Some studies have shown that as many as 50% of Americans sleep on their sides. This number is split between the two main types of side sleeper positions. In the “fetal” position, the most common between the two, the sleeper is curled almost into a ball with their knees bent in front of them. The second most common is the “log” position, where the sleeper is on their side with both arms and legs relatively parallel against the body.
If you are a “fetal” sleeper you will mainly need a good, firm pillow. A firm pillow offers much needed support for your head throughout the night. Many side sleepers who use thin or overly-soft pillows find themselves waking up in the morning with a stiff neck. In some cases this stiffness has even been know to cause lasting damage. If you are a side sleeper and simply cannot stand firm pillows, find the thickest soft pillow you can get your hands on; maybe a Hotel White Goose Down Pillow. You will find yourself sleeping more comfortably as your neck is more in line with your spine.
If you are a “log” sleeper you will still need to find the right thickness in your pillow for proper neck support, but you will also need to consider your legs. While most “fetal” sleepers tend to relax their knees into the bed by leaning their bodies forward, “log” sleepers tend to lay with their knees directly on top of each other. This can be very uncomfortable and lead to tightness or misalignment of the tendons in the knees. A great way to counteract this is by simply putting a pillow between your knees. Any pillow will do, but note that if your pillow is too thick it could cause other issues. The recommended pillow type would be something like the utilitarian cuddle buddy, a Down Alternative Body Pillow.
Side sleepers of any type should also be aware that a firm mattress can irritate sore shoulders. Side sleeping does not cause shoulder pain but can put pressure on the shoulder, making pre-existing pain worse. If you aren’t in the market for a new mattress or just can’t get a new mattress, consider finding a soft mattress topper to remove the majority of that pressure. Both the Extra Plush Mattress Pad and the Extra Plush Viscose Rayon from Bamboo Topper would work perfectly for this situation. Let’s recap for anyone who may just be skimming:
- Firm or thick pillow for neck support.
- Thin, soft pillow for knee support.
- Soft mattress topper for shoulder pressure.
Have a comfortable night’s sleep!