It might sound trivial, but your sleeping position can greatly affect your overall well being. Depending on your age and body type, one sleeping position may work better than others.
Side sleeping is overwhelmingly the most common sleep position – approximately 74% of the population rests on their side! But should you sleep on your right side or your left side? We’re here to help you figure that out!
Should You Sleep on Your Right Side or Left Side?
Side sleeping isn’t just common; it’s also one of the healthiest sleeping positions. But which side should you sleep on? You might think it doesn’t really matter, but some medical professionals have found different benefits of sleeping on each side.
That said, these tips should not replace medical care. If you have a condition, it’s best to speak to your doctor for their advice.
Who Should Sleep on Their Left Side?
- Pregnant People
- People with Acid Reflux
- People Who snore
- Those with High Blood Pressure
- Folks with Digestive Issues
Who Should Sleep on Their Right Side?
- People with Heart Conditions
Benefits of Sleeping on Your Left Side
Sleeping on the left side can prove beneficial for many different types of people. Let’s take a closer look:
Most doctors recommend that pregnant people sleep on their left side because the heart pumps blood more efficiently in this sleeping position and it alleviates pressure on the liver. In fact, there are many things to consider when you’re awaiting the arrival of your newborn. Here’s how to get the best sleep during your pregnancy (and after).
People with Acid Reflux
If you suffer from acid reflux, you may know that it’s generally not a good idea to lie down right after eating a meal. Due to the shape of the stomach and the angle of its connection to the esophagus, it’s also not wise to rest flat on your back. For the best results, doctors recommend resting on your left side because this limits the amount of stomach acid exposed to the esophagus.
People Who Snore
When you rest on your back, your nasal passageways have a tendency to close up, which can cause you to snore. Sleeping on your left side can help naturally open the airways and make breathing easier. You may also find relief if you rest on your right side, but doctors believe sleeping on your left side to be more effective. It’s also the recommended sleeping position for people with sleep apnea.
Those with High Blood Pressure
Because blood vessels are located on the right side of the body, doctors believe sleeping on the left side will relieve pressure and help people with high blood pressure.
Folks with Digestive Issues
When you rest on your back, gas doesn’t leave your system quickly. If you often deal with bloating, constipation, and stomach aches, try sleeping on your left side. In this position, gravity helps waste move from the small intestine to the large intestine.
Benefits of Sleeping on Your Right Side
Because our bodies aren’t symmetrical, sleeping on the left side isn’t right for every single person. There’s one group that can benefit from rest on their right side.
People with Heart Conditions
The results from a 2003 study suggest sleeping on the right side can help people with heart conditions. In this sleeping position, sleepers may feel less pressure on their heart. The results also indicate that right side sleeping helps stabilize blood pressure and heart rate.
It’s important to note, however, that sleeping on the left side showed no signs of harming people with heart conditions. Speak with your doctor for personalized advice and information.
Which Side Should You Sleep On?
Need a recap? Check out our handy chart below.
|Left Side Sleeping||Right Side Sleeping|
|Digestive & Gut Health||✔️|
|High Blood Pressure||✔️|
How to Change Your Sleeping Position
Now that you know the benefits of side sleeping, you might want to change your current sleeping position. Creating new habits can be difficult, and it often takes a few weeks. If you need some help, check out these easy tips!
Place a Pillow Next to You
One of the simplest ways to switch up your sleeping position is to place a pillow next to you when you rest on your side. If you try to roll over on your back or stomach, the pillow will act as a barrier.
Attach a Tennis Ball to Your Shirt
If you’re a back sleeper, sew or tape a tennis ball to the back of your shirt. Stomach sleepers will want to attach the ball to the front of their shirt. Now, whenever you attempt to move back to your typical sleeping position, the tennis ball will create a bit of discomfort and encourage you to move to your side.
Switch Up Your Pillow
If you’re typically a back or stomach sleeper, chances are your pillow isn’t supportive enough. Side sleepers need firm pillows that can elevate the neck and keep the spine in a neutral position. Some, like the Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow, have a unique U-shaped design that comfortably cradles the neck.
Check out our list of the best pillows for side sleepers for more ideas!
Add a Mattress Topper
Back and stomach sleepers need more lumbar support than side sleepers. If your mattress feels too firm, you could develop shoulder and hip pain. Of course, you can always purchase one of the best mattresses for side sleepers, but if you don’t want to spring for a brand new bed you can also add a mattress topper.
Most mattress toppers soften beds and offer more pressure relief. Look for one made out of thick memory foam, such as the ViscoSoft topper, for the best results.
Still have questions about sleeping on your left and right side? Check out our FAQ section below.
What are the benefits of side sleeping?
Side sleeping has many benefits – it can alleviate acid reflux, soothe back pain, and help people who snore.
Which side is better to sleep on?
Both sides have valuable benefits, but depending on your specific issues, one side may work better than the other. Folks with digestive issues, obstructive sleep apnea, and high blood pressure may benefit from sleeping on the left side. Folks with heart conditions, however, may feel more relief when they rest on the right side.
Which side should I sleep on if I am pregnant?
Doctors recommend pregnant people sleep on the left side because it can alleviate pressure on the liver and allow the heart to pump blood more efficiently. Sleeping on the right side during pregnancy could cause more discomfort.