Studies show that approximately 60% of the population consider themselves side sleepers. Being a side sleeper myself, I’d like to share some quick tips on how to find the best mattress for your side sleeping position.
First, it’s worth noting the biggest mistake side sleepers make when shopping for a new mattress is choosing a mattress that is too firm. The reason for this is because we’ve been told most of our lives that a firmer mattress is better for our back. This misconception leads us to fear soft mattresses.
To avoid that big mistake, I have created three things everyone needs to test for when trying out mattresses, especially for us side sleepers. The three things you want to test for are:
- Pressure Relief
Yes, I know this is a no-brainer, but it still needs to be discussed. Now, of course, comfort is subjective and what may be comfortable for me as a side sleeper may not be comfortable for you as a side sleeper.
When trying out a mattress in the store we typically spend the least amount of time testing the comfort level because most people can tell pretty quickly if the mattress is comfortable or not. Typically, this can be anywhere from 1-5 minutes.
If it feels too firm or too soft for your liking when you lie down, then get up and don’t waste your time trying it any longer. However, make sure you at least lie down, because although it may feel really soft or firm when you sit on the edge, each mattress is designed differently and made to support your whole body as opposed to a concentrated area.
What you are looking for is a mattress that gives you that “ahhh” feeling. you may notice a little smile start to form on your face if you have found the right comfort level.
Pressure relief is the most important for side sleepers. As a side sleeper, we disburse our weight disproportionately since our hips and our shoulders are our widest and heaviest sections in our body while sleeping.
Typically, if a side sleeper has a mattress that is too firm, they may experience hip pain or shoulder pain. The mattress is pushing against their hips and shoulders rather than cradling it to help alleviate that pressure.
The pressure relief test phase takes approximately 5-10 minutes. What you are looking for is to see if you are feeling pressure in any one spot, particularly in your hips or shoulders.
Support (spinal alignment)
The goal when testing this out is to make sure the mattress is providing your spine with the proper support. If you are currently waking up with back pain, it may be a sign your mattress isn’t providing you with the proper support it needs. If it’s too firm, your body doesn’t have the ability to sink in enough to relieve the pressure points as well as properly align the spine.
Likewise, if it’s too soft, your hips may be dropping too much into the mattress and putting stress on your lower back. This phase takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes to test if you are getting the proper support. Typically for side sleepers, if it’s too soft you’ll start to notice pain or discomfort in your lower back. See the diagram below for proper spinal alignment.
In order to save yourself some time while shopping for a mattress, the first test for comfort level in order to eliminate a good portion of the mattresses in the store. Once you have found 2-3 different mattress models you feel are comfortable then take the 10-15 minutes on each one to test for both pressure relief and proper support.
If you focus on these three things when testing out mattresses in a store you’ll drastically improve your chances of finding the right mattress for you. Most importantly, be sure to test the mattress ON YOUR SIDE. Most people in mattress stores test mattresses on their backs even when they’re not back sleepers.
If you want a complete guide to mattress shopping click the image below to download it for free.