky if you’re one of the many side sleepers in the world as it is both a healthy and comfortable sleeping position. If you sleep on your side, you’re going to help your spine, neck, and head maintain a neutral position. As you probably already know, a neutral sleeping position helps keep the bits and pieces of the back in their regular, ideal places.

Side sleeping helps prevent unnecessary pressure on your muscles, discs, and nerves to avoid discomfort. But how do you sleep on your side the right way? How do you become a side sleeping pro and start sleeping smarter? Read on below for some tips to ponder on.


Find The Right Mattress


Have you tried sleeping on your right side but ended up experiencing arm pain or shoulder pain? If that’s the case, then you may need to find the right mattress firmness to accommodate your sleeping position.

Choose a soft mattress, or you can also go for a medium-soft one; both mattress types are beneficial to side sleepers. A soft bed allows your hips and shoulders to sink into the mattress, helping align your spine. What happens if you choose a mattress that’s too firm is that your shoulder and hip get pressured, and your spine is forced to bend or arch. That will result in constant lower back pain, shoulder pain, and arm pain from sleeping.

Finding the right mattress isn’t tricky. Most companies follow the same firmness scaling, which measures the mattress firmness from 1 being the softest to 10 as the firmest. If you’re a side sleeper, choose a mattress with a hardness of around 5 to 6. You don’t want anything lower or higher than 5 to 6, or you’ll get one that’s too soft or too hard, causing the spine to bow in opposite directions.


Get The Right Pillow


Aside from the right mattress, you also have to get a pillow with the right height for proper spinal support. As a general principle, your spine, neck, and hips should be aligned in a neutral, straight position.

Fortunately, there are now side sleeper pillows available in the market. Side sleeper pillows allow your neck to get on the same level as your spine and hips. You don’t want your head to sag down, or you’ll put a lot of strain on the neck, causing severe neck pain the following morning.

The pillow’s firmness also matters. Avoid pads that are too soft and will only sink under your head like flat pillows. Pick a pillow with the right height and hardness to avoid neck pain by supporting your neck correctly.


Pick A Side And Stick To It


When sleeping on your side, should you pick your left or right? A study found out that sleeping on the left side helps avoid heartburn. However, it’s easy to change positions unconsciously when you sleep. So, even if you started on your side and picked the left, you may still wake up on your back or tummy the following morning.

The best thing to do is to train the body to stay in the side position. What you can do is to try to sleep on a sofa for several nights so that the small space will prevent you from changing positions. Another trick is to utilize a full body pillow to block you from rolling into a different position. Don’t forget to track how you wake up every morning and see if you’re still on your side–if not, try harder to train yourself to stick to the side you’ve picked until you get used to it.


Stick A Pillow Between The Knees


As a side sleeper, one of your goals is to relieve pressure points in the body, and you can do it by putting a pillow between your knees.

Pain in the back and legs is usual in individuals who sleep on their side. And that’s due to a lack of support. The lower half of the body supports the weight of the opposite side, and joints get severely affected when the body takes on a buckled-leg stance throughout the night.

Sticking a pillow between the knees can help by straightening the hips into spinal alignment; it helps in reducing the pressure throughout your body, especially the back. If you want to sleep better at night, something as easy as putting a pillow between your knees helps by offering pressure relief.


Avoid Pins And Needles On Your Arm


One of the downsides of sleeping on your side is if you’re not going to do it correctly, your arm can go numb. It happens since most people use one arm as padding on top of their pillows. If you do this, your blood circulation gets cut off by your body weight and the pressure of your head. It results in your arm falling asleep or getting numb, and an uncomfortable prickling sensation in the middle of the night or when you wake up in the morning. You can avoid pins and needles on your arm from happening by making sure that the pillow you’re going to use provides adequate support for the head without needing to put one of your arms under your head.


Become Persistent


The most important thing to do so that you can sleep on your side the right way is to stick to it. As you know, it can be challenging to break the habit of rolling into your old sleeping position, but always keep in mind that it’s your health that’s at stake here, so do your best to get back to your side every time you catch yourself in a different position.




Side sleeping can bring many benefits, especially to those suffering from neck pain, obstructive sleep apnea, and other sleep problems. Give your spine the loving and gentle care it deserves by following the tips discussed above to help you sleep on your side the right way.



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Written by HealthStatus Crew
Medical Writer & Editor

HealthStatus teams with authors from organizations to share interesting ideas, products and new health information to our readers.

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