Side Sleeper’s Guide: What You Should Know if You Sleep on Your Side

According to one survey, approximately 74% of sleepers prefer to snooze on their sides, so if you’re a side sleeper, you certainly aren’t alone. In addition to being the most popular sleeping position, it also appears that sleeping on your side comes with impressive benefits. Not all types of side sleeping positions are made equal, however, and you might be able to improve your health by making some minor changes to your nightly sleeping routine. In this guide, learn everything you need to know about side sleeping, and discover the pillows and mattresses you should be snoozing on if you prefer to sleep on your side.

Are you a side sleeper?

A side sleeper is someone who spends the majority of their nights sleeping on their side. Side sleepers can sleep on either their right or left sides, and there are quite a few different side sleeping positions.

Even if you commonly fall asleep in a different position, the position you wake up in is usually the position that you stay in the longest while asleep. Simply falling asleep on your back or stomach, therefore, does not make you a back or belly sleeper, and falling asleep on your side doesn’t make you a side sleeper if you spend the majority of the night in a different position.

What does sleeping on your side say about your personality?

There isn’t a lot of evidence that the position you sleep in says anything at all about your psychology or personality. According to at least one expert, however, your sleeping position sends signals similar to the information you provide via body language during the day.

Since the early 2000s, Chris Idzikowski, the director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, has contended that people sleep in certain positions based on how they feel about life. While these interpretations haven’t been corroborated by any clinical studies, it’s still worth considering what sleeping on your side might say about your perspectives as a person.

While there are a few common side sleeping positions, sleeping on your side usually means that you’re a gentle, relaxed person who is highly sociable yet sensitive. Unlike stomach sleepers, who tend to be more fearful, or back sleepers, who are commonly rigid or inflexible in their thinking, Professor Idzikowski says that side sleepers go with the flow while trying to stay true to themselves.

Common side sleeping poses

There are a few different common side sleeping positions, and each of these positions might say something different about your personality or offer special benefits. Here are a few examples:

Fetal position

According to one source, around 47% of Americans sleep in the fetal position by default, making this sleeping position the most popular. Professor Idzikowski says that people who sleep in the fetal position appear tough but are surprisingly sensitive. The fetal position may be one of the best positions to sleep in due to its low impact on your spine and back.

The yearner

Around 13% of people sleep in the yearner position, which is a side-sleeping pose in which both of your hands are extended outward. Professor Idzikowski believes that people who sleep in this position have outwardly open personalities that are countered with cynical, suspicious, and stubborn attitudes. Compared to the fetal position, sleeping in the yearner position may put increased strain on your neck and upper back.

The log

Close to 15% of sleepers prefer the log position, which consists of lying on your side with your arms close to your body. According to Professor Idzikowski, people who sleep in the log may be sociable and easygoing yet gullible. Sleeping in the log position could put excess strain on your lower back.

Is sleeping on your side healthy?

According to most sleep experts, sleeping on your side is one of the healthiest ways to sleep. Sleeping on your left side, however, may be more beneficial than sleeping on your right side. While human bodies are symmetrical on the outside, they are asymmetrical on the inside, and sleeping on your left side allows your digestive organs to operate at peak efficiency while you sleep.

Sleeping on your side also appears to improve brain health, reduce snoring, and help with sleep apnea. The only serious detractors to side sleeping are potential jaw pain and shoulder pain, which can usually be alleviated by changing your position slightly or sleeping on your other side. Some sources also suggest that sleeping with your face directly against your pillow could accelerate skin aging and increase your chances of developing wrinkles, but this position isn’t backed up by hard science.

Alternatives to sleeping on your side

Whether you’re simply tired of sleeping on your side or you’re concerned about getting wrinkles, you might want to give other sleeping positions a try. Even though side sleeping appears to be one of the healthiest and most comfortable ways to sleep, here are a couple of other ways you can sleep if you’re ready for a change of pace:

Supine position

Sleeping supine means sleeping on your back. While sleeping in a supine position might not be ideal if you snore or suffer from sleep apnea, it’s possible that this sleeping position is just as healthy as sleeping on your side. Plus, some sleep scientists believe that sleeping on your back indicates a calm, resolute stance toward life, so snoozing in this position could help you cultivate a confident, proactive lifestyle.

Stomach sleeping with no pillow

Some prominent sleep experts believe that sleeping on your stomach could lead to back pain and other potential issues, but others contend that belly snoozing could be even better for you than sleeping on your side as long as you do it without a pillow. Eliminating the pillow from the equation apparently maximizes the benefits of stomach sleeping while reducing the risk of developing back or neck pain from sleeping in this position.

What is the best pillow for side sleepers?

If you tend to sleep on your side, proper neck support is key. Many side sleepers end up feeling that a single pillow doesn’t provide enough support, but stacking pillows could unnaturally bend your cervical spine and lead to neck pain. Therefore, the Panda Contour Pillow is an ideal choice if sleeping on your side is your favorite way to snooze. With one side of our Contour Pillow higher than the other, you can select your ideal level of neck support, and this curved pillow promotes proper spine posture while you sleep on your side.

What is the best mattress for side sleepers?

For side sleepers, support isn’t as important as softness. There’s nothing wrong with using a firm mattress if you sleep on your side, but you might decide that maximizing the softness of your mattress helps you feel more comfortable at night. Since it’s our softest option, we recommend the Panda Classic Mattress if you intend to spend most of your sleeping time on your side. While this mattress provides the support your spine needs to stay straight, it’s so soft and luxurious that you’ll feel like you’re floating on a cloud.

Simple tips for sleeping on your side

Here are a few tips to sum things up:

  • Don’t be afraid to sleep on your side since experts believe it’s one of the healthiest sleeping positions
  • Sleeping on your left side might provide digestive and neurological benefits
  • Side sleepers should use contoured pillows and sleep on soft mattresses

Sleeping on your side is a habit that should be supported, and side-snoozing will never be the same with a Panda mattress and pillow. Enjoy 100 nights on your new mattress risk-free to discover just how comfortable sleeping on your side can be.