If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping, you may have heard that sleeping on your back is the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep. However, lying on your back is actually one of the least popular sleeping positions—in fact, most adults are side sleepers.
If you are one of the many side sleepers out there, you can still get a good night’s sleep in your preferred position by making sure you’ve got the right mattress and pillow. If you have the right sleep set-up, you will have the support you need to sleep well and comfortably in any position.
The Science of Side Sleeping
Those in the side-sleeping majority will be happy to hear that there are actually many benefits to sleeping on your side. Some studies indicate that it eases digestion, as your organs are more aligned, and therefore freer to move food along and filter out toxins. Side sleeping also appears to help with cognitive function and reduces snoring.
Of course, there are also a few drawbacks to side sleeping. If you don’t have the right mattress and pillow, sleeping on your side will place excessive pressure on one shoulder, forcing it up and forward. Sleeping in this position can cause pain due to a night spent improperly aligned.
Mattress Support for Side Sleepers
If you regularly sleep on your side, you should have a mattress designed to give you the support you need. For side sleepers, experts recommend the following features.
- Body Contouring– Side sleepers should look for a memory foam or air foam mattress. Both types of mattresses contour to your body and provide support where you need it for your body shape and position. The customized support means you are less likely to wake up sore. One of the benefits of the newer air foam mattress, when compared with the older memory foam tech, is temperature-neutrality, which will prevent you from overheating even if you stay in one position all night.
- Firmness– A good mattress is neither too firm nor too soft. A mattress that’s too firm will not have enough give, while a mattress that’s too soft will not lend enough support. You should look for something right in the middle; medium-firm is the best mattress softness for people who sleep on their side.
- Weight Redistribution– A mattress that provides weight redistribution allows for more support in the areas that need it most. The mattress will automatically disperse your weight without sagging, which can cause misalignment of your spine and joints.
- Pressure Point Support– Pressure points are usually in your hips, shoulders, and back. A mattress specifically designed to provide more support to those areas when you are side sleeping will help prevent sore joints.
Additional Mattress Considerations
Regardless of your sleeping position, there are several factors you should consider when purchasing a new mattress.
- Durability– Mattresses are expensive, so you want to make sure to choose one that will last a while. If you have children who enjoy jumping on the bed, or if you tend to be an active sleeper, make sure you select the most durable mattress you can find.
- Temperature– Temperature control can be a factor for a lot of people. If you sleep warmer, you’ll want to consider a mattress that won’t trap heat and will instead allow airflow around your body to help you stay cool at night. If you sleep cold, a more conforming mattress that traps heat might be better for you.
- Breathability– The breathability of any mattress also affects temperature regulation and determines how well the mattress can circulate moisture and stay dry. These factors are essential for helping you sleep soundly, no matter the conditions.
- Edge Support– Edge support refers to your mattress’s structure and supportiveness, based on the material from which it is made. If you are an active sleeper, good edge support can help prevent you from rolling off the bed. It also helps the mattress keep its shape longer, which increases its longevity.
- Sleep Trial and Warranty– It can be challenging to know which mattress is right for you after only a few minutes in the store. Before committing to a purchase, see if there’s an option to test out the mattress in your home for a period of time to determine whether it’s the right fit. You should also look into the warranty options available.
The Perfect Pillow
Generally, side sleepers need a thicker pillow in order to fill the space between the ear and shoulder. The broader your shoulders, the thicker your pillow will need to be.
Firmness is a matter of preference for side sleepers. You should go firmer or softer depending on your specific comfort level. Your pillow shouldn’t be too hard, however, or your ear and face may ache in the morning from being pressed against it all night long.
You’ll Side Sleep Well With Your Mattress On Your Side
When done right, sleeping on your side can be both comfortable and beneficial for your health. The most significant benefit of all comes from sleeping in a position that allows you to get a good night’s sleep. Making your sleep set-up as comfortable as possible for your preferred sleeping position will help you get the rest you need.