How to Choose the Right Mattress Based on Sleeping Position

side sleeper

Everyone has distinctive sleep patterns and habits, and each of us has a preferred position for sleeping. We may change position during the night, but we keep coming back to one of these three positions: side, back, or stomach. We may even prefer one position when first falling asleep and a different one throughout the night.
When you are mattress shopping, it’s important to take your preferred sleeping position into consideration. Here is what you should consider.

Sleeping on your Back

back sleeperIt’s not surprising that back sleepers are more inclined to experience back and spine pain. Lying down on your back can put considerable strain on your spine. Your spring mattress may feel comfortable enough at first when you lie down to rest, but the pressure builds on your spine as the night goes on.

To solve this problem you first need to understand that you need better support as a back sleeper than a person who sleeps in another position. You should look at a memory foam mattress that is moderately firm or a little on the plush side. Be careful though: Too plush and you won’t get the support that your back needs.

A mattress is a big and important purchase, and there are many things to take into consideration. It can even be overwhelming.

Consider your own weight, your own preference for comfort, and whether or not you sleep with someone whose movements will disturb your sleep, or whom you will disturb with your own tossing and turning.

For a back sleeper, supporting your spine should be your top priority. That alone can help you make your way through all the options.

Sleeping on your Side

side sleeperYou’ll be glad to hear that side sleeping is probably the healthiest sleeping position. Side sleeping reduces acid reflux, and is for this reason often recommended by doctors if you are pregnant.

Side sleeping also permits better blood circulation and reduces the pressure on the lungs. It also reduces snoring: if you’ve ever had a snoring partner, you already know that turning them onto their side will usually get them to stop.

But side sleeping still comes with its own problems. This position for example will  not help the pressure points on your body if you are still using a coil spring mattress. Memory foam is still the most comfortable choice for side sleepers.

As a side sleeper you may experience pains in your hips and shoulders when you sleep, and wake in the morning feeling stiff, sore, and 10 years older than the night before. Any kind of memory foam mattress will give better support to the hips and shoulders than a coil mattress. You can choose whatever foam mattress feels most comfortable to you.

A memory foam mattress that is medium to plush will give your shoulders, hips, and to some degree your spine the support that they need, cradling and supporting the pressure points as you sleep.

Sleeping on your Stomach

stomach sleeperThis position is probably the least healthy one for sleeping, even though it seems so comfortable to you when you first climb in bed. Stomach sleeping causes all of your weight to fall on your chest and stomach, and puts a lot of strain on your spine.

But trying to change your preferred sleep position is a big undertaking, so you should consider a mattress that alleviates some of the problems of stomach sleeping. How much support is the mattress you sleep on now giving you?

If you tend to wake up every morning with back pain, your mattress may be to blame. Coil mattresses are the worst choice for you because they do not support all the pressure points throughout your body, much less do anything for the alignment of your spine.

If you’re sleeping on an old mattress, maybe now is the time to upgrade to memory foam.

You need a mattress that is neither too soft nor too firm. An overly soft mattress wll cause your stomach to sink into the bed, arching your spine uncomfortably and causing morning back pain. An excessively firm mattress won’t allow for the natural curvature of your spine, which can also cause problems for you.

Usually, stomach sleepers would be better off with a slightly too firm mattress than with one that is too soft.

It’s not easy to ignore your own personal tastes, but for a stomach sleeper it is especially important to get a mattress that supports you fully, even if you need to take some time to adjust to it.

More Information

Check out the rest of this site for more in-depth information about mattress density. Understanding the details of mattress design will make your choice easier and more informed.

Also look into the page where I discuss pillows. Choosing a good pillow can have an effect on your sleep position as well.