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Sleep on your side? Good news – it’s the healthiest sleeping position, experts say.
According to The Better Sleep Council, the most common sleeping position overall is the fetal position, preferred by 41% of the population. Other side sleeping positions include the log position (sleeping on your side with your arms down by your side) and the yearner position (sleeping on your side with your arms stretched out).
There are many benefits to sleeping on your side, which is why it’s the most recommended sleeping position by health professionals. When you sleep on your side:
The best mattress for side sleepers is one that keeps your spine in a straight line through proper support, contouring, and firmness.
Consumers tend to think support and firmness are interchangeable, but they’re not. Firmness is how hard or soft the bed feels when you first lie down, whereas support is how well the mattress keeps your spine aligned, regardless of how soft or firm it feels."
Side sleepers require a softer mattress because your hips and shoulders need to be able to sink into the mattress just enough to keep your spine straight. A mattress that is too firm will keep your body lying above the bed with uneven support, and one that is too soft will curve your body unnaturally in the opposite way. Either way results in spinal misalignment and uncomfortable aches and pains.
Side sleepers need a mattress that’s soft to medium firm, between a 3-6 on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most firm. Heavier sleepers who weigh over 230 pounds should look for a firmer mattress on the upper end of this scale, while lighter sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds should look for a softer mattress.
Side sleepers need a mattress that promotes spine and neck alignment, prevents pelvic rotation, and provides pressure point relief.
A mattress that conforms to your body prevents pelvic rotation during the night by keeping your hips and shoulders in a straight position. If your hips and shoulders stay aligned, so does your spine.
Because they stick out when you’re sleeping on your side, side sleepers need a mattress that relieves pressure on these areas by allowing them to sink in.
Memory foam mattresses are best equipped to achieve all of these needs for side sleepers. They have superior contour ability, offer long-lasting support, and come in a variety of firmness levels. Learn more about memory foam and other types of mattresses to find the right option for you.
|Mattress Type||Memory Foam||Latex||Hybrid||Innerspring/Coil||Airbeds|
|Lifespan||7 years||8 years||4 years||3 years||8 years|
|Side Sleeper Grade||A||B||C||D||F|
Innerspring mattresses are still one of the most popular mattress types among consumers, probably because they have been around for so long. They use coils for support with a foam or fabric comfort layer on top. Despite their ubiquity, they’re not a good choice for side sleepers because they’re prone to sagging after a few years and don’t contour to the body.
Memory foam mattresses are well-known for their ability to contour to the sleeper’s body, thanks to a support core made of polyurethane foam and comfort layers made of visco-elastic foam. Memory foam mattresses are a great choice for side sleepers because they are durable, support the neck and back, and provide pressure relief for hips and shoulders while keeping your spine aligned.
Hybrid mattresses combine an innerspring coil support core with comfort layers of memory foam, polyfoam, natural fibers, or latex on top. Because they don’t fully envelop the body the way a memory foam mattress does, they’re better equipped to regulate heat, which may be a desirable feature for those who sleep hot.
Latex mattresses are extremely dense and durable, which makes them a good option for side sleepers. However, they have a springier quality than memory foam mattresses, so they don’t conform to the body quite as well (although they do so better than an innerspring mattress). They are made of all-natural latex (a fully organic option) or a combination of natural with synthetic latex, other foams, and possibly innerspring support cores (known as latex hybrid mattresses).
Airbeds are inflated using an electric air pump with a foam comfort layer on top. With their lack of contouring ability and tendency to lose air and sag during the night, they’re not a great option for side sleepers.
*Prices as of 2017. Sourced from over 200 mattress retailers by Tuck research team.ADDLINKHERE
As you research your mattress options, keep an eye out for price, warranty, and trial period information.
Prices can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the type and quality of the mattress you buy and where you choose to buy it. Pro tip: opt to purchase your mattress online or from a store for a lower price tag.
Mattress warranties may not cover everything you expect, so take a moment to read the fine print and review what may void your new bed’s warranty as well as whether things like sagging are covered.
Look for a trial period of 30 days or more, as it typically takes that amount of time for a mattress to fully break in. You want ample time to adjust to the mattress before you return it prematurely.
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