It has long been recommended to sleep on your back to get a good night’s sleep without pain. However, side sleeping has more benefits than previously thought.
Research shows that side sleeping is more common in older people and people with a higher body mass index (BMI).
While sleeping on your side has its benefits, you can only get them by getting the right position. Otherwise, back, neck, and joint pain will outweigh the benefits of side sleeping.
Here’s what to know about side sleeping and how to get it right.
Benefits of sleeping on the left or right side
Sleeping on your back has long been considered the ideal sleeping position, but research shows that sleeping on your side has many benefits.
With proper posture, side sleeping can reduce both joint and back pain, and reduce chronic pain associated with long-term conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Another benefit of side sleeping is that it reduces snoring, a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. This serious condition can disrupt breathing and cause long-term complications, such as:
high blood pressure
While maintaining good sleep hygiene can prevent cognitive problems, research shows that sleeping on your side is beneficial for overall brain health.
Finally, if you sleep on your side, you can improve your gut health. This pose helps improve the functioning of the digestive system, which can alleviate gastrointestinal problems such as heartburn, constipation, and bloating.
Disadvantages of side sleeping
Sleeping on your side has many benefits, especially when it comes to back pain and sleep apnea. However, your body prefers variety throughout the night to prevent pain in other parts of the body. It can start on one side and then move to the other side.
It is also important to pay attention to the position of the chin with the head raised on the pillow. Tucking your chin to your chest can cause neck pain.
Does side sleeping cause shoulder pain?
One significant disadvantage of sleeping on your side is the increased risk of shoulder pain.
Whether you’re on your left or right side, a matching shoulder can sink into the mattress and into your neck, causing misalignment and soreness the next morning.
A firm mattress and pillow can help reduce this risk and keep your head straight on your shoulders.