top tips for side sleepers
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If the only way you can drift off to the land of nod is on your side, knees pulled up in a foetal position, arms cradled around the nearest pillow: then you’re not alone. Studies find that the majority of people prefer to sleep on their side. And guess what? It’s also credited as one of the healthiest sleeping positions. Well done, you!

Along with helping spinal alignment, side sleeping also eases snoring symptoms, prevents heartburn, and reduces back pain when compared against other sleeping positions.

However, what can you do if you’re an avid side sleeper but are still having restless nights? In this article, we get you comfortable with the best side sleeping pillows, set you up right with the best mattresses for side sleepers, and put aside that pernickety bedside pain with our top tips for easy sleeping.

Take a look at all the info you need, below.

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Best mattress for side sleepers harrison spinks joules

What’s the best mattress for side sleepers?

Mattresses are a hotly debated issue for many a bed-sharer. That’s because we all have wildly different sleeping preferences, with some enjoying an extremely soft mattress for that ‘sink in and drift off’ feeling, while others are all about getting a good night’s kip on a firm mattress that doesn’t cling to the contours of the body.

So, what’s the best mattress for side sleepers? It’s generally considered that medium firm is your best option. Too soft, and you’ll lack the proper support your side-sleeping body needs; too firm, and your pressure points won’t feel cushioned and cared for. Being medium firm also offers support for the heavier parts of your body, such as your hips and shoulders, while lighter parts, such as your chest and legs, can rest easy.

For more information about the best mattresses for side sleepers, or if you’d like to learn more about firmness and support, then take a look at our handy mattress buying guide.

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Best pillows for front sleepers

What’s the best pillow for front sleepers?

Where bed-sharing might limit how much you can adapt a mattress to your side sleeping position, you thankfully have much more freedom when it comes to personalising your pillows.

And, boy, are there a lot of pillows to choose from! From memory foam to feather down, to grading their levels of plumpness and size, it’s a bit of a minefield. However, if you are a side sleeper then we would recommend choosing a side sleeping pillow that supports proper alignment between your neck and spine.

Of course, ‘proper alignment’ will look different to individual sleepers, so it’s okay to not know exactly which is the best pillow for side sleepers. To find out for yourself, measure the space between your neck and edge of your shoulder; this is your preferred pillow’s ‘loft’ (or the height of the pillow) you’ll need for the optimal spinal alignment and is great for dealing with shoulder and neck pain in particular.

You can also sleep with several pillows to get your body in the right position. A pillow between the knees is a good option for aligning the hips (which is also great for pregnant side sleepers who are experiencing hip pain) while an additional pillow under the neck could be ideal for persistent neck pain sufferers.

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4 Top tips for side sleepers

Better sleep quality is right at your fingertips – now all you need to do is stay consistent with your side sleeping ‘non-negotiables’ for the best night’s sleep.

Take a look at our best side sleeping tips to keep those zzzz’s coming.

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The best sleeping position for anybody is one that is symmetrical. This is because you’ll stand the best chance of spinal alignment when you’re symmetrical, with pressure points equally attended to. You can get nicely symmetrical in a side sleeping position by checking in with your chin and neck: they should be aligned in the centre of your shoulders, along with your arms and hands in alignment. You’ll also want to line up your knees – although try not to fold them up into the body too much as that can impair your airways.

Once you’ve done your research into the best mattress and pillow for side sleepers, the next step is the execution. Scout around bed stores, have a feel to find what’s best for you (maybe even have a trial lie-down), and seek out high quality, durable materials as much as your budget allows. Then, once you’ve found your winning combination, you’re set for life: just repeat this shopping process when your new mattress and pillow start to look and feel weathered.

Just bought a new mattress or simply can’t part with your existing one? Don’t worry. There are amazing mattress toppers for side sleepers which you can add (as you might expect) on top of your mattress to deliver the right amount of support and cushioning, without needing to buy a whole new set. Memory foam mattress toppers are a great option for those who are looking to take the stress off their pressure points during the night-time, while soft mattress toppers suit those who feel their current mattress is just a bit too hard for getting any shut-eye.

A good way to relax in the evening is with some gentle stretches. Not only do they help to minimise any neck or shoulder pain when lying down, but stretching exercises will also help to incrementally increase the flexibility of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your back. Pair your stretches with a long, hot bath for the ultimate wind-down routine. Looking to learn more about de-stressing before bed? There are tons of tips in our how to do sofa yoga guide which you can apply to your bedtime routine.

Now you know the best way to sleep on your side, it’s time to start shopping for the bed and mattress that will provide the most comfortable night’s sleep. You can also head over to our inspiration page for more sleep advice, including how to create a relaxing bedroom and tips for overcoming insomnia.

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