A Guide on How to Properly Sleep on Your Side

Sleeping on your side offers numerous benefits, from improved brain health to a reduced risk of heartburn and snoring. Yet, curling up in this common sleeping position can also be uncomfortable, particularly if you have poor posture throughout the night. 

While learning how to sleep on your back is one solution for getting around the discomfort of side sleeping, most people don’t need to change their sleeping position to get the relief and rest they need. Indeed, the key to pain-free sleep could be as simple as tucking a wedge pillow under your knees or using a weighted blanket to reinforce your good habits.

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If you’re dreaming of a pain-free slumber, read on for a guide on how to properly sleep on your side. With a few small adjustments to your sleep posture, you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed in no time!

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Why Do I Have Pain and Soreness After Sleeping on My Side?

Side sleepers are especially prone to waking up with unnecessary aches and pains due to the position of their body. When you put all of your body weight on one side, it can cause shoulder pain or worsen existing shoulder injuries, such as bursitis and rotator cuff tears. Sleeping on your side can also put your neck and hips at an awkward angle, leading to a stiff neck and sore joints upon waking up.

Below, we’ll discuss how to properly sleep on your side so you can keep your spine aligned all night long and rest easier.

Our Best Sleep Posture Tips for a Pain-Free Slumber

Waking up to the sound of your alarm is hard enough without your body feeling achy and sore. If you want to achieve pain-free sleep, try these effective strategies for side sleepers.

  1. Rethink Your Head Pillow – Neck pain is a common gripe among side sleepers. Often, the culprit is an ill-fitting pillow that tilts the neck at an awkward angle. If your pillow is too high, it will keep your neck tilted at an upward angle. Conversely, a pillow that is too low or fluffy (looking at you, down pillows) will keep your neck bent at a downward angle. For optimal spinal alignment, pick a pillow that keeps your head and neck parallel to the mattress.
  2. Give Your Old, Sagging Mattress the Boot Does your mattress sag in the middle? Time to zip down to your local mattress store and get a new one ASAP. If your bed's firmness level is too soft, your hips may dip downward, knocking your spine out of alignment and leading to hip and back pain. Consider upgrading to a medium-firm mattress, which research suggests is optimal for spinal alignment, sleep comfort and sleep quality.
  3. Sleep with a Pillow Between Your Knees – If you want to say “goodnight” to knee and hip pain, put a pillow between your knees. In addition to keeping your knees from knocking together at night, this will help prevent your hips from twisting your torso, thus preventing awkward spine alignment. 
  4. Reduce Shoulder Pain with a Body Pillow – If you frequently wake up with shoulder pain, a body pillow can be a great addition to your bedroom setup. Thanks to its unique shape and bendability, body pillows can conform to your body and provide support exactly where you need it.
  5. Use a Weighted Blanket Knowing how to sleep properly on your side is one thing, but putting it into practice is another. One way to reinforce your good habits is to sleep with a high-quality weighted blanket. These heavy blankets apply gentle pressure that relaxes the body and promotes a better night’s sleep. Additionally, some research suggests they can help reduce the perception of pain, increasing your likelihood of waking up pain-free. (If you sleep hot, be sure to check out our cooling weighted blanket!)

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Elevate Your Sleep with Gravity Blankets 

Now that you know how to properly sleep on your side, you can take the next step to elevate your slumber. Our soothing weighted products utilize the power of deep touch pressure to relax the body, making it easy to achieve peaceful shut-eye at the end of a long day. Curl up with one of our best-selling weighted blankets or block out pesky light with a high-quality weighted eye mask. No matter what your sleep preferences are, Gravity Blankets is here to help you sleep tight!