The Pros & Cons Of Being A Side Sleeper
Side sleeping is one of the most popular positions that people find comfort in during the night. The position chosen has a lot to do with sleep quality and waking up refreshed in the morning.
Is side sleeping optimal? Can you do something in order to reduce the risk of stiffness or poor sleep quality? Let’s find out together.
Pros Of Side Sleeping
Side sleeping is one of the best positions to reduce snoring. Sleeping on one’s back causes fat to obstruct the air passages, which may lead to snoring and sleep apnea. Both of these conditions can be alleviated by turning to one’s side.
Side sleeping elongates the spine, which means that the risk of lower back pain is minimal. The fetal position (with a pillow positioned between the legs) is particularly good for individuals who are predisposed to experiencing lower back aches. The sleeping position is also a good option for people who suffer from acid reflux and other gastrointestinal issues.
While this position has many advantages, it also brings a couple of important shortcomings to the table.
Cons Of Side Sleeping
Side sleepers have their cheek on the pillow most of the time. If the pillow case isn’t changed often enough, side sleeping can contribute to more frequent acne breakouts. In addition, it can lead to the premature formation of wrinkles.
Side sleeping may also lead to the constriction of the neck and the shoulder muscles. Because of this, stiffness is likely in the morning. It’s also important to keep in mind that the shoulders support most of the body weight.
When people remain on their left side for a longer period of time, the heart and the lungs will be forced to cope with some pressure. Alternating sides is one of the best possibilities for overcoming this.
Make Side Sleeping More Comfortable
If you’re a side sleeper, you can do a couple of simple things to improve the alignment of your body and enjoy high quality sleep.
Having a good mattress to support the body is an imperative for side sleepers. The neck and the waist are most vulnerable in this position. A good memory foam mattress (medium softness) will offer support only where it’s needed. As already mentioned, placing a pillow between the knees is also a good idea for maintaining the right posture during the night without burdening the spine.
Getting the right pillow is the next step. A side sleeper requires a pillow that will reduce neck and shoulder tension. A pillow that is very fluffy or too flat will lead to neck misalignment, thus causing pain. A general rule of thumb is to maintain the natural curve of the neck and to have the ear, shoulder and hip aligned with each other.
A foam pillow will usually offer enough support. It will fill the gap between the mattress and your neck, reducing the risk of experiencing strain during the night.
As far as bed essentials and accessories go, this is everything side sleepers need to know in order to increase their comfort. A final beneficial thing to consider is doing a brief stretching session each morning. Many side sleepers favor the fetal position, which is why elongating the body in the morning is such a good idea. Stretching the arms, getting up on one’s toes and twisting the torso a few times can result in feelings of rejuvenation and confidence.
Side sleeping has just a few minor drawbacks but it’s possible to improve the position through the purchase of a product or two. This is particularly important for people who wake up feeling some neck or shoulder stiffness in the morning. Investing in the right pillow and the right mattress can take your sleeping position to the next level and give you restful sleep throughout the night.