The Best Guide for Sleeping On Your Side

Sleep Like America – On Your Side

Sleeping on your side is widely recognized as the most healthy and comfortable sleep position. It eases acid reflux, prevents snoring, relieves sleep apnea, and creates a sense of comfort that ensures you sleep soundly all night. It’s no wonder that 74% of Americans fall into bed and sleep on their side every night. This cozy position reminds us of being in the womb. Therefore, your bedroom ought to be a tranquil space for you to rest in. Limit the use of electronic devices in your bed and no screen time for one hour before you go to sleep. The flickering screen light can disrupt your melatonin levels, tricking your brain into believing it’s daytime! Let’s make the most of this glorious sleep position with this complete guide to sleeping on your side.

How To Sleep On Your Side

Sleeping positions are involuntary and natural movements. It’s in these genuine moments that we reveal so much about ourselves. Those who sleep all curled up in the fetal position are soft-hearted and shy but open up to others when comfortable. Sleeping on your side with your arms stretched out means you’re a complex character but open to people and experiences. A social butterfly tends to sleep on their side with arms stiff by their sides. It’s natural to be a combi-sleeper too, maybe you start sleeping on your stomach and end up on your side. Take note of your sleep position when you wake up in the morning as this could be your default. Whatever position is natural to you, it’s vital that you have a supportive mattress and pillow as well as comfortable blankets that will keep you cozy all night.

How To Recognize A Side Sleeper

You may be asking yourself ‘am I a side sleeper?’ Perhaps you start sleeping on your back and always wake up on your side. Maybe you start sleeping on your side and wake up on your back. These nocturnal gymnastics are not especially good for you as they can interrupt your sleep cycle if you’re sleeping on an inadequate mattress. If you find yourself resting on your right or left side, arms outstretched or straight by your sides, legs curled up by your chest or straight as an arrow. You’re a side sleeper, my friend. Now that you’ve recognized yourself as one of the lucky 74% of Americans. You can finally start enjoying all the benefits of this beautiful and restful sleeping position.

Personality Of Side Sleepers

Your sleep mannerisms are a chapter in the story of you and reveal so much about your personality. Side sleepers are known to be social creatures who are carefree and open-minded. You can be a little sensitive but it’s this sensitivity that lends itself to your boundless creativity. A little headstrong at times but only when you make a decision that you must stick to. Side sleepers have a ton of street smarts and can’t be fooled easily. Maybe it’s all the glorious sleep you get in this position that makes you so awesome!

As a leading voice in the world of sleep, has been involved in sleep science and health for almost three decades - since the 1990s. With a dedicated panel of researches, medical professionals, and technicals editors, they work tirelessly to bring unbiased research to the public domain so consumers all over the USA can make educated decisions on their sleep.

Therefore, it's an honor that our 10" Original Mattress has been awarded a Top Pick in the category of Best Mattress for Side Sleepers by We're incredibly proud to receive such an honorable award that confirms Nolah's superior comfort for people sleeping on their side.

The three most popular side sleeper positions


If you sleep on your side, all curled up like a baby with your knees close to your chest then you find comfort in the fetal position.

Fetal Position denotes you’re soft-hearted but may hide it behind a strong demeanor. It takes time for you to warm to others but when you do you’re trusting and open. This position is perfect for spine alignment and those who suffer back pain could find great relief in the fetal sleep position.

However, make sure you have a quality pillow to support your neck and align your spine. Also, put a pillow between your knees for added comfort.


If you sleep on your side with your arms stiff by your sides then you’re a sleeping log. This position is great for back and neck alignment but as with the fetal position, be sure to have a quality pillow or you may suffer a stiff neck.

Sleeping logs are sociable, chilled out, and take everything in their stride. Some say you’re so laid back you’re practically laying down! Chatting with strangers is one of your favorite things and you welcome everyone who approaches you.

The Yearner

Sleeping on your side with your arms outstretched is similar to the log sleeping position but has a much different meaning. You’re more wary of strangers than the Log and you think things through thoroughly before making your final decision.

You have an almost methodical approach to life and have plenty of street smarts. Side sleeping is the most highly recommended of all because it helps you to sleep more soundly due to the comfy nature of the position.

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Health Benefits Of Side Sleeping

If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux, or any other digestive disorder. Sleeping on your left side could bring relief because your stomach acids are away from your esophagus as you sleep. In this position, you’ll also find that your lymphatic drainage improves so toxins are more easily removed from your body. Sleep apnea and snoring can be alleviated, as well as aches, pains, and stiff joints.

Sleeping on your side promotes relaxation, improves cellular repair, controls circulation, boosts digestion, and aids a restful sleep all night.

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Using A Pillow To Sleep On Your Side

For extreme comfort when side sleeping, put a pillow between your knees. This nifty trick is not just for pregnant women, all side sleepers can benefit because it aligns your hips. Place a quality pillow under your head to keep your spine aligned. You could also put a pillow under your waist for extra support. You’ll be in pillow fort heaven!

How to choose a pillow for side sleeping

Ever had a memory foam pillow? If so, you’ll be aware of how hard they can be. Sure, they seem comfortable for a week or two but soon turn into rocks. Especially in colder climates, memory foam mattresses and pillows can quickly turn to concrete. Down pillows and synthetic pillows can be equally disastrous for your sleep health.

Nolah AirFoam™ and AirFiber™ pillows are here to the rescue. These temperature neutral pillows are super soft and supportive. The unique design prevents heat buildup and remains dry and cool for pure comfort all night.

How to choose a mattress for side sleeping

Nolah AirFoam™ mattresses are Certipur-US® certified and scientifically proven to provide 4 times less peak pressure on hips, shoulders, and back. As a side sleeper, Nolah AirFoam™ is proven to be more beneficial to your sleep health than memory foam mattresses. Made without heat-trapping viscoelastic chemicals, the Nolah AirFoam™ Original 10” and Signature 12” give you the best sleep you’ve ever had. Your entire body is supported by billions of tiny air bubbles.

One of the many reasons why our mattresses are so special is that they are made especially for side sleepers. Particular care is given to your most sensitive areas; hips and shoulders to provide you with a cool and comfortable sleep, the likes of which you’ve never had in your life.

Side Sleeping Can Help Reduce Snoring

40% of American adults snore and too often we make a joke of this debilitating condition. The snorer may have an underlying health concern that needs to be addressed. Their partner most likely suffers from insomnia because of being kept awake all night. Snoring is not an issue to be laughed at or taken lightly, it can hurt relationships, be harmful to mental health, and be an all-round unpleasant problem to deal with.

Side sleeping is seen as the best position to combat snoring and the best sleep position for overall health. The airways are kept clear and more restful sleep can be had in this position. Avoid sleeping on your back if you snore as this position aggravates the problem further.

Tips for side sleepers to sleep well

  • Place a pillow under your head with no gap between your neck and the mattress
  • Head centered on the pillow
  • Place a pillow between your knees for added bliss
  • Upgrade your mattress to Nolah AirFoam™
  • No electronic devices before bed

Frequently asked questions

What mattress is best for side sleepers?

Nolah AirFoam™ is science-backed and technology-led to provide the best support and comfort to side sleepers. We’ve put years of research and development into our sleep products to ensure your sleep health. Available in Original 10", Signature 12", and hybrid Evolution 15" mattresses, we’ve got the perfect mattress for you to bring the Zzz.

What is most important for side sleepers when choosing a mattress?

Side sleepers are a sensitive bunch, especially in the hips and shoulders. That's why a mattress that provides optimum pressure relief is what a side sleeper needs. Nolah AirFoam™ is proven to provide 4 times greater pressure relief than memory foam.

Why side sleepers should avoid a memory foam mattress?

A memory foam mattress is made of outdated material. Sleeping on memory foam is like stepping back in time to the 70s’. A modern body requires modern comfort. Memory foam mattresses feel like quicksand as you slide into its hot and sticky crevices. Memory foam provides no pressure relief and is unable to support your sleep health in the same way Nolah AirFoam™ can.

What firmness is best for side sleepers?

When a side sleeper is shopping for a new mattress, take care in choosing the right level of firmness. Soft to medium is ideal, just like our Original 10" and Signature 12" mattresses provide. Our hybrid Nolah Evolution 15" mattress also features our patented AirFoam™ and comes in plush, luxury firm, and firm.

Can a firm mattress be used for side sleeping?

A firm mattress is not ideal for side sleepers because too much pressure is placed on the hips and shoulders. Nolah AirFoam is designed especially for side sleepers. Therefore, our signature 12 (firm side) is the perfect choice for a side sleeper who craves a more firm mattress.

Is a soft mattress good for back pain?

If the mattress is too soft your body will sink into it and you’ll be sleeping in a hot uncomfortable hole. Memory foam mattresses are too soft for the sleep needs of someone who suffers from back pain. If you have a mattress that is soft yet supportive, like AirFoam™, then you’ll enjoy all the benefits of a soft and cozy sleep experience with the supportive relieve your aching body craves.

What pillow is recommended for side sleepers?

Side sleepers must sleep on a taller than regular pillow that provides good support. Ensure there is no gap between your neck and the mattress so you don’t wake up with a kink in your neck. You can also place a pillow under your neck and shoulders too to prop yourself up and prevent snoring.

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