There are different types of sleepers out there. There are some who can only fall asleep when they are on their stomach. There are those who tend to sprawl out across the bed. Some curl. There are those who find it easy to sleep when they are on their back. Whatever works for you, you need to know that your sleep position can affect how you feel the next morning and the day. It can also say something about your personality. Side sleepers are the most popular.
What is Side Sleeping?
This is a person who sleeps on their side. You are a side sleeper if you find it hard to sleep on your stomach and back and you are most comfortable sleeping with your shoulder and hip on your mattress.
Benefits of Sleeping on your Side
There are some benefits of side sleeping, and research has shown this.
Back Pain Relief
Many people are suffering from chronic pain, especially in their lower back. When you sleep in the wrong position, you increase the pressure on your spine and you might experience pain when you wake up. Many people have reported some pain relief after switching to side sleeping.
Reduced risk of sleep apnea and snoring
People tend to snore more when sleeping on their backs compared to the sides. When sleeping on your back, it becomes easier for the tongue to fall back into the throat, which creates an obstruction that can lead to snoring. Here are some good tips to help with snoring.
Your airway is going to remain open when you sleep on your side, which makes it easier for you to breathe. This is why physicians usually recommend people with sleep apnea, which is a breathing disorder related to sleep, sleep on their side.
Here are some good tips to help with snoring.
Improved Brain Health
The brain keeps getting rid of waste whether it is day or night, but it does the majority of the work at night when you are asleep. There are research studies that have looked at whether the sleep position affects the efficiency of the brain when it comes to waste removal. They observed which sleeping position lead to the most waste removal, and side sleeping performed better than back and stomach sleeping.
Side sleeping is good for pregnant people because it makes it easier for blood to be pumped through the body. It is also good because it is going to reduce the pressure on the vein carrying blood back from the legs to the heart of the mother. Side sleeping is a good position because back sleeping increases the risk of late stillbirth according to some studies.
Side Sleepers Position
There are three positions where side sleeping usually occurs in
Fetal: This is the most common side sleeping position. This is where you are curled up in a ball like a fetus inside the womb.
Log: With this position, the legs extend and the arms are straight down, just like a log. This is the second most popular.
Yearner: The legs are extended like the log position but the arms extend and it looks like you are reaching for something. This is the least common position.
Which side is the best between right and left?
The left side is thought to have the most benefits for your health. Either of the sides will get you the benefits like relief from chronic back pain and helping with sleep apnea.
You don’t have to remain on one side the entire night. Start on the left side and see how the body is going to respond.
Shifting side to side is normal or even onto your back. Sleeping on the stomach will be the hardest on the spine and organs, try your best to avoid this position.
There is a good chance you only have a preference when it comes to a mattress – whether it is firm or soft. If you want to side sleep, then it is best to get a mattress that is between soft and firm because it will give you the most benefits.
Side sleeping best practices
Whether you are new to this position or a veteran side sleeper, you need to know how to do it right. When you do this right, you will wake up in the morning without any pain or discomfort.
- Lying down on a medium-firm mattress, and put a pillow under your head.
- Shifting to your left side first. Make sure your ears are in line with the shoulders, and the chain should be neutral. Don’t tuck your chin in your chest or keep your head down.
- Keep your hands and arms below the face and neck. Try keeping it parallel to the sides.
- Putting a firm pillow between the knees (this is especially important for those dealing with low back pain). This is going to help in preventing the collapse of the knee and hip joints, which helps the spine align better.
- To reduce the pressure on your back, slightly lift your knees up.
Which sleep position is the healthiest?
Many experts agree that side sleeping is the best position. Lying on the side will give you an unobstructed airway and help deal with symptoms of acid reflux and sleep apnea. Side sleeping is also good for brain waste disposal.
There are some advantages of back sleeping. Sleeping on the back means that your body is evenly distributed, which puts minimal strain on the spine. If you have back pain, then consider back sleeping and see whether it changes anything.
Side and back sleeping both have their own benefits, but this cannot be said about stomach sleeping. When the stomach sleeps, the abdomen and hips tend to bow too far into the mattress and this affects the natural curves of the spine. This is why people who sleep on their stomachs develop chronic back pain. Sleep aids can help with this.
Is a soft or firm mattress good for side sleepers?
It is better to sleep on a soft mattress if you are a side sleeper. Beds that have a soft to medium feel is going to conform to the arc better which eases pressure on the hips and shoulders.
A medium-firm mattress is the best option for side sleepers, and this is what is suggested mostly for heavyset side sleepers. Plus-size people can benefit a lot from a firmer mattress because of the supportive feel.
Is the pillow top mattress a good option for side sleepers?
It is better to buy this than a regular innerspring mattress if you are a side sleeper. The downside of pillow tops is their durability. They start losing their shape after using them for a few years.
Are you interested in getting a bouncy mattress that is going to cushion the body? Then you need to get a hybrid. A quality hybrid has a dense foam top and it resists compression. It is going to maintain its shape even after sleeping on it for years.
What happens to the face when sleeping on the side?
Sleeping on your side is not kind to your face. It increases the chances of developing wrinkles. It can also cause more acne breakouts, especially for those who don’t change their pillowcases every few days. The benefits outweigh the downsides. Side sleeping is going to have a lot of benefits to your health and body.
You should have a good skincare routine because it is going to go a long way in protecting your face during the day. This is going to minimize your chances of getting premature wrinkles and acne when you sleep at night. There are some great tips to help you with your skin, some of them include;
- Using anti-aging creams which help in preventing wrinkles
- Using natural face moisturizers for radiant skin
- Acne treatment for cleansing the face of spots and bumps
- Sunscreens on your face to limit the damage of UV rays from the sun.