Finding The Best Mattress for You
The best mattress for side sleepers should make personal preference and your own body’s unique needs a priority.
Nevertheless, there are some key considerations that our sleep specialists will recommend when helping you find the very best mattress for your preferred side sleeping position.
In spite of the fact that sleeping on your back is thought to be the ideal position for spinal support, sleep studies have revealed that side sleepers are gaining the most health benefits overall–provided that they have the right mattress and pillow(s) to support a proper sleeping posture.
While spinal alignment remains the emphasis on sleep position, sleep scientists have found that other functions of the body are impacted, in a positive way, when sleeping in the lateral (side) position. To add to this is the interesting fact that side sleeping is intrinsically the most preferred in humans and most animals–even in the wild. This inclination could be explained by a whole range of physiological benefits our body gains from side sleeping.
For starters, side sleeping can help alleviate snoring and symptoms of sleep apnea.
Snoring happens when the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating and disruptive sound as you breathe. Lying on your back causes this collapse. Sleeping on your side does not. Side sleeping also can help improve digestion and soothe heartburn or acid reflux. This is because of the positioning of your digestive organs.
Another compelling newer finding is how the glymphatic system improves its functioning with the lateral sleeping position. This is perivascular system that clears wastes and harmful chemicals from the central nervous system (CNS).
The glymphatic system consists of a brainwide pathway that serves to rid the brain of harmful solutes. Since it is only during sleep that the glymphatic pathway really goes to work, your sleeping position has been found to play a role in it. Studies in progress indicate that the efficiency of waste clean up in the brain up increases up to to 30-40% in the side sleeping position.
Since a build up of wastes in your brain could lead to neurological diseases, side sleeping may prove to be a diligent habit to help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases!
How to Sleep on Your Side
As we have learned, sleeping on your side is a good thing! But side sleeping in the wrong way can alternately cause or aggravate pain, back conditions or worse. A bending spine is a straining spine.
The muscles and ligaments of your back need to heal themselves each night during sleep. However, this restoration can’t occur unless your spine is properly aligned during its restorative period. Follow your insticts and comfort, but combine this with recommendations for sleeping on your side the right way.
Starting with your head and neck, your mattress and pillow should maintain a lateral line from the top of your head to the length of your spine. This means the mattress should absorb the weight of your head and shoulder while the pillow supports under the curve of your neck, preventing a bend in your neck. Similarly, if there’s a gap between your waist and the mattress, putting a small pillow in that space will give added support.
At the very least, side sleepers are encouraged to put a pillow between their knees because this helps to achieve even weight distribution for good sleeping posture. Side sleepers can also experiment with “hugging” another pillow for additional comfort and support.
- Sleeping on your left side, specifically, has some additional benefits that sleeping on your right side doesn’t accomplish as well.
- Sleeping on your left side will pamper your gut. When you sleep on that side, gravity consolidates any contents in your stomach into a single clump. This allows your stomach to more effectively digest your food. Whereas, a right-side sleeper’s stomach contents can’t fight against gravity and are distributed unevenly in the stomach, hindering digestion.
- Heartburn symptoms are optimally reduced by left side sleeping coupled with using bed risers at the head of your bed. Angling your bed this way best allows gravity to work against rising gastric juices instead of compromising back alignment by using extra pillows under your head.
- Sleeping on your left side is also recommended for pregnant women. While the lateral position on any side improves circulation to your growing baby, sleeping on your left side also prevents your uterus from pressing against your liver
Pillows for Side Sleepers
The two pillars of spine alignment are your mattress AND your pillow(s). In fact, a side sleeper will benefit from having more than one pillow to help support your body’s curved areas.
Both a head pillow to support the curve of your neck and at least one additional pillow to put between your knees are necessary for maximum spine alignment.
Supportive pillows are just as important as a supportive mattress!
Those with ill-fitting pillows inevitably will suffer frequent shoulder, neck, and back discomfort from sleeping on your side. And just like your mattress, your best pillow fit will be partly preference and partly unique to your body’s shape.
Pillows vary in their support design, so you’ll want to try out different pillows with your best side sleeping mattress selection to make sure they pair well together. Purchasing them together at one of our Mattress Express store locations will also give you the benefit of having one of our sleep specialists assist in making sure you construct proper spine alignment with your pillow accessory.
Mattress Express has a wide selection of pillows to choose from making one stop shopping easy.
For example, the Malouf Z pillow collection has quality designs that are not only made specifically for side sleepers, such as the Shoulder Zoned Dough® Memory Foam, the Contour Dough™, and the L-Shape Gel Dough® pillows, some designs also offer a unique aromatherapy feature: pillows infused with relaxing fragrances, including chamomile, pepperment and lavender.
These pillows’ ergonomic designs help to correctly align the spine by filling in where your body curves to further relieve pressure points.
Mattresses for Side Sleepers
As a side sleeper, you’ll want to put focus on your hips, core, neck and shoulders when searching for the best mattress for YOU.
There is no universal best mattress fit for side sleepers, but your selection needs to take into account the body’s fundamental posture needs when it comes to getting truly restful sleep.
First and foremost, your mattress should offer just the right amount of give for pressure points to protect your joint’s and bone’s natural architecture. This means your curved areas and pressure points are prevented from bending the spine. Spine curvature and misalignment is an unnatural position, and if the body is locked up like this for an extended period because of a bad mattress, sleep disruption and back pain can result.
When we rotate positions while sleeping, we shift all of our body weight around and the burden of gravity causes some areas to weigh down more than others, pushing our hips and shoulders deeper into the mattress. If the mattress doesn’t minimize or eliminate those pressure points, then the mattress is probably too hard for your side sleeping needs. Or, if you’re sinking in too much, your spine will be curved and strained and the mattress is probably too soft.
When side sleepers rotate from one position to the next, the transition and how your body feels once you’ve rotated should be accommodated by your mattress. The best mattress technology and firmness will successfully balance between close body conforming and maximum support.
While Velika mattresses cater to all body types and sleeping positions, they specialize in a side sleeper design.
What makes this design unique is the Duvet included on top of your mattress. It gives you the choice of two comfort levels, from Ultra Plush to Medium Firm. The Ultra Plush side of the duvet delivers a sumptuous feeling like floating on a cloud keeping the side sleeper’s pressure points evenly cradled and spine alignment maintained.
Additionally, body changes may have you craving a firmer feel. You can simply flip the duvet over to the medium firm side allowing you to customize to your needs.