Man sleeping on his side

The best position to sleep in for an amazing night’s rest! 

You don’t think about the position you’re sleeping in when you’re a child, but the older you get, the more it affects your sleep quality. Adjusting your sleep position can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and waking up feeling tired with sore joints and aching muscles. 

In this post, we look at how to find the best position to sleep in for an amazing night’s rest.   

Sleeping on your side – what to consider

More than 60% of people sleep on their sides, according to the Sleep Foundation. This makes it the most popular sleeping position. There are plenty of benefits to sleeping on your side, and it suits most people. 

Side-sleeping is recommended for 

  • pregnant women 
  • people who snore or have sleep apnoea
  • people with acid reflux 
  • older people 
  • people with lower back pain 

Pregnant women should sleep on their side to reduce some of the pressure that comes with a growing bump and help maintain a healthy blood flow. 

If you suffer from pain in your lower back then side-sleeping is also recommended. Sleeping in this position keeps your spine aligned to relieve tension in your lower back and help you get a better night’s sleep.

The experts at the Sleep Foundation suggest sleeping with a small pillow between your knees to even out the hips and a pillow on either side of your body to keep you in position.  

Some people find that when they sleep on their side, they wake up with shoulder pain or a stiff and aching jaw. If this happens regularly, look at the loft, or thickness, of your pillow to check that it’s providing enough support for your head and neck. It should fill the gap between your ear and the edge of your shoulder where it meets the mattress.

You can read more on this in our guide to the best pillows for neck pain.

Is it better to sleep on your left or right side? 

Most sleep experts would agree that it’s better to sleep on your left side. Not only does it take the pressure off your internal organs but it’s better for your digestion.

A small study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology in 2000 found that sleeping on your left side is less likely to give you acid reflux and heartburn than sleeping on your right.

People with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and pregnant women are most likely to benefit from sleeping on their left side. 

Woman sleeping with eye mask

The benefits of sleeping on your back 

Sleeping on your back is good for people who suffer from sore, aching joints or a bad back and neck.

When you lay on your back, you’re evenly distributing your weight across your body. This takes the pressure off your back and joints. It also helps to keep your head, neck, and spine aligned for a better sleeping posture, which relieves tension. 

If you wake up with lower back pain after sleeping on your back, it’s probably because there is a gap between your lower lumbar and the mattress.

Top tip: try using a thin pillow to close this gap so your lower back has the support it needs.  

Sleeping on your back with your upper body slightly raised is also good for people who suffer from nasal congestion, either because they’ve got a cold or because they have allergies or a sinus problem. 

There are a lot of benefits to sleeping on your back, but it’s not suitable for everyone. People who shouldn’t sleep on their back include: 

  • people with obstructive sleep apnoea 
  • people with lower back problems 
  • heavier adults or older people 
  • pregnant women 

For pregnant women, older people, and those who are heavier, this sleeping position can make it harder for blood to circulate. 

Is it ok to sleep on your stomach? 

Sleeping on your stomach is the least common of all sleep positions, but for some people, it’s the most comfortable. If you’re a stomach sleeper and it’s not causing you any problems, then there’s no reason for you to stop now. 

However, if you’re pregnant or you suffer from back and neck pain you should avoid sleeping on your front. This kind of sleep position forces the body into an unnatural position that puts extra pressure on the whole spine.

To alleviate some of that pressure, you could try sleeping without a pillow or using just a thin pillow under your head and one under your hips to even out your spine. 

Woman sleeping on her front

Finding your most comfortable position for sleep

There is no right or wrong way to sleep; the correct sleeping position is whatever is most comfortable for you. If you’re waking up feeling tired with aching muscles and joints, then it might be time to try something new.

Start by making some minor modifications to your sleeping position, and keep a diary of how well you sleep each night. You could write it down or use a mobile app to help you track your sleep quality and length.  

If you have a particular issue you need help with, try these sleep positions: 

Lower back pain  Side, back  Try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees or on your back with a thin pillow for lumber support.  
Neck pain  Side, back Sleep on your side or back, but adjust the thickness (loft) of your pillow to keep your head, neck, and spine aligned. 
Acid reflux  Side  Avoid sleeping on your back and stick to your side. You may find your symptoms are reduced when you sleep on your left side. 
Nasal congestion  Back  Try sleeping on your back with pillows to prop you up slightly. 
Wrinkles   Back  If you’re worried about wrinkles, sleep on your back to stop your skin from making contact with the pillow. 

Don’t underestimate how much your mattress, pillow, and bed can affect your sleep. It pays to make sure you have the right mattress and a quality bed frame to provide the right support. 

At Furl, we understand the importance of a good night’s sleep, so when you buy a storage bed – or even a sofa bed – from us, you’ll have the option to add on a premium mattress.