Indeed, everyone has a preferred sleeping schedule and position. For some, sleeping on their backs offers them a more relaxing bedtime. Considering how your body gets fully supported by your mattress with this position, one of its advantages is fewer chances of back pains. On the other hand, others prefer to sleep on their sides since it’s flexible, and there are many variations you can try, such as the fetal or log position.
But regardless of the position you prefer, allowing yourself to be comfortable while sleeping can go a long in promoting quality sleep while also ensuring you won’t wake up with a sore body. In this post, we’ll learn more about the most popular position- the side sleeping position.
Side Sleeping: Overview, Benefits, And Drawbacks
From the name itself, this position is characterized by sleeping on one’s side. This means, instead of having your back or stomach directly rest on the mattress, you have your shoulders and hips. This is a common position among adults, and studies suggest more than 60% of adults spend most of their sleeping hours on their sides.
Side sleeping is considered a healthy position due to its many benefits. These include better blood flow, improved gut health and digestion, reduced risk of acid reflux and experiencing heartburn, and help with sleep apnea and snoring. It’s also good for promoting better spine alignment.
In addition, this position is recommended for pregnant women to allow for better blood circulation, helping deliver nutrient-packed blood to nourish your baby. This position can also help take the pressure off the mother’s kidneys and liver.
While being a side sleeper has a lot of health benefits, it’d be worth noting that it has drawbacks too. It can increase the risks of shoulder pains and soreness of your neck, especially without good support, like a firm mattress and knee pillow for sleeping. And due to your body’s position, it can also cause arm numbness. Some studies also suggest that being on your side can cause wrinkles and acne since your face is pressed into your pillow while resting on your left or right side.
Tips For Good Night’s Rest As A Side Sleeper
Sleeping on your side can provide you with a comfortable bedtime, especially if done right. And to help you maximize its benefits, improve your sleep, and get a good night’s rest, below are some tips you can consider:
Use Proper Pillow
As mentioned, one of the downsides of side sleeping includes an increased risk of hurting your neck and shoulders. And in some cases, it also adds pressure on your knee joints and strains your lower back. This can make you uncomfortable, and nothing’s more frustrating than waking up with terrible back pain and a sore body. This is where using the right pillow to support your body comes in handy.
As a side sleeper, it’s essential to prioritize your body and spine alignment. Ideally, your shoulders should rest comfortably on the side while still allowing your head to be as straight as the rest of your spine. This can help prevent straining your neck and adding extra pressure on your body.
To start, you can use a knee pillow. It can help provide proper cushioning and avoid putting too much pressure on your knees. And while you can use a thin pillow, a specialized knee pillow can provide greater support for your joints and promote better spine alignment.
Apart from using the right knee pillow, using the perfect head pillow is also a necessity. When choosing a head pillow, it’ll be helpful to select a firm variant to keep your head in place. This way, you can prevent your head from sinking and turning around. For better support, it can also be great if you could use a customizable pillow that allows you to adjust the fluffiness of your pillow along with its height.
Switch To A Better Mattress
Along with your pillows, your mattress also plays an essential role in how comfortable you can sleep at night. While upgrading your mattress might be an expensive option, you’d be surprised with how it can help to give you a good night’s rest.
By sleeping on your side, you’re generally adding pressure to your hips and shoulders, which could result in shoulder and neck pain the next morning. To help prevent this, a firm mattress can support your body and provide relief. And while it can be tempting to get a soft or cushiony mattress, note that this may not be ideal for this position since your body could sink into the mattress overnight, causing you to feel achy the next day.
Do Some Stretching
Stretching before sleeping can also help ensure you’d get a good night’s rest. For one, it allows your body to relax and cool down after a long day. Having an evening stretching routine also helps relieve muscle tension and improve blood flow, which enables you to fall asleep quickly. This can be a great alternative to scrolling through your social media feed or browsing the internet using your phone, which often makes you feel more alert or awake. You can do a neck stretch and twist, standing quad stretch, cat-cow stretch, and bear hug, among others.
In addition, considering how sleeping on your side can strain your body, especially with the wrong posture, you can do the same stretching routine to wake up your muscles and get the blood flowing the next morning. Stretching can also help alleviate muscle aches and tension after being on your side for prolonged hours.
Keep A Comfortable Sleep Environment
Just like with any other sleeping position, having a cozy and comfortable environment can go a long way in ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. You don’t need to spend a lot or renovate your bedroom to achieve a relaxing space. As a good start, you can invest in quality bedsheets. You can also use aromatherapy to help you cool down from your day. And depending on your preferences, you can opt for a quieter bedroom or have some calming music or white noise playing in the background.
With these simple tips in mind, it’ll surely help you relax faster and drift to sleep comfortably.
Being a side sleeper can provide you with many health benefits. But, with the added pressure on your shoulders, hips, and knees, you can easily hurt your body, especially when sleeping with the wrong posture. That said, it’s essential to provide support by using the right pillows and a firm mattress to ensure optimum comfort all night and prevent your body from feeling sore the next day. You can also do some light stretching before going to bed and ensure your bedroom is cozy and comfortable to improve your sleeping experience.