Side Sleepers

Side sleeping requires the right firmness to maintain a neutral spine and support your neck and shoulders, and mastering this position has potential benefits. When properly supported, side sleeping may help reduce back pain, and research shows it can help prevent snoring.

To help you achieve better sleep, we’ve gathered our picks for the best pillows and the best mattresses for side sleepers, verified by our integrity team.

Mattresses for Side Sleepers

While there are many potential benefits to side sleeping, it requires proper support and alignment.

Contouring mattresses designed for pressure-point relief are good options for side sleeping. They help cradle the shoulders and support a neutral spine.

Explore mattresses that may help you feel supported when sleeping on your side.

Frequently Asked Questions

Left or right, whichever side you sleep on comes down to your comfort levels. However, some research shows that sleeping on your left side may have the most benefits to your overall health, as your organs are freer to get rid of toxins. Regardless, sleeping on one side or the other will not provide significant benefits.

There are many potential benefits to sleeping on your side, such as:

  • reduced joint and low back pain, as well as chronic pain associated with long-term conditions like fibromyalgia

  • reduced snoring, a common symptom seen in obstructive sleep apnea

  • increased digestive system functions, which could alleviate heartburn, constipation, and bloating

  • increased safety for fetuses in people who are pregnant

A drawback to sleeping on your side may be an increased risk of shoulder pain, as the shoulder you sleep on may sink into the mattress and up toward your neck, creating misalignment and pain. Likewise, it may also lead to jaw tightness.

Regardless of whichever side you find most comfortable to sleep on, switching between the two sides is recommended. Alternating the side you sleep on may alleviate pressure on your muscles and prevent morning aches and pains. Putting a pillow between your lower legs may also help better align your hips to avoid low back pain.

Good pillow options for side sleepers may be firm or extra firm, with filler materials that don’t flatten readily, such as memory foam or latex. Look for a pillow that keeps your head about 3 to 4 inches above the mattress to allow for proper head, neck, and back alignment. Pillows that have wide side gussets are designed to maintain this height over time.

Look for a mattress that’s made with materials, like hybrid or latex, that are designed to provide pressure point relief. Consider a medium firmness that may offer support and promote proper alignment while still having enough comfortable give. If the mattress is too soft and doesn’t offer the right support, it may cause shoulder or lower back pain.

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