Everyone has their own special way of sleeping. Some are night owls, others are early birds, some love big fluffy blankets while others sleep with sheets only. Different ways of sleeping can have different benefits. Especially when it comes to different sleeping positions. There are three main sleeping positions that people tend to enjoy, back, side, and stomach sleeping. While each sleeping position has its own benefits, they also all have their own unique drawbacks as well.
We are going the share with you the pros and cons to each sleep position, how you can sleep better in each position, as well as which sleep position reigns supreme. Stick around to find out.
Experiencing a lot of pain? The position you sleep in could make a big difference. Click the link to view the Best Sleeping Positions for Pain Relief
Sleeping on Your Stomach
Pros to Stomach Sleeping:
While stomach sleeping is the least commonly chosen sleep position, those who prefer to sleep on their stomachs are passionate about it. Stomach sleepers are avid that it is the only good way to sleep. However, we find little to praise about with this position.
You are less likely to snore in this position than sleeping on your back. However, it is still possible to snore when stomach sleeping. It is also a much better position to choose on a firm mattress than side sleeping.
Cons to Stomach Sleeping:
Unfortunately, there are many downfalls to sleeping on your stomach. Your hips need plenty of support or else you may experience a lot of lower back pain. While pillows tend to cause lots of issues for stomach sleepers. This is because they need an extremely low loft pillow in order to avoid craning their necks.
Speaking of neck pain, if you are a stomach sleeper you probably experience a lot of it. Since you cannot sleep with your head facing straight down (unless you’re on a massage table) then your head has to lay one side or the other so that you can breathe properly. This leads to a lot of strain on your neck and shoulders often leading to pain, knots, and throwing your spine out of alignment.
Sleep Tips for Stomach Sleepers:
To all our stomach sleepers out there, we suggest that you invest in a highly supportive mattress. If you still experience lower back pain, try placing a pillow under your hips for extra support.
Another tip we have is to get a pillow made for stomach sleepers specifically. Most pillows are made with back and side sleepers in mind and will not suite your needs. A very low loft is best for you.
Click here to see our review over the Belly Sleep Pillow.
Best Mattresses for Stomach Sleepers:
To ease the strains and pains of stomach sleeping, look for a firm and supportive mattress. This will help to keep your back from bowing from a mattress that is too soft. Thankfully there are plenty of mattresses out there that work great for stomach sleepers.
In fact, we have an entire post on great mattresses for stomach sleepers. Top Mattresses For Stomach Sleepers. Click the link to learn more about these mattresses to find your perfect fit.
Sleeping on Your Side
Pros to Side Sleeping:
Side sleeping is by far the most commonly chosen sleep position. It is no surprise considering it is so closely related to the fetal position, which is one of the most self-soothing positions of us humans.
Sleeping on your side can also help to relieve back pain, increase circulation, and cut down on snoring and sleep apnea. With the right mattress and pillow combination, on your side is a great position to sleep in.
Cons to Side Sleeping:
If a mattress is too firm, side sleeping can throw your back out of alignment and cause hip and shoulder pain. This can even lead to numbness in your arms and legs.
Another potential downside to side sleeping is that often you end up switching sides throughout the night in order to remain comfortable. This leads to more disruptions in sleep throughout the night. Finally, the last con we have for side sleeping is that when you sleep on your right side, you are more likely to experience acid reflux.
Sleep Tips for Side Sleepers:
Sleeping with a pillow between your knees can help relieve pressure on your knees and support proper hip and spine alignment. Side sleeper can get away with all things fluffy and soft.
By this we mean you may enjoy extra loft pillows to relieve shoulder pressure and support your neck. While soft to medium soft mattresses will give you nice pressure relief, which we will get more into next.
Looking for a pillow made especially for side sleepers? Click the link to see our full review over the Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow!
Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers:
All sleepers need some kind of support from their mattress or else you end up feeling like you’re sleeping in a hammock. However, side sleepers tend to before a soft to medium mattress firmness level.
This is because side sleepers need more pressure relief than stomach and back sleepers do. A softer top layer to a mattress allows for the hips and shoulders to sink in slightly, taking pressure off of those locations and allowing proper spinal alignment.
Looking for a great mattress for side sleeping? Check out our blog post all about it, Top Mattresses For Side Sleepers. There you can find some of our top mattress picks for side sleepers. All these beds have our stamp of approval when it comes to the right combination of support and pressure relief needed for sleeping on your side.
Sleeping on Your Back
Pros to Back Sleeping:
There are many benefits to sleeping on your back. The first is that with the proper pillow, it is simple and easy to keep your back in proper alignment. You can find comfort on most mattresses, although medium to firm will be best.
When you sleep on your back at night, you are less likely to toss and turn leading to less disruptions during sleep. Overall, those who sleep on their backs tend to have less interrupted sleep, less back pain, and less joint pain than those who sleep in any other position
Cons to Back Sleeping:
One of the most frequent complaints about back sleeping is that it can increase the likelihood and severity of snoring. Sleeping on your back causes you jaw to fall open, your soft palate to fall and block your airways, causing you to snore.
One of the only other downsides to sleeping on your back is that it can occasionally cause strain on your back. If you slightly bend/elevate your lower leg, this can help to relieve that strain and keep your back from overarching.
Back Sleepers Tips:
To avoid snoring, try sleeping at an incline. Whether you prefer to do so by sleeping on a wedge pillow or by investing in an adjustable base, either way this will help you to avoid snoring. While a lot of mattress comforts will work well for you, try to avoid especially soft beds. This may cause your back to curve and sink into the bed. This can cause back pain.
If you suffer from lower back pain, try putting a pillow or rolled towel underneath your knees. This helps to take pressure off of your back. A wedge pillow can also be useful for this same purpose.
Looking to elevate yourself as you sleep? Check out our post: The Benefits of Wedge Pillows
Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers:
Back sleepers have the most versatility in mattress style and preferences. Most back sleepers can sleep relatively comfortably in most mattress styles. However, we do suggest finding a mattress that gives you plenty of support for your back.
You are going to want enough give that the mattress contours to your body but supportive enough that you do not curve too much.
If you are looking for a mattress, then you should definitely check out our post Top Mattresses For Back Sleepers. There you will find our list of back sleeper approved mattresses.
Best Sleep Position Overall:
Drum roll please! The sleep position that we believe is the best for overall comfort is… On you back! Sleeping on your back tends to lead to less pressure on shoulders and hips, less sleep disruptions by not having to toss or turn, less neck pain and back pain.
Overall, the benefits of sleeping on your back tend to out way any of the downsides for most people. You are also able to find comfort on a larger variety of mattresses than stomach and side sleepers can.
The Best Sleeping Position – Final Thoughts:
Of course, everyone is unique and has their own personal preferences. Which means if you sleep comfortable on your side and you prefer it, then it is the best sleeping position for you! While most people have chronic neck and back pain when they sleep on their stomachs, we know that some people really enjoy it. To all our stomach sleepers out there, you keep being you. However, if we were to suggest someone try a new sleep position, it would definitely be sleeping on your back. It tends to have the least complications and the most benefits for your sleep and comfort.
Check out our top-rated mattress reviews! Click the link to see which mattresses made it to our favorites list this year.