Among all the sleeping positions, side sleeping is the most popular one. Around three-fourths of the population prefers sleeping in this position.
As a side sleeper, you might have come across uncomfortable nights or even sleepless ones. This happens due to certain issues related to body position.
Let’s take a look at the problems side-sleepers face and ways to overcome them.
Problems with Side-Sleeping
Like every other sleeping positions, side-sleeping has its own advantages and disadvantages. There are certain issues that are caused by this position. Depending on the situation, doctors may advise you to not sleep on your side.
The following is a list of problems caused by side sleeping:
Back and Neck Pain
This is the most prevalent issue faced by side sleepers. Since side sleepers have a bent neck or spine while sleeping, they frequently experience acute pain in those areas. The stress and tension result in a sore neck or back- a quite common problem for side sleepers.
Ever woke up with a stinging sensation in hands or arms? Chances are you tossed and turned a bit too much during your sleep. This reduced blood flow to your limbs leads to numbness. Arm numbness is another uncomfortable thing a side sleeper regularly faces.
Since the spine and neck are not in alignment while sleeping on the side, unnecessary pressure can form on the nerve endings. This can cause shooting pain to the feet. Also, you might feel discomfort in the muscles across the shoulder girdle.
It can be a daunting task to change your sleeping habits overnight. So take a look at our top tips for side sleepers to make the best out of this sleeping position.
Top Tips for Side Sleepers
Side-sleeping is not all bad, it some good sides too! They are highly recommended for pregnant women. Not only it improves circulation, but it boosts digestion eases heartburn and helps drain waste from various parts of the body.
Here are a few tips that will make your side-sleeping experience even better.
Use a Firm Pillow
A good pillow can make your sleep a lot more comfortable while a poor one can only cause more discomfort. A firm pillow allows more support for your spine. This support keeps the spine secure and in position.
It is always ideal to keep the neck and spine as straight as possible. This alignment avoids injuries and pain. A pillow too soft won’t be able to keep this alignment as effectively.
Use a Thick Pillow
Now that we have talked about firmness, let’s talk about the thickness of the pillow. A thin pillow will only increase the space between your head and the mattress. Naturally while sleeping on your side, space is more noticeable than sleeping on your back.
Using a thick pillow, you can decrease this space. This will allow more support and avoid pressure on your neck.
Keep a Pillow Between the Knees
You should keep a pillow between your knees to keep the spine straight and in line. A support between the knees lessens the pressure on the hips and the lower back.
But just be cautious not to keep it too close. That might cause unusual curvature of the spine and back.
Test Out Multiple Pillows
You should try out different pillows before settling on the perfect one for you. If you have broad shoulders, you will need more support. Thus, a bigger pillow. Just like mattresses, you should also get pillows adjusted to your body.
Don’t sleep on a pillow that is too flat. It will not be able to provide the support for your neck. On the other hand, a pillow that is too high will cause muscle strains.
Don’t Forget to Do the Morning Stretches
Stretches aren’t just for old people, everyone should do them. They release pressure on your muscles and makes your body nimble. Stretches also warm up your body and relieve your joints.
For side sleepers, stretches should always be on the to-do-list. Side sleepers sleep distributing the body weight on one arm. Stretching it can relax the muscles in that place. Do your stretches and stay energized.
Get the Right Mattress
Old mattresses can have a saggy middle. These mattresses can only provide little support for your back and neck. For those who sleep on their sides, getting the right mattress is even more important. It should be firm and supportive.
But make sure it is gentle for the shoulders and hip. After all, your shoulders and hip absorb the most pressure while you are sleeping on your side.
Avoid Sleeping on Your Arm
Many side sleepers sleep on their arms to get more support. But from a doctor’s viewpoint, it’s not recommended. Sleeping in this manner will only cause a misaligned spine.
It will also create unwanted pressure on your arms. This can lead to waking up with a ‘dead’ or ‘unresponsive’ arm.
Yes. Side sleeping is the favorite sleeping position for most of us. And changing the sleeping position overnight is definitely a challenge. But then again, nobody wants a tingling arm or a painful back after waking up. By following these tips along with having the right bed accessories, you can have a comfortable sleep as a side sleeper.