How to Train Yourself to Sleep on Your Side

Are you a stomach sleeper or a back sleeper? While sleeping on your back is healthy, sleeping on your stomach can cause problems and if you’re pregnant or suffering from certain conditions, sleeping on your back might not be the best choice for you. If this is the case, you might want to learn how to train yourself to sleep on your side.

Some of us just toss and turn in our sleep and would rather stay in a static position.

Others have piercings or tattoos that get in our way! New navel piercing? Don’t sleep on it! New back tattoo? Trust us, you’ll want to stay on your side.

But how can you train yourself to sleep differently? Many of us have a favorite sleeping position and habits are hard to break.

Don’t worry, we want to help.

Keep reading to learn a few tips that can help you readjust your sleeping position.

Try Using an Airplane or Travel Pillow

This is a common trick used by people who have fresh ear piercings that they don’t want to bother by pressing them into the pillow or getting them caught up in sheets. It can work for this process as well!

Take a travel pillow (a donut pillow will work as well) and sleep with your ear and the side of your face in the hole.

This might take some getting used to, but it will keep you from turning over in your sleep and it might even wake you up completely if your body tries to roll you over onto your stomach.

Find the Right Mattress

Maybe you avoid sleeping on your side because your mattress makes it difficult. Some mattresses are perfectly comfortable if you’re on your back or belly, but apply too much pressure for your side. There are different pressure points on your side than elsewhere, and they may not be supported by the average mattress.

Very springy mattresses may dig into shoulders and hips, causing you to roll onto your back or stomach. You might need something soft and foamy that your body can sink into so that you’re protected and comfortable.

If you’re in the market for a new mattress and you’re trying to be a full-time side sleeper, learn more about side-friendly mattresses.

Put Something Uncomfortable In Your Sleep Shirt

This might sound terrible, but hear us out.

Some people suggest using baseballs or tennis balls for this. If you’re a heavy sleeper, this might be the option for you but we suggest something more comfortable.

The idea is that you’re going to put one of the uncomfortable objects in the side of your shirt that you most often sleep on. If you sleep on your stomach, put it there. If you sleep on your back, put it behind you.

In the event that you don’t wake up from the discomfort, it might be better to use something softer so you don’t hurt your spine. We suggest small but dense pillows (like the ones that come with couches or bedspread sets) or stuffed animals.

These things should still wake you up but without the risk of injury or pain.

Create a Fort Around Yourself

If you don’t want to roll onto your stomach or back, you might need to protect yourself on all sides.

This can look like several things.

If you have a partner that you share a bed with, encourage them to take up space close on one side. Sleep close to the edge of the bed so that you’ll have nowhere to go but the floor should you try to roll over.

If you don’t, body pillows are a good alternative. You can wrap yourself on all sides with body pillows so you create a small pillow fort. You’ll be trapped and unable to casually flop over onto another part of your body.

Use a Weighted Blanket

Somehow the weighted blanket has taken off as a popular item. They’re great at providing comfort to people with anxiety and they can put you right to sleep.

If you get one that’s heavy enough, they might even be good for keeping you in place when you pick a sleep position. Consider tucking yourself in underneath the blanket for extra protection.

You’ll be cozy and warm and kept in one place all night long.

Sleep on a Sofa or Futon

When you have a bed to spread out on, it makes sense that you wouldn’t stay in place all night! Why would you?

Instead, try to sleep on the couch or a futon that’s in its “up” position.

These have to be narrow pieces of furniture. A big comfy couch won’t be the right choice here. Lay on your side and commit to sleeping on the couch until side-sleeping is what comes naturally.

You may end up falling off of the side once or twice, but that’s all part of the process.

Try Snuggling Something

You may feel silly doing this, but it could be just what you need to learn how to sleep on your side.

Take a soft pillow or stuffed toy and snuggle it with one arm (the “top” arm”. The other arm should be underneath the pillow to support you.

Your body might not be the snuggly type, but if it is, you’ll wake up in the same position in the morning.

How to Train Yourself to Sleep On Your Side: It Takes Work!

If you’re not a natural side-sleeper, learning how to train yourself to sleep on your side might seem impossible.

Don’t fret though, it is doable. Like all things, it takes practice.

If you’re committed, you can make it happen.

For more posts about health and more, check out the other articles on our site.