There’s a sure-fire way to stay on your side during sleep: no sewn-in tennis balls, bumper wraps or alarms that awaken you every time you roll over.
Like the cereal manufacturers have brilliantly marketed processed flakes in a box to be a health food, the mattress industry has cleverly convinced consumers that the only “proper” way to sleep is on a mattress.
Nowhere in the annals of medical literature is this claim supported.
Learn to Stay on Your Side During Sleep
Every Single Minute of the Night
It’s simple: Sleep on a sofa. The sofa manufacturers want you to think that a sofa’s only function is to sit upright on it.
And don’t forget that the mattress makers want you to think that sleeping on a sofa is preposterous.
But go ahead, try it: Sleep with your back facing against a sofa. And yes, the sofa needs to be wide. If you are not a very big person width-wise, you will find this to be quite comfortable, as long as a few features are in place:
• The sofa is very comfortable for any sitting position. This is a high indicator that it will be comfortable sleeping sideways on it.
• You’re already comfortable sleeping on your side on a mattress, and the only problem you have is that of rolling over onto your back while asleep.
• The cushions are wide enough so that you don’t feel as though your arms are going to fall off.
Sleeping sideways on a sofa will probably NOT train you to habituate to sideways sleeping if this position has pre-existing discomfort for you.
So I can’t emphasize it enough: Sofa sleeping will work only for those who already enjoy sleeping on their side or who have, amazingly, figured out a way to make it comfortable throughout the night.
Devices Don’t Work Very Well
Using tennis balls sewn into a pocket in the back of your pajama top, or wearing a sack containing tennis balls, has the potential to awaken you every time you roll over.
For those with sleep apnea, this is the last thing you want: sleep interruption. This is also why an alarm system won’t work, either, as it will fragment your sleep by awakening you.
A bumper wrap, which has soft inflatable bumpers that prevent rolling over, may work without awakening you.
However, there’s the chance that you will sooner or later be awakened by the feeling of lying on top of the bumpers.
Finally, propping up a fort of pillows on a mattress may appear to be the solution to rolling onto your back, but people with sleep apnea have been known to, subconsciously, push the pillows aside and end up on their back.
Sleeping on a very comfy sofa will not awaken you if you are inherently comfortable sleeping sideways.
The only caveat is that if you want to roll over to your other side, you’ll need to sit up, grab your pillow(s) and reposition.
If you find that you must do this frequently throughout the night, then you are not inherently comfortable sleeping on one side.
The trick is to be able to sleep on the same side throughout the night, and at the most, change direction only once.
What’s so bad about rolling over anyways?
Perhaps the No. 1 reason people are trying to maintain a side position for the duration of the night is to help manage sleep apnea.
For some people, this is their therapy, as they’ve been diagnosed with positional sleep apnea and do not wear a CPAP device.
It’s crucial that they remain on their side throughout the entire night. Ideally they will not awaken to shift directions.
Someone without sleep apnea, however, can afford to awaken a few times to shift directions because they don’t suffer any deep-sleep interruptions from disordered breathing.
Choosing the Best Sofa
Don’t nickel-and-dime your purchase. In general the more comfortable sofas will be the pricier ones. Test them out in the store.
Don’t worry what other customers think seeing you just lying there on your side.
The right pillows are important too. There are all sorts of pillows on the market, ranging from decorative to therapeutic or “medical.”
Find which ones work best for you with sofa sleeping. This may require a lot of trial and error.
But in the end, you’ll find that sleeping on a sofa is the best way to keep on your side and prevent rolling over.