Get A Pillow Designed For Side Sleepers
The best pillow for side sleepers is one that supports proper alignment between your neck and the rest of your spine. Your neck should stay aligned with your upper back to avoid creating any pressure or neck pain upon waking up. If you sleep on your side and are prone to neck pain, you might want to avoid a feather pillow and opt for a supportive latex pillow instead.
Measure the space between your neck and the edge of your shoulder. When you go shopping for pillows, that measurement should be close to the pillows loft, which describes the height of a pillow.
You can use additional pillows to make side sleeping more comfortable. Place a pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned, reduce pressure on your knee joints, and prevent straining your lower back.
Position Your Bed For Comfort
If those concerns dont apply to you, you can let comfort be your guide, Salas says. But sleep position isnt the only thing to consider when going for a comfortable nights sleep. Salas recommends replacing old mattresses and pillows. Choosing soft-versus-hard is just a matter of preference, but aim for something supportive, she says. If you have neck or shoulder pain, a supportive pillow designed to cradle the neck could be helpful. A bolster or pillow supporting the legs could ease pain in the lower back. Dont underestimate the importance of optimizing your bedroom to help you get a good nights sleep. Salas adds:
- Clean sheets: Wash sheets frequently and vacuum the mattress to rid it of dust and dander that can cause allergies and impair your sleep.
- Close the blinds: Use curtains or blinds to keep the room dim at night. But open the curtains in the morning to reset your internal clock.
- Location matters: Position your bed so you arent facing distractions such as a desk stacked with work or a blinking light.
The sleep environment is something that can easily be fixed, Salas says. By giving a little thought to positioning your body and bed, you might find your slumber is even sweeter.
Why Are Pregnant Women Told To Sleep On Their Left Side
ByBrandon Specktorpublished 20 August 18
Here’s something to expect when you’re expecting: hearing the phrase “Sleep while you can” repeated by every person you meet for 40 weeks.
For pregnant mothers, that’s easier said than done especially if they’re fond of sleeping on their backs or bellies. Currently, many doctors tell pregnant women to sleep exclusively on their left sides at night. But why? What’s so bad about resting on the right or snoozing in a supine position?
Turns out, there’s a good medical reason for it, and it involves an unseen Tetris game happening inside every pregnant woman’s belly.
Don’t Miss: Do Air Purifiers Help With Snoring
Reasons To Sleep On Your Left Side
Not everyone does best with right side sleeping. In fact, there are three distinct groups of people that may do worse.
1. Acid Reflux Sufferers
People suffering from acid reflux may sleep better on their left side. This is because studies show that acid reflux may be worse with right side sleeping. Thus, if your acid reflux is causing you more symptoms than your heart, you may want to consider sleeping on your left side.
2. Vagus Nerve Arrhythmias
The vagus nerve connects the heart, brain, and gut. Because of this connection, vagus nerve activation may be an important cause of arrhythmias.
With vagus nerve stimulation, you get increased parasympathetic activity which is the exact opposite of the fight or flight response with sympathetic stimulation. Thus, to quiet your vagus nerve at night, studies suggest that you may want to try sleeping on your left side.
3. Too Slow of a Heart Rate at Night
If you have ever worn a heart monitor, your doctor may have told you that your heart beats too slow at night. If this is the case, sleeping on your left side could stimulate a sympathetic response and increase your heart rate.
It Can Put Extra Pressure On The Baby
If you are about to become a mom, you need to be extra careful with your sleeping habits, not only for your baby, but for your own health and comfort as well. Sleeping on your stomach is the number one position to avoid because the extra weight in the middle of your body puts too much pressure on your spine. More than that, this posture doesnt give your baby the space it needs to move freely since it is squeezed between the bed and your spine.
Its better to:
Doctors advise all pregnant women to try sleeping on their left side, since this position increases the blood flow and provides the maximum oxygen levels for both mother and baby.
You May Like: Candida And Insomnia
What Side Should You Sleep On
Its hard to pinpoint the best method for sleeping. If you cant find a comfortable sleeping position, it might be one of the signs you need a new mattress. Experts agree that you should stick with whatever sleeping habits work best for you.
But, that said, sleeping on your back appears to be the healthiest method, followed by your left side, then your right one. Just try to avoid sleeping on your stomach if you can.
Whether you sleep on your side, back or stomach, if you wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free, theres probably no reason to break a habit thats working for you, according to CNN. But if youre having any of the issues mentioned here, it might be a good idea to experiment with something new.
Get The App
Soothes Snoring And Sleep Apnea
If you have a bed mate or household member who complains about your snoring, try sleeping on your side. Side sleeping keeps the airway open by preventing the collapse of soft tissue at the back of your throata common problem if you sleep on your back.
Side sleeping can also alleviate obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where your breathing slows or stops multiple times throughout the night. When you have sleep apnea, you can get a full nights sleep and still feel tired the next morning because of reduced sleep quality. Your doctor is likely to recommend side sleeping along with CPAP therapy and other lifestyle changes such as weight loss.
Read Also: Hypoxemia During Sleep
It May Reduce Heartburn
A study published in The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that lying on the left side can help reduce acid reflux symptoms. Again this is because our stomach lies on the left side. Conversely, lying on the right side may aggravate these symptoms. The effects are fairly immediate if youre struggling with heartburn after a meal, try taking a 10-minute lie-down on your left side.
Considerations For Choosing The Right Sleeping Position For You
Choosing the right sleep position depends on a number of factors. These include personal preference, as well as physical and medical factors such as:
It is often challenging to change personal sleeping positions. Once we’re asleep, we may find we revert to what is familiar. The use of pillows and back supports may help keep you in your new position during the night.
Read Also: Sleep Insomnia Va Rating
What Is The Best Sleep Position: Stomach Back Or Side
By Sanchita SenCertified Sleep Coach
There are three distinct sleeping positions. Most of us tend to lie on our side, but some of us sleep better on our backs or stomachs. And many of us
There are three distinct sleeping positions. Most of us tend to lie on our side, but some of us sleep better on our backs or stomachs. And many of us move between two or all three positions throughout the night.
But which of the three is the best sleeping position? Each has its pros and cons, although stomach sleeping has more drawbacks than benefits. Well go over each position, and you can decide which sounds right for you.
If you have a medical condition, theright sleeping posture can ease symptoms,Verified SourceJohns Hopkins MedicineUniversity focused on medical research that produces thoroughly reviewed health articles.View sourceand the wrong one can worsen your condition.
Different positions can lead to:
Best Sleeping Positions For Back Shoulder And Neck Pain
If you have back pain, sleeping on your stomach or back may aggravate your pain. Switch to side sleeping to minimize your risk of back pain.
For further relief, put a pillow between your knees to keep your hips in alignment. If you must sleep on your back, placing a pillow under your knees will take some strain off of your back.
Shoulder, Neck, and Upper Back Pain
Arthritis and other painful conditions along your upper spine can worsen or improve while you sleep. Studies seem to disagree, though, on what positions are ideal.
One large study found that people had less shoulder pain who slept in the starfish positionon their backs, with hands up near their chest or head. But it couldn’t explain if those people had less shoulder pain because of the way they slept, or if they slept that way because they had less pain.
A later study found that people who slept on their backs with their arms at their sidesthe soldier positionactivated their shoulder muscles less, and thus may experience less shoulder pain.
Why Is It Better To Sleep On Your Left Side While Pregnant
Experts recommend lying on your left side. It improves circulation, giving nutrient-packed blood an easier route from your heart to the placenta to nourish your baby. Lying on the left side also keeps your expanding body weight from pushing down too hard on your liver. While either side is okay, left is best.
Sleeping On Your Belly Is Bad News
Stomach sleeping is the big no-no when it comes to slumber poses.
If you are sleeping on your stomach and notice you are suffering back pain, there probably is a reason, Fish warns us. Since the majority of the weight of the human body is around your center, that core pushes into the sleep surface further and basically puts strain on your spine in the wrong direction, causing back and neck pain.
The only benefit to a downward-facing sleep position is that it may help keep your airways open if you snore or have sleep apnea. However, a side option is better.
Pro tip for stomach sleepers
If you find it hard to minimize stomach sleeping, use a flat pillow or none at all. Tuck a pillow under your pelvis to help relieve pressure.
You May Like: Sleep Related Hypoxemia
Pro Tips For Sleeping On Your Back
Changing your sleep position isnt easy, as our bodies have grown accustomed to our sleep ritual for years, Fish says. But using a pillow in different ways can help jump-start the change.
Here are some pro tips to consider:
Which Side Is The Best To Sleep On: Left Or Right
Sleeping on your left side is thought to have the most benefits to your overall health. In this position, your organs are freer to get rid of toxins while you sleep. Still, either side can offer benefits in terms of sleep apnea and chronic lower back pain relief.
You dont have to stick with one side the entire night. Feel free to start on your left side and see how your body feels.
Its also normal to shift around while you sleep from side to side, or even onto your back. Sleeping on your stomach is the hardest on your spine and organs, so try to avoid this position if possible.
You May Like: Sleeping Betta Fish
How Can I Sleep More Comfortably During Pregnancy
Keep your legs and knees bent, and put a pillow between your legs to relieve the stress on your back.
- If you find that you are having problems with back pain, use the SOS position, and try placing a pillow under your abdomen as well.
- If you are experiencing heartburn during the night, you may want to try propping your upper body with pillows.
- In late pregnancy, you may experience shortness of breath. Try lying on your side or propped up with pillows.
These suggestions may not sound completely comfortable, especially if you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach, but try them out. You may find that they work. Keep in mind that you may not stay in one position all night, and rotating positions is fine.
Side Sleeping Best Practices
Whether youre a veteran side sleeper or are new to this position, its important to know the best practices. This way, you can get the most out of this sleeping position without waking up to pain and discomfort the next morning:
Recommended Reading: Why Doesn’t Apple Watch Track Sleep
Sleeping On The Right Mattress And Pillow
Despite the health perks of sleeping on your side, you wont get a good nights rest if you arent sleeping on the right mattress with a good pillow.
A good mattress for a side sleeper should have a thick comfort layer to fully conform around the hips and shoulders. The mattress should have a soft to medium feel, as a too firm mattress aggravates pressure points.
We strongly recommend side sleepers stay away from innerspring mattresses, as the thin comfort layer cant sufficiently contour to the body for pressure relief. Instead, we suggest looking at memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses, and hybrid beds.
Side sleeping is the position that creates the most distance between your neck and sleeping surface, so you need a thick, firm pillow for neck support. A too-thin pillow will cause your head to sag, straining your neck and causing neck pain. Look for a pillow between 4 to 6 inches thick.
Which Side: Right Or Left
Both sides are not equal when it comes to side sleeping, mainly because your body is not symmetrical.
We recommend sleeping on the right side since it may be the key to a healthier heart. Studies suggest it reduces pressure on the heart and stabilizes your blood pressure and heart rate.
Does that mean sleeping on your left side is bad for your heart? Not necessarily, as the previously mentioned 2003 study shows.
Remember that the study examined both subjects with congestive heart failure and perfectly healthy subjects. The control subjects with healthy hearts freely slept on their left and right sides. Its just that right-side sleeping helps your heart perform better, which is excellent for anyone with a heart condition.
Pregnancy is an exception to the right side is better rule, as blood flow from the mother to the fetus improves when the mother sleeps on her left side.
Sleeping On Your Side
If you sleep on your side, youll want to keep your head in neutral posture, with your chin straight ahead.
Tucking your chin down when sleeping in a fetal position on your side produces a painful forward head position, cautions Dr. Bang.
When youre standing with ideal posture looking at the horizon, your ear hole should line up with your shoulders, he says. Try to keep that posture when you sleep.
How Do I Know If My Heart Is Ok
10 Surefire Signs Your Heart Is Super Strong
Also Check: Va Asthma And Sleep Apnea
What Sleep Positions During Pregnancy Should I Avoid
Sleeping on your back: This can cause problems with backaches, breathing, the digestive system, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure and cause a decrease in circulation to your heart and your baby. This is a result of your growing abdomen resting on your intestines and major blood vessels . You can also develop sleep apnea as you put on weight.
Sleeping on your stomach: When you are farther along in your pregnancy, your breasts become more tender and your abdomen continues to grow, both making sleeping on your tummy uncomfortable. Using a donut-shaped pillow may help you sleep comfortably on your stomach.
Reasons for your discomfort may include:
During pregnancy, you may find yourself wrestling in bed trying to get comfortable before falling asleep. When you are pregnant your body goes through a variety of changes causing your regular sleeping positions to no longer work for you.
- Increased size of the abdomen
- Back pain