Alaska Sleep Education Center

A How-To Guide + Sleep Tips For Side Sleepers

Posted by Kristen Havens on Jul 12, 2022 11:24:08 AM

Young woman sleeping on her side.

A good night’s sleep is essential for our well-being, so being comfortable and pain-free during the night is key to waking up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. No matter how you sleep, there is a mattress to suit your requirements perfectly, whether you need extra support from a firm mattress, or you need enhanced pressure relief to aid your joints. Below, we’ll look at how to sleep on your side, as well as a few tips on how side sleepers can improve comfort and alignment.

Sleeping on your side

There are a few different positions that we can sleep such as, on our backs, on our stomachs, on our sides or a combination of all three. Those of us that are most comfortable on our sides are referred to as side sleepers. Several health benefits come with sleeping on your side – it can improve digestion and help your body to get rid of waste, as well as help alleviate heartburn and snoring. There are even different names for the position that you sleep in on your side, from The Log to The Pillow Hugger and The Thinker!

If this is not your natural sleeping position but you’d like to take advantage of the health benefits it has to offer, here are a few tips that may help you become more comfortable on your side.

The right mattress

Your mattress is key when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, and the model and material that you choose will differ depending on which position you like to sleep in. If you sleep on your side, your shoulders and hips will take most of the pressure, so you need to choose a mattress that provides adequate pressure relief to these points. The firmness of a mattress is generally a personal preference, however, it is recommended that if you sleep on your side, you choose something that is not too firm, but can still provide alignment to your spine, as well as pressure relief. A memory foam mattress can be a great solution for a side sleeper.

A firm pillow

Side sleepers should choose a pillow that enhances the comfort and support provided by their mattress. Choosing a thicker pillow can help to keep your head and neck in a neutral position when sleeping on your side, due to the distance of your head from the mattress. You may be tempted to choose a soft, fluffy pillow for comfort, but experts say that a firmer pillow can give your head and neck the lift it needs to promote a neutral alignment. A memory foam pillow to match a memory foam mattress could be the perfect solution for a great night’s sleep.

Extra joint support

If you sleep on your side, you will be aware that your knees are constantly pushing against each other throughout the night. This can lead to pain and stiff joints when you wake. To avoid putting too much pressure on your knees, placing a thin pillow between them when you sleep can help to alleviate any extra pressure. There are also specialist memory foam blocks that you could purchase that can help with this.

Support and alignment

If you suffer from back pain, or you often find that your spine is not in alignment when you’re sleeping, you can place a pillow or a support wedge between your waist and your mattress. This allows your spine to stay straight during the night and means you can wake up feeling pain-free and ready to take on the day. You could also benefit from placing a pillow behind your back when sleeping on your side so that you don’t turn over whilst sleeping or choose a pillow that cradles your neck to alleviate stiffness – a memory foam pillow can provide this, or specialist pillows with a sloping neck are also available to suit side sleepers.

Which Sleep Position Is Best?

While we would love to tell you what the best sleep position is, the truth is that there really isn’t a “best position.” Each person will have their own sleep position that works best for them. Are you a combination of a few of these? Have a look at this guide to find out which pillow could be best for you. 

In order to maximize your sleep, visit your local sleep clinic. If you live in Alaska, click on the link below to connect with a professional sleep specialist.

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Topics: alaska sleep clinic, positions, getting better sleep, sleeping positions, alaska sleep

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