Not much feels as good as getting into bed at night and finding your comfy position to drift off. And if you’re a side sleeper, you’re not alone. Certified sleep science coach BillFish says lying on your side is one of the most common sleep positions, but what does it do to the body? It turns out, it can be a good way to keep your spine aligned, if you’re doing it right.
Fish points out that side sleepers need a pillow that doesn’t make them crane their neck. So if you curl up on your side, make sure you have a pillow big enough to support your head so you don’t pull any muscles in your neck getting cozy. And physical therapistDr. Jasmine Marcus warns that “people with chronic shoulder, hip, neck, or back pain may find that their symptoms are aggravated when sleeping on their side, especially women with hips wider than their shoulders.
Aside from any aches side sleepers may wake up with, the position does have another drawback - it might not be great for your skin. Fish points out that when we sleep on our backs, the skin stays in place naturally, but when you’re snoozing on your side, half your face is pressed into a pillow for eight hours a night, which can cause sagging and stretching. Thankfully, there’s a quick fix: satin pillowcases, which don’t form those lines in your face.
As far as the best position to sleep in, Dr. Marcus says for most people it’s on the back. That keeps your spine aligned in the most consistent way. If you want to try to make the transition from side sleeper to back sleeper, Fish advises using an extra pillow between your knees to make it harder to roll over in your sleep.