Sleep is an integral and highly critical aspect of living for each one of us. However, when it comes to lying down in the bed and sleeping, there are many habits and practices. While some prefer sleeping straight with their face pointed towards the ceiling, there are others who are side sleepers. In this article we will be looking at the best mattresses for side sleepers. Before doing so, we will have a look at some health-related aspects of side sleeping and then go into the specifics of choosing the best mattresses for side sleepers.
1 Are there any benefits of side sleeping?
There are many studies to prove that there may be many health benefits for those who sleep on their sides.
Here are some proven health benefits of side-sleeping:
- It could help in good spinal alignment.
- Airway circulation could be better.
- Your heart may function better and be healthier.
- It is considered to be the best sleeping position for pregnant women.
- It may help in more effective digestion
- Instances of heartburn may get reduced.
- May give a boost to brain health.
- Could be helpful in getting rid of sleep apnea and snoring.
On the whole there are enough reasons to suggest that side-sleeping could lead to a better alignment as far the entire body is concerned. It also could be beneficial to your spine and other important vital, internal organs. Sleep apnea is a serious problem and it impacts millions of people.
While there are some unmistakable benefits associated with side-sleeping, there could also be downsides and side-effects. Hence, before making side-sleeping a habit, one must weigh the pros and cons and then take the right decision.
2 Possible Side Effects of Side-Sleeping
Pressure points could create problems. When we get into the habit of sleeping on our sides, we put pressure on a small area of our body. In other words, a small portion of our body has to bear the entire weight. This could lead to discomfort and you must be aware of it and also be careful about it. The lower back could experience quite a bit of pressure when one decides to make side-sleeping a regular habit. If the pressure increases and if it becomes constant and nagging, it is time for you to take notice and perhaps stop side sleeping till the problem is solved. If not, you could be turning an acute back pain into something chronic and long-lasting.
2.1 Is there a way out?
Yes, many experts believe that choosing a good mattress could solve the problem. If you do your research and shortlist the best mattresses for side sleepers you could relieve a lot of pressure and the pain that is associated with it. Hence, it makes sense to spend some time choosing the right mattresses if you are keen on making side-sleeping a regular habit.
2.2 Tips when choosing a side-sleeping mattress
With so many options available making the right choice of a side-sleeping mattress could be confusing. You must keep in mind a few things when choosing such mattresses.
- It should be soft enough so that it is able to take care of the pressure points adequately
- Ensure that it does not lead to hip pain. It could be bothersome for pregnant women because they often find that their lower is remains in a hunched position. The knees often are folded and face the chest area. This obviously puts quite a bit of pressure on the hips because they are not able to stay in a relaxed position. It may not happen immediately but gradually women may start feeling a low and radiating pain over the entire hip area in the morning. In most cases it may subside after a few hours. But even a few hours of acute pain in the morning hours may be enough to ruin the day.
- If you have a quality mattress, it can help in taking pressure off the hips. Side-sleeping also means that you are putting quite a bit of pressure on your arms and shoulder. This pressure can also be relieved to a great extent when you use a good quality mattress. It helps to lock the shoulders in a firm position and this could help in removing quite a bit of stress.
- Side-sleepers should try to get a mattress that comes with a thick layer. This will help in many ways.
- Neck pain is also a common problem with those who sleep sideways. This is because the pressure will be quite heavy on your neck area. This could lead to stiffness and it could also restrict the movement of your neck to some extent. A good mattress may be helpful in preventing neck stiffness and neck pain in most of the cases. It may help in relieving the pressure points and you could find quite a bit of relief. Look for mattresses that offer quite a bit of sinkage. This will help your weight to be evened out and the pressure points will also be evened out to a great extent.
Stay away from mattresses that are too firm. They could prevent normal blood circulation and this again could lead to troublesome pain and aches. This happens because these firm mattresses may not be able to offer the right contouring especially to a large portion of your shoulders. If this is left unchecked, it also could lead to spinal misalignment and this again could manifest in severe pain in and around the neck area. Look for softer mattresses that help in proper contouring of the shoulder area so that the above problems could be avoided.
2.3 The problem of back pain
While side-sleeping has a number of benefits, you have to make sure that you choose the best mattresses for side sleepers. Otherwise, you could suffer from back pain. In most cases, it could be because of poor quality mattresses along with wrong side-sleeping posture and position. If the mattress is too soft, the back will sink more compared to other parts of the body. This will lead to a concentration of weight around the back region. Alternately, if the mattress is too firm, it could lead to other problems especially if you are not overweight. Hence, the best way forward is to look for a mattress that offers a good combination of softness and also density as far as the foam is concerned. The mattress should cling to your body but at the same time you must not feel that you are being trapped by it. This will lead to both support and softness and perfect contouring. It also could lead to better positioning and posture while you are into side sleeping.
Tips: You must always look for a side-sleeper mattress that is of medium firmness and should be able to offer the right kind of support to your back. While this is good for side-sleepers, even stomach and back sleepers should bear this in mind.
3 Why are Side Sleepers Considered Special?
There are enough reasons to believe that side-sleeping is perhaps the most popular sleep position. Around 65% of adults in the USA are happy sleeping on their side. There are many positions as far as side-sleeping is concerned.
Fetal position: In this position the legs are curled towards the knees. The back also is hunched and this helps create a curled up sleeping posture. It resembles babies that are in the womb. Roughly around 40% of Americans prefer this mode of side-sleeping
Log Position: Around 14% of the population like this position. In this position the legs and arms are extended while the back remains straight.
Yearner position: In this position the legs and arms may remain straight, but the arms are stretched out.
Roughly around 5% of Americans prefer to sleep this way.
Sprinter Position: In this position while one leg is fully extended, the other is curled towards the knee. Only around 2 to 3% of the population like this side-sleeping position.
Pillow Hugger: This is a side-sleeping position for those who cling to their pillows and keep it close to their bodies. They are supposed to be good personalities who love people.
4 Things to Keep In Mind When Buying Side Sleeper Mattresses
Here are a few important points to keep in mind while you are planning to buy what you consider the
- Pressure relief is the most important and critical point to be taken into account when buying these types of mattresses.
- Support and conforming to body shape and proper contouring are a few more important considerations that you must bear in mind while buying side-sleepers.
5 Choose the right mattress types
Also pay attention to the right types of mattresses and we are sharing some useful tips on this.
- Hybrid mattresses are known for the ability to regulate temperature and offer reasonably good contour support.
- Innerspring mattresses are also quite popular because they offer much better edge support.
Also make sure that the mattresses that you are zeroing in on are able to offer quality pressure relief, especially on the shoulder and hip areas.
Choose mattresses that offer the best of firmness levels. You could make use of your body weight to identify the right mattress with the right firmness levels and the right rating. Keep these factors in mind. Those who light weight require softer mattresses. On the other hand sleepers who are either overweight, obese or heavy would do well to go in for mattresses that are firm. Look for mattresses that have firmness ranging from medium to soft depending on body weight.
5.1 A few tips about Contouring
Quality mattress should be able to contour well to the specific shape and size of the body. A good mattress apart from offering the best of contouring will also help to keep the spine in the right position and also will be able to offer protective cushioning to the various pressure points.
Spinal alignment is another important point to be taken into account when you are sleeping sideways. The spine should be straight. Without proper spinal alignment, you could end up having back aches, neck problems and so on. Look for a mattress that is not too firm but at the same time should be able protect too much spine bending.
Material quality. Also pay attention to the quality of materials that are used in making the mattresses. This has a direct bearing on the durability, comfort and other such factors. Yes, quality mattresses come with a higher price tag, but they offer more comfort and you also can be sure that they will have a much longer lifespan. On the other hand, if you buy cheaper variants the mattresses can disintegrate over a short period of time.
5.2 Pricing & Warranty
Look for mattresses in a price range of $900 to $1300. These are for queen sized ones and they generally come with a 10 year warranty or even more. Also make sure that the mattresses do not retain heat because it will make them comfortable when used during summer seasons.
5.3 Things to avoid
- It is better to stay away from foams made from latex or memory foam. They do not offer anything special in terms of pressure relief.
- Avoid buying mattresses without a sleep trial, even if you buy it online.
- Don’t go in for mattresses with pro-rated or short warranties. You will end up spending big money enforcing the warranty conditions and will take upon you unnecessary stress and strain.
- There are also mattresses that come with a price tag of around $2,000 and more. Stay away from such high priced mattresses because they have nothing additional to offer apart from inflated prices.
5.4 Pay attention to accessories
While choosing the best mattresses for side sleepers is critical and requires researching and going through the due diligence process. Pay attention to the kind of pillows that you buy along with other accessories such as mattress toppers. This will make side sleeping meaningful, comfortable and avoid pains and other such things that are caused by these sleep accessories. Quality pillows are critical because they offer the right alignment to the neck. On the other hand toppers can help the overall comfort level of the bed.
We do believe that we have been able to share useful and pertinent information pertaining to mattresses for side-sleepers. The benefits associated with side-sleeping are quite obvious and cannot be ignored. Hence, if you do your research and then shortlist what you think are the best mattresses for side-sleepers you can stay away from those nagging low back pains, shoulder pains, neck pains apart from ensuring proper alignment of the spine and you also will get a host of other benefits too.