How to Sleep On Your Side: 5 Tips for Side Sleepers

A good night's sleep is within your grasp

Good news for side sleepers: There are actually tons of perks to this bedtime position. (Um, did you know it cuts down on acid reflux and reduces pressure on your back?) But it takes a couple of minor adjustments to get it right for optimal sleep. Here, five tips on how to sleep on your side that will guarantee you get the best quality zzzs.

1. Get The Right Pillow.

Side sleepers want a pillow that fills the gap. And by gap, we mean the crevice between your neck and mattress. If your pillow isn’t the right height (i.e., too soft or too firm), there’s a huge chance you’ll wake up with a strained neck. This is where a foam pillow comes in. It’s ideal for side sleepers since it smoothly adjusts to the contours of your neck and fills in any negative space.

2. Be Sure Your Head Is In Neutral.

Basically, this means that it’s not tilted too far forward on the pillow or too far back. The easiest way to keep your neck in pitch-perfect position is to shimmy your pillow down to fill that neck gap. (See? It all connects.)

3. Sleep With A Pillow Between Your Knees.

This will seriously help relieve pressure on your hips and lower back, not to mention keep your spine in alignment while you snooze.

4. Stretch When You Wake Up.

Side sleepers tend to trend toward the fetal position while they sleep. But, according to Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, sleeping all balled up can wreak havoc on your confidence levels come daytime. To ensure that you start the day feeling your best, her study suggests waking up and stretching your arms as wide as possible (arms over your head! toes pointed!), which can make all the difference in your day.

5. Go For A Softer Mattress.

Side sleepers will see a huge improvement from a mattress that’s more flexible and soft. Why? It’s more forgiving when it comes to the curves of your body. Too-firm mattresses can cause side sleepers to wake up feeling stiff. If your mattress is on the firmer side (and a new one isn't in the budget), try opting for a memory foam topper.

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.