Let’s make one thing clear right away:
Hugging a pillow on the left side is more beneficial for your health than sleeping in any other position, experts say.
It helps relieve snoring, reduces the risks of heart attack, and prevents heartburn and reflux.
These are only the most common advantages. So, it’s no wonder why more and more people want to train themselves to sleep on the left side.
If you’re one of them, here are some tips that will ensure a fast and smooth transition to left side sleeping, whatever your current pose is.
#1 Revise Your Mattress (Or Get a Mattress Topper)
If you haven’t replaced your mattress in years, it might just be not suitable for side sleeping anymore.
Side sleepers typically need more contouring for their hips and shoulders so that they could keep their spine correctly aligned. However, old mattresses tend to sag over time, which makes them incapable of supporting the spine properly.
Also, if you used to sleep on your back or stomach before, you probably have a firmer bed, which isn’t the best choice for side sleeping either.
So, ideally, you need to head to a mattress store and get yourself a new bed. Not all people can do this right away, though. If that’s the case, you can refer to a temporary solution — a mattress topper.
Toppers are an affordable way to alter the overall feel of your mattress and make it more suitable for your new sleeping style. They can give you just the right amount of cushioning and proper support for your spine.
As a starting point, you can choose one of these mattress toppers if you sleep on the side and see how it turns out.
#2 Upgrade Your Pillow (And Don’t Limit Yourself by Having Only One)
Along with upgrading the mattress, you also need to choose a more suitable pillow. Studies show that getting the right pillow can help you maintain the natural cervical curve and relax strained muscles. This, in turn, can make your sleeping on the side more comfortable, especially if you’re just starting to implement this habit.
So, what makes the right pillow for a side sleeper?
- It’s thick and fluffy. Side sleepers typically need the highest pillow to make sure their neck is parallel to the mattress. Tight and moldable pillows made from solid memory foam or shredded foam work best. Or, you can choose a pillow with an adjustable loft and change it to your liking.
- It sleeps cool. Side sleepers tend to sink deeper into their pillows, which means they are more prone to getting hot during sleep. So, opt for natural materials, such as buckwheat hulls or down, or choose pillows with gel-infused materials.
- It’s durable. The ability to maintain shape and offer support for years is crucial for every pillow. Choose high-quality and certified materials, as they have a longer lifespan and will withstand active exploitation better.
Also, don’t limit yourself to just one pillow. Additional pillows between your knees or under your hands, if you like to stretch them out, will remove the strain from your muscles and support the spine alignment. This, in turn, will make your side sleeping more comfortable and therapeutic.
#3 Try Sleeping on the Sofa (Or Facing the Wall)
If you used to be an avid back or stomach sleeper, it might be a real challenge for you to change your sleep habits even with the right mattress and pillow.
Fortunately, you can try these recommendations to help yourself transit to side sleeping:
- For back sleepers: try sleeping on the sofa. A narrow sofa just won’t give you enough space to turn around. To make this temporary sleeping spot a bit more comfortable, you can use a mattress topper and trim it to fit your sofa’s width.
- For stomach sleepers: sleep facing the wall. Lie on your left side facing the wall. Perhaps you will need to move your bed to another place in the room so that when you try to turn on your stomach, you will face the wall and keep sleeping on the side.
Note that while you’re transitioning to side sleeping, the quality of your slumber may not be that great. So, it’s better to take a vacation or do this on weekends so that the sleep quality wouldn’t affect your productivity.
#4 Be Consistent (And Keep Going at Your Own Pace)
Finally, don’t fall into despair if you can’t switch to side sleeping right away.
Approaching your goal by small but consistent steps may work for you better.
It may be helpful to work on your bedtime routine and develop relaxing rituals and techniques that will allow you to fall asleep in any position and any place.
Consistency is key here. So, keep putting effort into changing your sleeping style, and one day you will form a good habit that will keep you healthier and prolong your life.