Finding your best sleeping position is one of the keys to unlocking a healthy night’s sleep. Some people prefer sleeping on their back, while a small percentage of people like to sleep on their stomach. But potentially the best sleep position to keep your spine, head and neck in the correct position for optimal comfort is side sleeping.
Side sleeping is one of the most popular resting positions there is. Studies show that well over 50 percent of people prefer to sleep on their side compared to any other position. But to make the most of that position, finding the best pillow for side sleepers is a necessity to offer you all the support and comfort you need.
The Pros and Cons of Side Sleeping
When you sleep on your side you have two options -- sleeping on your right side or the left. Often side sleepers flip between sides throughout the night, especially if they are having hip, neck, or shoulder pain.
But not all side sleepers stay in an identical position -- there are some variations of side sleeping. Here are some of the possible variants of the position:
Fetal position: This position resembles a baby curled up in its mother’s womb. When you sleep like this, your knees are pulled up to your chest. This position is one of the most popular side sleeping positions. On the plus side, the fetal position can keep your spine in a great position. But on the negative side, if you curl up too much, blood flow can be restricted.
The log: For this position, you’ll be sleeping on your side, with your legs straight and your arms at your side. You look like you would while you’re standing up, but you’re reclined instead.
The sleeping yearner: This type of side sleeper is on their side with their hands up in front of them outstretched by their head on the pillow. Yearners will snore less, which is a major pro, but it can worsen any arthritis symptoms you might have in your hands.
The runner or sprinter: In this position, the sleeper is curled up, with one leg tucked up closer to the body with the other one stretched out. With your legs like this, you’ll be keeping your spine in place, but you might be causing hip pain.
The thinker: The legs are tucked up next to the body in this position, but the hands are placed under the sleeper’s chin. This can be a wonderful sleep position as long as you have a supportive side sleeper pillow.
- The spoon: This is a popular position when you sleep with a partner. The person on one side holds the other person, with their front pressed up against their partner’s back. One great thing about the spoon is that it can cut down on stress and anxiety. The bad thing is that you’re more likely to be woken frequently by your partner when they move around.
Side sleeping is one of the best sleeping styles you can have, especially when you alternate positions throughout the night. It can ease the symptoms of sleep apnoea that seem to worsen when you sleep on your back. And you won’t have the lower back, neck and shoulder pain that stomach sleepers often experience.
Although it can be better for getting a proper night’s sleep than the other positions, it requires the best pillow for side sleepers UK citizens can get. Without the right neck support and firmness level, you won’t get the full benefits from this type of sleeping and might cause yourself unnecessary pain.
Why a Side Sleeper Pillow Matters
If you’ve never given much thought to your pillow, now is the time to start. Every aspect of a pillow can influence how well you sleep.
You’ll need to think about what material your pillow should be made of and how firm you want it to be. You should also consider the loft of your pillow, whether you need anti-allergy features, and if you want a cooling pillow because you’re a hot sleeper.
What Kind of Pillow Is Best for a Side Sleeper?
No one pillow will magically work for every side sleeper. What works for your best friend may leave you tossing and turning all night.
To help you figure out which one will be right for you, you’ll need to know what kinds of pillows there are. Here are some common pillow types that might be right for side sleepers.
Latex pillows: If you go for this type, you’ll want to opt for an organic latex pillow rather than a synthetic type because they are made of natural fibres, are moisture-wicking, and don’t have that off-putting chemical smell. As a bonus, latex is antibacterial and antimicrobial, and it’s resistant to common allergens like dust mites and mildew.
Memory foam pillow: This is one side sleeper pillow UK residents can really stand behind. It’s universally popular, and it’s good for side sleepers because it adapts to the shape of your body’s alignment and adjusts to it.
A medium-firm pillow: A soft pillow for side sleepers should be avoided because it won’t support your head and neck enough. Instead, a medium-firm supportive pillow is generally the best bet.
A thicker pillow: Experts often say a thicker pillow with a higher loft is ideal for side sleepers, so you may benefit from choosing one. But keep in mind, go off of what feels good to you. You may be one of the subsets of people who feels better with a thinner pillow, and that’s fine too.
A Hungarian goose pillow: If you’re the type of side sleeper who likes to cuddle their pillow as they nod off, down and feather pillows might be right for you. It will give you the snuggle factor that might be missing from other pillows, such as memory foam.
Wool pillows: A wool pillow designed for side sleepers might offer just the right amount of relief for you. Wool is a great choice for pillows because it offers breathability, anti-allergy properties, and stays warm in the winter.
- Orthopaedic pillows: This type is created specifically to provide head and neck support. They are often unusually shaped compared to the uniform rectangular pillows you normally see.
Tips for Buying a Side Sleeper Pillow
Before you buy a pillow, you should first consider what kind of position you sleep in on your side. Are you a fetal position type? Or do you prefer to sleep in another way, on your side?
Once you figure that out, you can start thinking about your needs. That might even include ordering a second pillow to place between your knees for extra comfort. Here are some tips to ensure you get the most of your pillow.
Figure out the loft you need: For side sleepers, the loft is everything. If your pillow is too flat or too high, it can cause major amounts of pain. Experiment with different lofts and figure out what works best for you.
Look at your allergies: Do you need a pillow that will help fight your allergies? By choosing a pillow that is naturally resistant to dust mites and other allergens, you may be breathing easier at night. If your pillow isn’t machine washable, make sure you have a soft pillow case you can toss in the wash.
Look at firmness: Firmer pillows are generally a good idea for side sleepers. That doesn’t mean your pillow has to be rock hard, but an overly soft pillow may not give you the support you need.
Choose your fill: Some people prefer memory foam, while others like feathers or another fill like microfiber. Luckily, you’ll have many different fills to choose from while pillow shopping.
Don’t sweat the shape: Some pillows, especially orthopaedic pillows, might not come in the shapes you’re used to. That’s okay -- try to keep an open mind. It doesn’t matter what your pillow looks like if you wake up every morning without pain.
Consider your mattress type: If you have a softer mattress, you may want a thinner pillow. You’ll already be sinking in, so there will less of a gap between the mattress and your head. With a firmer mattress, you’ll likely need a pillow with a bit more loft.
- Consider temperature: If you’re a hot sleeper, you’ll want a pillow that’s breathable or has some sort of cooling technology. Otherwise, you might have a lot of sweaty nights ahead of you.
Take Your Sleep to New Heights with Mela
Side sleepers have so many options when it comes to pillows. Here’s one more you can add to your list of potential pillows -- Mela’s Dual pillow.
It has just the right amount of loft, no matter what you like. That’s because you can personalize how much you want by choosing mid loft or low loft.
The Dual pillow gives you the sink-in softness that you crave for that cuddly feeling, while also having enough support for your head, neck, and shoulders. We accomplish that by offering an ingenious pillow-within-a-pillow design.
The design has been approved by an osteopath -- and it works for every sleep position, including the side. Plus, the pillow is machine washable, which is great news for allergy sufferers. It also comes with a 100 per cent cotton cover, keeping the pillow breathable and cool feeling even in the summer.
Pick a Side
Side sleepers should have no trouble finding a pillow that keeps them pain-free night after night. By making their sleep and comfort a priority, they’ll have a great start for living a healthy and well-rested lifestyle.