Finding the right bed for your sleeping habits is integral to enjoying a restful night of sleep. Since the majority of the world falls into the category of side sleepers, it would make sense that most mattress styles would be geared for them. But this sleeping pattern adds levels of strain and discomfort on the spine; creating better comfort for side sleepers requires careful mattress selection.
Choosing the first mattress in your budget can be harmful if you are a side sleeper – your choice may not offer vital support and firmness; however, with a bit of forethought and research, it is possible to select the perfect side sleeper bed. Here is everything you need to know to choose a side sleeper bed that is right for you and become a savvy sleeper.
Side Sleeping and Why You Need the Right Bed
Almost three-quarters of the world’s population admits to being a side sleeper. This common sleeping position offers health benefits – if you sleep on your left.
Left-side sleepers get the benefit of improved digestion, as the pressure on your stomach is released in this position. Your circulation improves, helping the body efficiently carry out the natural processes of oxygenating tissue and carrying away toxins.
Even if you sleep on your left side and can claim some benefits from this position, you still need a bed that aligns with your body’s contours, helping you sleep deeply and peacefully. Side sleepers, left or right, should look for these qualities in their next bed:
1. Firmness is key. Side sleepers should find their ideal firmness and select mattresses that match this number. Suggested firmness levels are based on your physique. If your height and weight are considered average, experts recommend a soft to medium mattress to prevent undue pressure on your body. For those whose height and weight are above average, experts recommend a firmer mattress.
If you suffer from chronic back aches and pains, a mattress that is too soft or too hard could aggravate these issues. Look for a level of firmness that helps your spine align to its natural curves, particularly in the areas of your head, shoulders, hips, knees, and feet.
2. Consider the material. Not all mattress materials are beneficial for side sleepers. The springs in conventional mattresses add extra stress on your pressure points and don’t contour to your body.
Memory foam mattresses are becoming one of the top choices for people who sleep on their side, especially those with recurring back pain. Memory foam maintains the natural alignment of your spine while you sleep.
For the best comfort and protection, a medium-firm memory foam mattress is recommended. If your mattress is too soft, you will sink and won’t receive support in critical areas; if it is too hard, extra pressure can be created on the hip and shoulder from the mattress’ inability to shape to your body.
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3. Don’t forget the pillows. Keeping your head off of the mattress is important, especially as a side sleeper. You need a pillow that is firm enough to keep your head up but not so firm that your neck is elevated at a potentially painful angle. Your head should stay balanced between both of your shoulders.
You can use a thin pillow placed between your knees to prevent hip and back pain. Side sleepers tend to use a lot of pillows for this reason. You can place them behind your back, under your side, between your knees, and under your feet. The more the better, until you have found your perfect comfort zone for a restful night of sleep.
Keep on Sleeping on Your Side With the Right Mattress
Side sleeping has a bad reputation because it can be detrimental to your spine, joints, and muscles. But there are many benefits to this type of position when you are sleeping on a mattress that prevents pressure and discomfort. With the ideal level of firmness and support on key areas of the body, side sleeping can prove to be as comfortable and restful as other positions.
If you’re a side sleeper, your risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea is reduced and your partner is less likely to complain about snoring. If you suffer from lower back pain, side sleeping helps to lengthen your spine and minimize lumbar discomfort.
Keep on sleeping on your side if that’s what makes you the most comfortable, but be sure to use the right mattress and pillow combination to prevent the aches and pains that can come with side sleeping on the wrong kind of bed. Not only can you enjoy better spine health, but you can benefit from a restful night of slumber and better daily energy.