What Kind of Mattresses Are Best for a Side Sleeper?

A study conducted by the U.K. Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service and published on LiveStrong indicates that sleeping on one’s side in a fetal position is the most popular position for most people. Side sleeping can have significant benefits for those with back problems. What kind of mattresses are best for a side sleeper? The answer depends on a variety of factors, each of which can play a role in the comfort and overall relaxation experienced by sleepers. Here are some points to consider when choosing the best mattress for a side sleeper.

See our review: Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers

Materials

Modern mattresses are available in a wide range of materials and configurations.

Traditional Innerspring 

Traditional innerspring mattresses consist of cushioned coils or springs that provide support to every part of the body. According to the experts at the National Sleep Foundation, innerspring mattresses with more than 300 coils are typically not worth the added investment as the increased number of coils cannot usually be detected by sleepers.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses consist of several different layers of foam that are designed to give way under pressure. This can be much more comfortable for those with back problems who typically sleep on their sides. Memory foam conforms to the shape of the body and eliminates most pressure points, reducing the chance of cramping and other painful responses to trapped nerves and stressed muscles. The formulation of the memory foam can sometimes create a warmer sleeper environment than might be preferred by some sleepers.

Latex

Latex mattresses offer benefits similar to those of memory foam. These mattresses, however, are better for those who prefer a firmer surface for sleeping. Depending on the formulation of the latex, they may also retain heat more effectively than traditional mattress types.

Air

Air mattresses are designed to provide a customized degree of firmness for a single person or for couples sleeping side-by-side. Because the support provided can be adjusted to suit individual needs and preferences, these mattresses can be the most effective choices for couples who choose to sleep together but require widely varying degrees of firmness or softness to sleep comfortably.

The best mattress for a side sleeper will vary depending on the degree of firmness desired by the individual and other personal preferences.

Medical Conditions

Some sleepers may have medical issues that can affect the quality of their sleep. Patients with back problems, for example, may require a firmer mattress to prevent issues when sleeping on their side. In general, though, softer mattresses and lower firmness settings provide the greatest relief and relaxation for aching backs and strained muscles. Trying out a variety of mattresses can sometimes provide insights into the most comfortable choices available on the market.

The Right Mattress for a Side Sleeper

Because side sleepers typically curl into a fetal position during slumber, they create pressure points at shoulder, hip and knee. Memory foam and latex mattresses can reduce the impact of these pressure points to create a more comfortable sleeping environment. In most cases, air mattresses can also provide a softer, more forgiving surface for those who sleep on their side.

Related Resource: What Kind of Mattresses Are Best for a Back Sleeper?

What is the best mattress for people who sleep on their sides? There is no one right answer to this question. Most experts recommend choosing a softer mattress that can accommodate and conform to the natural curves and angles of the body. For most people, however, the right answer is the mattress that works best for their individual set of needs.