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What Are Side Sleeping Drawbacks?

image of our writer Filip Maric

Written By Filip

Sleep Advisor

Featured image of side sleeping drawbacks.

2 April 2024 2 min read

Most people sleep on their sides. However, despite this position being so popular and despite having an endless supply of mattresses for side sleepers to choose from, most side sleepers will experience some problems in their lifetime. Let's talk about the side sleeping drawbacks.

It is an estimate that more than 70% of the population sleeps on their sides. With that being said, we can say that the side sleeping is highly popular among people. Stil, like every sleep position, side sleeping also has its drawbacks.

While these are not dangerous to our health, some of these may cause problems and issues that affect our overall sleep quality. Ultimately, these can lead to serious problems like sleep debt issue and affect the overall quality of life as well.

More pressure on the heart

Unless you’re sleeping on your left side (and even then), sleeping on your side (presumably) puts extra strain and pressure on your heart during the night. More precisely, it is speculated that sleeping on your side could compress your vena cava, which is the vein feeding into the right side of your heart.

However, there is no scientific evidence supporting this claim, at least not in the sense that sleeping on your side could affect your cardiovascular health.

High probability for a bad posture

An image of a woman holding her lower back due to back pain.

Unlike with heart, there is some strong evidence supporting the claim that sleeping on your side causes bad posture.

Most of the time, sleeping on your side causes your back to curve in an unnatural manner. Additionally, if you are not sleeping on a good enough mattress, your hips or shoulder could cause additional strain to your spine, keeping it out of alignment for the entire night.

More shoulder pain

Shoulder pain is one of the most common problems side sleepers encounter. Most of the time, this problem is caused by a bad mattress.

The shoulder is the second most prominent pressure point when side sleeping, and unless you invest in a good mattress – dealing with shoulder pain might become an everyday thing.

Acne problems

An image of a woman pressing acnes on her face.

It is not that common, but some side sleepers can develop acne problems, especially around the mouth or on the cheeks.

As we sink our side of the head into the pillow, our skin can’t breathe well enough, and all the oils and dead skin end up caught in our pores, clogging them and causing acne and black spots. Also, sweat tends to build up in our pillowcases during the night, and that can also cause some issues.

Fortunately, investing in hypoallergenic or antibacterial pillows for side sleepers might solve most of these problems. These pillows could also help with shoulder or neck pain, so that’s a plus.

Pain in your hips and back

A young woman holding her hip due to pain

Another common problem side sleepers face is pain. More precisely, pain in the lower and upper back and the hip area.

Hip pain is usually caused due to excess pressure on the hips during the night, as hips are the most prominent pressure point for side sleepers. We’re generally the heaviest around our hips, so sleeping on the side certainly isn’t helping.

As for back pain – that’s usually caused by a bad posture and alignment.

Fortunately, both of these problems can be easily solved with a proper mattress for back pain and a knee pillow.

Poor blood circulation

An image of a bearded guy wrapped in a blanket.

Side sleeping is known to cause some restrictions to the blood flow, as well as put some pressure on the nerves – especially in your shoulders and arms.

If possible, try not to sleep on your hand while you’re lying on your side. Instead, keep your hand in front of your body and below the neck. That way, you’ll avoid dealing with nerve pressure and poor blood circulation.


There you have it. Those were some of the most common side sleeping drawback!.

However, not everything is so gloomy. Side sleeping has lots of advantages, too. Especially if you have a proper mattress for side sleepers. We just thought you might want to know about the drawbacks and potential issues that might arise. That way, you will know that these come from side sleeping.

But if you have any questions about side sleeping drawbacks, feel free to ask in the comments!

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