Disclaimer: Every time you use one of our affiliate links, we earn a commission. Your purchase supports our research so we can bring you the best info about sleep products. Learn More
If you are having continuous restless and sleepless nights, there is a big chance that you are snoozing on the wrong mattress.
That’s right. There is such a thing.
The National Sleep Foundation conducted a survey and uncovered some interesting facts:
So what does it mean?
It means that sleeping on a proper mattress is essential for a good night’s sleep. Otherwise, it can lead to insomnia, excruciating pains, and immense discomfort all night long.
But how to find the best mattress to suit your sleeping style?
Let’s face it, there are more than a hundred choices on the market these days. From spring mattress to foam, the prices range from ‘OMG, so cheap?!’ to ‘What the frack? Is it made of gold?’
In the end, it kind of gets super-overwhelming for a person who does not know anything about the technicalities.
Therefore, we decided to help you out with this daunting task. In this blog, we will help you understand different positions and how the comfort and support vary for each.
Additionally, we will give you some proper, practical tips — nothing ol’ and crappy — so you can find the best mattress to suit your sleeping style.
Side sleeping is the most popular slumber position. Professionals hold it in high regard due to its many health benefits.
When you sleep on your side, the mattress responds to your weight, and your shoulders, neck, and hips receive the most pressure.
|Main Pressure Points||Shoulders, neck, hips|
|You Should Sleep on Your Sides If||Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers||Best Pillows For Side Sleepers|
As the name suggests, in the fetal position, you sleep all curled-up, the way a baby/fetus does in the womb.
In the yearner position, you sleep on your side with both arms extended in front of you as if you were reaching out for something.
Despite lacking in popularity, the Log is considered as one of the healthiest sleeping positions. You lie on your side with both arms by your side.
The thinker is a slight variation of the Fetal position except with your hand gently nestled under your chin.
Pillow huggers are side sleepers who like clutching on to their pillow with their arms and knees.
Side sleeping is among the most popular and super comfortable sleeping positions. Around 47% of all Americans sleep in the Fetal position while 13% of the population sleeps in the Yearner position. Least popular among all sleep positions in the Log as only 6% of all Americans sleep this way.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, a sleep disruptive snoring disorder, then side sleeping is best for you.
According to experts at the American Posture Institute (API), one of the worst-case scenarios of snoring disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by improper sleeping posture.
Side sleeping prevents your neck from tilting forward. When your airways are not obstructed, you can breathe smoothly, all night long.
Believe it or not, sleeping on your side is more beneficial in terms of spinal alignment than the supine position (also known as back sleeping).
Your spine is elongated when you sleep on your side. It helps alleviate pressure from your lumbar curve and relieves neck and back pain.
Studies suggest that side sleeping can prove effective in reducing your chances of developing brain disorders like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
When you’re awake, your brain can rack up waste materials that can contribute to these disorders. Side sleeping helps remove these chemicals as indicated by recent research on animals.
Sleeping on the left side also agrees with your digestive tract and bowel movements. Your small intestine delivers waste products to your large intestine with the help of gravity, and left side sleeping helps facilitate this motion.
Moreover, sleeping on your left side also allows your stomach and pancreas to hang naturally, helping enzyme production and digestive processes to proceed without a hitch.
Unfortunately sleeping on the right side isn’t for everyone. This position can cause lungs to exert pressure on the heart and in the process, impede its function.
Hence, side sleeping isn’t favorable for people who’ve already experienced heart failure issues. If you sleep on your right side, the added strain can worsen your condition.
Your shoulders experience excessive pressure when you sleep on either side. The heavier you are, the more they would have to endure.
If you wake up in the morning with sore or aching shoulders, it’s high time you upgraded to a more supportive and pressure-relieving sleep surface.
When you sleep on your side, the height difference between your head and shoulder can cause your neck to tilt downwards due to gravity. Depending on your body shape and the pillow loft, your neck can experience a lot of strain.
Sleeping regularly at this awkward angle can lead to continuous neck pain in the future. Consider switching your pillow with an adjustable loft one to ensure proper spinal alignment.
According to Dr. Christoper Winter, Martha Jefferson Sleep Medicine Center, “side sleeping keeps airways open if you suffer from sleep apnea or have breathing issues.”
Blood is pumped out from the left side and flows back to the heart from the right. Sleeping on your right side increases pressure on the vessels returning blood to your heart. Sleeping on your left side avoids this scenario.
Dr. Winter recommends left side sleeping for pregnant women, in particular. Their heart is already going overdrive to support the baby. Left side sleeping aids blood flow to the mother and the fetus alike.
Here are a few things side sleepers should look out for when choosing their next mattress. For more information, check out our detailed mattress selection guide for side sleepers.
Side sleepers should consider investing in a mattress with exceptional conforming ability. By cradling your curves, these mattresses alleviate pressure on your hips and shoulders. It also allows them to better support areas of your body that need it the most.
A very hard mattress will be ineffective in mitigating pressure points, while a very soft one may cause back pain. Your flanks need proper support to maintain correct spinal alignment.
Look into mattresses with zoned support, i.e., firmer in the lumbar region and softer elsewhere. These will provide pressure relief and spinal support exactly where you need them.
While having a huggable mattress should be a top priority for side sleepers, such close contact can spell trouble for individuals who naturally sleep hot.
A mattress that has special cooling features like latex or breathable fabrics can be highly effective in removing unwanted body heat.
Memory foam mattresses would be the best choice for side sleepers due to their conforming and pressure-relieving abilities. Those who prefer a firmer feel can opt for a hybrid mattress.
If you would rather prefer a latex mattress, choose the ones with Talalay latex in the top. It is more flexible, offers hugging feel comparable to memory foam, and sleeps cool naturally.
Side sleepers need to bridge the gap under their neck curve to ensure proper spinal alignment. Hence, pillow thickness depends on the width of their shoulders and the size of their head.
Side sleepers prefer pillows with good contouring properties without significant sinkage. Latex and polyfoam pillows are most likely to fit the bill. Excessive sinkage in Memory foam pillow can block your nose, making you gasp for air.
The following are our top three picks for the best mattresses for side sleepers.
Leesa is among the most popular mattresses for side sleepers. Made with durable and conforming premium foam, Leesa contours your body perfectly to relieve pressure on the shoulders and hips. It sleeps cool and provides superior flank support, so you don’t experience any sagging or sinkage.
The Original Purple mattress is perfect for side sleepers of all sizes. Equipped with Purple’s patented Smart Comfort Grid, this sleep surface ensures exceptional weight distribution and supports your curves as you lie on your side.
Muse is a durable mattress that provides optimal pressure relief for side sleepers without the ‘sinking-in’ feeling. With its phase-change cover and gel-infused memory foam layer, you get all the benefits of memory foam along with excellent temperature regulation.
Here are our favorite pillows for side sleeping.
The completely adjustable Ultimate Pillow by Eight Sleep is the perfect companion for side sleepers. It ensures a pain-free and cool night’s rest. The dense memory foam layer on top resists sinkage and increases support, preventing the pillow from smothering you.
Built to last, the Leesa Hybrid Pillow is incredibly cool to the touch. Since it comes with adjustable loft settings, the Leesa Hybrid Pillow ensures perfect spinal alignment, regardless of the size of your head or width of your shoulders.
Simple tips to improve your posture if you’re a side sleeper
Benefits of sleeping on your left side
Although experts advise against it, a significant percentage of the population still prefers sleeping on their stomach.
The cons of stomach sleeping outweigh its pros, making it quite important to find the correct mattress for your sleep style.
|Main Pressure Points||Neck, spine, arms|
|You Should Sleep on Your Stomach If|
|Best Mattresses For Stomach Sleepers|
|Best Pillows For Stomach Sleepers|
People lie on their stomach with arms wrapped under the pillow, and head turned to the side.
According to estimates, around 17% of the population prefers sleeping in the Free Fall position, making it the second most popular sleeping position. Despite its popularity, about 26% American consider it the worst sleeping position.
Sleeping on your stomach with your face down helps clear up your airways and prevent snoring and sleep apnea. Still, experts advise against it as it does more harm than good.
Most of your body weight is centered around your core. Therefore, when you lie down on your stomach, your core sinks deeper relative to your head and limbs.
The position of your body on your stomach is opposite to the natural curvature of your spine. Sleeping like this daily for eight hours is very likely to throw your spine out of alignment.
Having your spine strained also exerts pressure on your neck and back joints. Putting your head to the side as you lie in a prone position twists your neck and over time can lead to severe neck problems and pain.
Michael Breus, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and a board-certified sleep specialist. When speaking to CNN about sleeping positions, he explained the downside of stomach sleeping.
Breus considers stomach sleeping the worst because it badly contorts your neck and raises your head to pillow height, resulting in neck pain.
Talking about the damage to the back, Breus says “ (the) curvature of your spine is actually going ‘cause of direct pressure on the lower part of your vertebrae. Over time, it can cause lower back pain.”
Here are a few things you should consider when choosing the best mattress for your needs. For more information, check out our detailed mattress selection guide for stomach sleepers.
Since stomach sleeping brings your neck at an awkward angle to your back, medium to medium-firm mattress provides sufficient support to keep your spine in a neutral position.
Moreover, a softer mattress can cause your abdomen to sink more than your chest. As a result, you can experience additional pressure on your spine, leading to discomfort.
As most of their body is in contact with the mattress, stomach sleepers can feel hotter on the bed than others. To avoid discomfort, you should choose a mattress with enhanced cooling capabilities.
Hybrid and spring mattresses are good choices for stomach sleepers as they can prevent your pelvis from sinking and your lower back from excessively arching downwards.
Latex mattresses can also provide good spinal support along with superior airflow to help you sleep cool. However, avoid Talalay latex as it might be too soft for stomach sleepers.
Stomach sleeping can wreak havoc on your spine by exerting extra pressure on your neck and back joints. Since a thick pillow will further strain their neck, it’s advisable for stomach sleepers to sleep with a low-loft pillow or no pillow at all.
Stomach sleepers should consider looking for a firm pillow to support their weight and allow them to breathe. A shredded memory foam fill that they can fluff and flatten to their liking is ideal.
Here are the top three mattresses that stomach sleepers should consider.
Saatva is an excellent choice for stomach sleepers. The innerspring construction and zonal design, Saatva provides targeted support under your hips and lower back to keep your spine perfectly aligned.
The Helix Dusk mattress features a hybrid construction that combines Helix’s pressure-relieving Dynamic foam and highly supportive pocketed coils. With a wide range of firmness options, Helix ensures optimal support for all stomach sleepers.
The Leesa Hybrid features an 11 inch thick, 5-layer construction, and provides ample comfort and support for stomach sleepers of all body structures and weight.
The following are the best pillows, explicitly designed for stomach sleepers.
The Xtreme Comfort Slim Hypoallergenic Bamboo Pillow perfectly contours your head and neck and provides proper support regardless of your position. You can fluff or flatten it to relieve pressure on your neck joints.
Less than 3 inches in height, the Bluewave Bedding Ultra Slim Memory Foam Pillow is an extremely thin, flat, and low profile pillow ideal for all stomach sleepers.
Alleviate pressure while sleeping face front
Despite not being as popular as side sleeping, many experts consider back sleeping just as beneficial.
Since your head, shoulders, hips, and heels are directly in contact with the mattress, they experience the most pressure. However, as more of your body area is in contact with the sleep surface, this position still offers the best weight distribution.
|Main Pressure Points||Head, shoulders, hips, and heels|
|You Should Sleep on Your Back If|
|Best Mattresses For Back Sleepers|
|Best Pillows For Back Sleepers|
Individuals who sleep in this position lie straight on their backs with their arms right beside them.
If you have seen a starfish, this position should not be that hard to imagine. These people sleep on their backs with their arms and legs spread out.
Another notable back sleep position, Stargazers lie down with their arms wrapped beneath their head.
11% of the population prefers sleeping in the Soldier position. The Starfish position is also not that far behind and accounts for 7% of people.
Back sleep can do wonders for your spine by keeping it in a neutral position relative to your neck and head. As a result, this position helps decrease strain on neck and back joints, making this position ideal for individuals that suffer from chronic pain.
Acid reflux occurs when stomach contents are brought back up to the esophagus, where they cause discomfort and disrupt your sleep.
Sleeping on your back with your head lifted slightly up, positions your stomach below your esophagus, thereby preventing acid reflux.
Back sleeping can cause the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back of your throat, blocking adequate airflow. The narrowing can make you snore more frequently and increase the likelihood of a sleep apnea episode.
Back sleepers who already snore or have sleep apnea should invest in adjustable bed bases. By allowing you to modify your head position easily, these can provide an easy fix to your snoring problem.
Experts consider it the best position for ensuring proper spinal alignment. But, you may still experience back problems if you are using the wrong mattress.
Lying on your back with your knees fully extended pulls out your pelvis and arches your lower back. Sleeping like this all night can tighten lower back muscles and cause discomfort.
You need a mattress to cushion your lower back curve, preventing any back pain issues.
According to Michael Breus, sleeping on your back is the best position for getting quality rest. He says when you lie on your back, your weight gets evenly distributed across your skeletal frame, unlike other sleep positions.
However, as we discussed in the previous section, back sleeping is not without its downsides. Joachim Maurer of the German Society of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery says: “Almost all people who snore, start in a back-lying position.
If you prefer snoozing on your back, keep the following considerations in mind when choosing your next sleep surface. For more information, check out our detailed mattress selection guide for back sleepers.
Back sleepers should avoid too firm or too soft mattresses. The former may result in an unnecessary push to your already aching body parts while the latter can cause pelvic sinkage, throwing your spine out of alignment.
Snoring is a common problem associated with back sleeping. However, you can lie in a reclined position to quickly remedy this problem.
By using a compatible mattress with an adjustable bed base, you can easily elevate your head to a suitable height and prevent snoring.
Memory foam and latex mattresses work best for back sleepers due to their ability to conform to the lower back closely. They should, however, be supportive enough to prevent the pelvis from sinking excessively.
Back sleepers should choose a medium to high loft pillow as a reclined position can help relieve spinal pressure. They may also place a pillow under their lower back to keep the spine in its naturally arched shape.
Latex and memory foam pillows are good choices as they are sufficiently thick and firm to support back sleepers.
If you’re a back sleeper, you can’t go wrong with any of these three mattresses.
Owing to its Talalay latex construction, Zenhaven offers no sagging and optimal spinal alignment for back sleepers. It is available in multiple comfort levels and can accommodate sleepers of all sizes.
The memory foam in Keetsa Cloud cushions pressure points in your shoulders, lower back, and hips. It contours your spinal curvature and prevents strain on your pressure points.
The Bear Hybrid combines the conforming ability of foam and the quick response offered by the pocketed coils. As a result, you experience pressure relief and support where you need it the most.
These pillows are designed with back sleepers in mind and offer the right amount of comfort and support you need.
The open-cell memory foam in Cool Contour Pillow keeps you fresh all night. The ergonomic design cradles and supports your head, neck, and shoulders to promote proper spinal alignment as you lie on your back.
The removable shredded memory foam fill makes this classic pillow by Coop Home Goods a highly durable and versatile choice for all back sleepers.
Tips for back sleepers
The right mattress and sleeping accessories can do wonders for your sleep quality and general wellbeing. With these simple and easy-to-follow techniques, a better night’s rest is within your grasp regardless of your sleep position preferences.
Note: All quoted prices are for Queen*