For dedicated side sleepers, choosing which side to sleep on can have an impact on your comfort, health, and quality of sleep.
While both your left and right side are fine, one side may be better than the other depending on your specific needs and preferences.
This article explores whether there’s an ideal side sleeping position between your left vs. right side along with tips for determining your best side. We’ll also look at ways to boost comfort regardless of which side you pick.
Pros and Cons of Left vs. Right Side Sleeping
Here’s an overview of the potential benefits and drawbacks of resting on each side:
Sleeping on Your Left Side
- Alleviates acid reflux symptoms
- Boosts digestion
- Improves lymphatic drainage
- Better kidney waste filtration
- Reduces snoring
- Beneficial for pregnant women
- Strains internal organs like liver, lungs, and stomach
- Can worsen chronic heartburn
- May contribute to facial wrinkling and nasolabial folds
- Worsens insomnia symptoms for some
Sleeping on Your Right Side
- Reduces heartburn
- Eases breathing in those with congestion
- Optimizes digestive function
- Allows stomach to hang naturally
- Prevents liver and lung compression
- Can aggravate acid reflux after eating
- Increases snoring risk
- May contribute to SI joint dysfunction
- Can feel unfamiliar or uncomfortable
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both positions. Next, we’ll explore tips for choosing what’s right for you.
Tips for Picking the Best Side for You
Consider these factors when deciding your ideal side sleeping position:
- Health Conditions – Pick left side to boost circulation and digestion or right side to ease breathing issues.
- Pregnancy – Sleeping on the left is better for pregnant women to improve blood flow.
- Acid Reflux – Left worsens while right lessens heartburn for most. But experiment to see what helps.
- Facial Aging and Wrinkles – Rest face-up if concerned about wrinkles. Or invest in a silk pillowcase.
- Arm Numbness – Place your dominant arm up to avoid “dead arm” sensations from compressed nerves.
- Shoulder Pain – Determine if one shoulder feels more comfortable bearing your body weight.
- Apnea Risk – Right side may increase breathing issues/snoring for those with sleep apnea.
- SI Joint Pain – Left side down alleviates this pain.
Spend a few nights on each side while noting comfort and symptoms. Then optimize your sleep position.
Making Both Left and Right Side Sleeping Comfortable
Rather than picking one winning side, you can enhance comfort and support on both sides:
Adjust Pillow Height – Use a thin pillow under your waist and head whether left or right.
Hug a Body Pillow – Cradle it between your legs and under your shoulders.
Elevate Top Leg – Place a pillow under your top knee to align hips.
Use a Contoured Eye Mask – Prevent facial wrinkling and light disruption.
Buy a Split King – Customize firmness for each sleeping position.
Add a Topper – Soften pressure points on either side.
See a Mattress Specialist – Have them observe your alignment on each side.
Optimizing alignment is key for resting comfortably on both sides. Aim to keep your spine neutral.
Alternating Sides for Balanced Sleep
Rather than sticking to one side, aim to alternate evenly:
- Shift sides during the night – Change sides whenever you wake up.
- Use a reminder app – If you sleep soundly, an app can prompt you to flip sides.
- Set a schedule – Rotate sides each night or week.
- Try side sleeping pillows – Specialty pillows encourage side switching.
- Listen to your body – Note if one side feels strained and switch.
- Avoid favorite side – Don’t default to the more comfortable side out of habit.
Evenly distributing your weight helps prevent unwanted strains that come from overusing one side.
Additional Ways to Improve Side Sleeping
Beyond picking a side, also:
- Use a medium-soft mattress and plush pillow topper for cushioning.
- Choose low loft, supportive side sleeper pillows.
- Place a firm pillow between your knees.
- Use a body pillow for ergonomic positioning.
- Sleep without restrictive pajamas or bras.
- Do side-opening stretches and yoga poses before bed.
- See a sleep specialist if discomfort persists.
Proper support through your mattress, pillows and sleep environment ensures quality rest on either side.
FAQs About Left vs. Right Side Sleeping
Is sleeping on your left side better?
For most people, left side sleeping is marginally better in terms of boosting circulation and digestion. But comfort should be the top priority. Enhance either side with support.
Why is sleeping on your right side bad?
Right side sleeping isn’t necessarily bad, but it can worsen snoring, acid reflux, and SI joint pain for some people. Tweaks to pillow height and support can help.
Does side matter for back pain?
Not significantly. The key is keeping your spine aligned through proper mattress, pillow and body support. Pay more attention to mattress comfort than side.
Is switching sides good for you?
Yes, alternating sides during the night or each night distributes weight evenly and prevents strains from overusing one side. This encourages healthy sleep posture.
Which side helps you fall asleep faster?
This varies individually. Note if one side makes you feel more relaxed pre-sleep or if a position aggravates anxiety. Optimize each side’s comfort and support for quicker sleep onset.
Ideal side sleeping involves keeping your spine aligned more than choosing a “right” side. Enhance comfort on both sides through proper mattress firmness, pillow loft, and body support. If one shoulder or hip hurts more, favor that side less. Overall, alternating evenly is healthiest.
Consider your acid reflux, breathing, and pain symptoms when picking a side. But don’t force a position that feels uncomfortable. With the right bedding setup, you can sleep soundly on either your left or right side and wake up refreshed.
Want to create an ideal side sleeping environment tailored to your needs? Check out our unbiased mattress and pillow reviews. We’ll help you find the right bedding to custom-fit your sleeping style so you can rest comfortably on your side all night. Sweet dreams await!