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How to Pick the Right Mattress for Side Sleepers

by geekom
Picking the right mattress may feel overwhelming with so many options on the market. However, side sleepers have specific needs, which can help them find the right mattress to fit this sleeping position. Here’s what you should pay attention to buy best mattress for side sleepers if you usually sleep on your side.


Contouring is when a mattress conforms to the shape of your body. This feature is important for lightweight and heavy people who sleep on their side as it helps relieve pressure in the most sensitive areas. Different mattresses offer different contouring levels, so some may take longer than others. For example, memory foam beds usually contour the best, while hybrid innerspring mattress provide minimal contouring. However, firmness is also a significant factor since softer beds are typically more contouring than firm ones.

Pressure Relief

When it comes to side sleeping, there is one significant drawback to account for – pressure. The truth is that as much as people enjoy sleeping on their sides, the position causes significant weight concentration over a small area and can create pressure points in the hips and shoulders, and even lead to lower back pain.  
Another common target for pressure relief is the lower back. The more constant the pressure is, the more severe the pain can become. The risk of continually repeating this cycle is developing chronic pain, which could significantly hinder your well-being.
By choosing a bed made to complement side sleepers, you should be able to relieve the pressure and help prevent any further conditions. If you’re deciding between a few different mattress considerations, we feel this factor should take priority.


Support is essential for spine alignment, especially for dedicated side sleepers. Softer beds are usually the best for side sleepers, but these tend to give the lowest level of support. As a result, a mattress that’s too soft may lack the support you need to keepyour spine in alignment. Support usually depends on the materials, firmness, and the type of support layer. For example, hybrid mattresses have coils, while memory foam beds typically have high-density foam acting as the support layer

Hip/Shoulder Pain

Hip pain is especially common and bothersome in pregnant women who side sleep for the safety of their growing babies. The constant pressure on their growing bodies tends to concentrate pain in the hips.
Though it may not manifest immediately, pain often begins to radiate from the hips down the leg and into the knees and lower back. Pain may fade throughout the day as the joints loosen up, and it usually returns the next morning.
If you’ve ever felt yourself following this pattern of discomfort, it’s a safe bet your mattress is either too firm or not supportive enough to keep your spine aligned as you sleep on your side.
Many lightweight side sleepers also experience constant pressure on the shoulders, which can result in stiffness and pain in the morning. The proper mattress for a lighter side sleeper will be soft enough to cradle that pressure point and allow the joint to move throughout the night.

Neck Pain

When side sleeping with improper spinal alignment, the pressure can build on your neck, causing unpleasant stiffness and achiness in the morning. If it goes on for long enough, you may have difficulty moving your head and participating in daily activities
Especially if you’re broad-shouldered, the combination of a pressure-relieving mattress and a lofty pillow could go a long way in correcting spinal alignment and reducing neck pain.
If the mattress is too firm, it could effect blood flow, cutting off vital circulation for the restorative effects of sleep. This could also cause you to wake with numbness and tingling in your arms or other extremities.
If you have severe spinal misalignment as a result of your mattress, it may be necessary to see a chiropractor or other doctor to address the situation before a new mattress can help.

Back Pain

Back pain could also be the result of an inappropriate mattress combined with the awkwardness of the side sleeping position. If the mattress is too plush, this can cause your lower back to sink in deeper, as that’s where more weight is being concentrated. On the other hand, if it’s too firm, this could cause serious discomfort, especially if you’re lightweight.
With all this in mind, you need to consider is the density of the foam and the softness of the mattress. Ideally, you should be looking for a solution that hugs you without making you feel trapped in it.
At the same time, you’re looking for a combination of softness and support to keep your spine neutral while relieving pressure.
Back pain could quickly escalate and cause a myriad of associated issues. This type of pain is most commonly caused by inappropriate postures and a lack of support while you sleep. If your mattress is softer than it should be, this can disrupt your alignment and cause a sensation of stiffness that will quickly translate to aching and severe pain. Make sure to take this into account when you pick out a new bed.

Firm or Soft

Choosing the right mattress firmness is essential for side sleepers. A bed that’s too soft could apply more pressure on your lower back and shoulders while firmer mattresses could bring tension to the area around your neck and hips.
The solution is a balanced mattress aligned with your specifications. Remember to consider your weight. This is one of the most characteristic properties that you should account for.
Heavier folks will usually prefer a firmer mattress because it will resist sinking too deep. On the other hand, if you are lightweight, you might consider a soft bed to avoid creating pressure points. 

Mattress for Side Sleepers Buying Considerations


Bed in a Box vs. Retail

Though traditional brick and mortar stores still do good business, bed-in-a-box online brands are thriving as they provide new and more innovative choices at budget-friendly prices.
You may feel more comfortable shopping in-store because you’d prefer to speak face-to-face with a person about which brand works best for you. However, many people are intimidated by salespeople, many of whom work on commission and are motivated to sell higher-priced items when upgrades may not be necessary. Almost all boxed brands have online chat functions that allow you to talk with reps about the product, many of whom do not work for commission.
Additionally, exclusive side sleepers typically have specific pressure relief needs, and they may feel it’s better to make sure that a product properly aligns their spine and soothes their pressure points before purchasing. To address this, online companies offer generous trials that let you try the mattress at home, and you’ll probably have a better idea after a few nights than from 15 minutes in a store.

Expensive or Budget

The quality of your sleep might not correspond to a price tag, as there are many considerations outside of craftsmanship and materials that might drive up the price of a mattress. Housing and displaying brands in a retail store, for example, may increase the price because the supply chain is longer, and there are more middlemen who must be paid.
A direct-to-consumer online sales model can save you thousands on the same quality of pressure relief side sleepers need. These brands can offer significant savings because the supply chain is much shorter, and oftentimes, a bed is coming directly from a factory right to your door. Beds that compress and roll into boxes also save the companies on storage and shipping.
As consumers, it’s more important to evaluate a bed in terms of its value and its suitability to your specific sleep needs rather than only thinking about the bed’s extra bells and whistles. Evaluate your sleep priorities, and shop for a product that delivers in these categories. You might find you spend a lot less money than you originally budgeted to invest.

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