Sleeping on the east side is believed to be the most beneficial for your health. However, both aspects can be beneficial for treating sleep apnea and chronic lower back pain.
You don’t have to take sides all night. Start on the left and see how your body feels.
It is normal to shift to your side or even your back while sleeping. Sleeping on your stomach is the hardest on your back and organs, so try to avoid this position if possible.
You may already have a soft or firm mattress preference. When it comes to side sleeping, mattresses that fall between these two spectrums work best.
The best type of mattress for side sleepers
A soft, pillowy mattress does not provide joint support. At the beginning of the night, you may feel tenderness in your shoulders and knees, but in the morning you may wake up with pain.
This is because at night, your joints are at risk of collapsing and sinking further into the mattress.
Pain can be alleviated with a firmer mattress, but you don’t want one that’s too firm. A mattress that’s too firm doesn’t support your body shape or sleeping position, so it’s too uncomfortable to sleep on.
The only way to know if a mattress is best for you is to try it.
You can try different types of mattresses in a traditional store, or you can order a trial version and try it out at home for a long time. If you’re not ready to buy a new mattress, another solution is to reinforce your existing soft mattress with plywood underneath.
Shop all Healthline-approved mattresses for sleepers in our sleep store.
Best practices for side sleeping
Whether you’re a veteran or new to the position, it’s important to know how to do it right. This way, you can get the most out of this sleeping position without waking up in pain or discomfort the next morning.
Lie on a medium-weight mattress and place a firm pillow under your head.
First, move to the left side. Your ears should be on your shoulders and your chin should be neutral. Avoid tucking your chin into your chest and lowering your head.
It is best to keep your hands and arms below your face and neck and parallel to your sides.
Place a firm pillow between your knees (especially if your back hurts). This will prevent the hips and knees from collapsing and improve the posture of the spine.
Raise your knees slightly toward your chest to reduce pressure on your back.
Sleeping on your side is good for both body and mind.
If you still have pain, you can change your mattress or pillow to get firmer support.
If you’ve made these changes and still have chronic pain, see your doctor or therapist.