Should side sleepers sleep on a firm or soft mattress?

soft or firm mattress?
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Published Charlie K ⋅ Review Editor
April 14, 2022

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4.4/5 - (15 votes)

Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging if you’re a side sleeper. You might toss and turn all night, trying to find a comfortable position. And when you finally drift off to sleep, you might wake up with aches and pains in your shoulders, hips, or back. The type of mattress you sleep on can make a big difference in how comfortable you are at night and how well you sleep.

Side sleepers are at a greater risk of back pain than the front or back sleepers

As a side sleeper, you may experience more back pain than other sleepers. This can be because the mattress is too firm — causing an unnatural curve in your spine — or too soft. The best mattress for side sleepers has enough give for spinal alignment and enough support to keep everything in place.

Side sleepers may also experience changes to the neck, shoulders, and hips when sleeping on the wrong mattress. To help alleviate these pains and create a healthier curvature while sleeping, look for firmer mattresses with softer tops that will contour your body correctly. You’ll want something firm but supportive underneath you so your spine won’t be forced into an unnatural position to compensate for sagging or sinking areas on the bed or underneath you.

Sleeping on your side can cause pressure on your shoulder, especially if you are a heavier person

Side sleeping can cause pressure on the shoulder of a side sleeper, especially if you are a heavier person – and this can be painful. Side sleepers need a medium-firm mattress rather than a soft one, as a soft mattress will lack support and cause extra strain on the shoulder. If you are experiencing shoulder pain when sleeping on your side, try putting a pillow under your shoulder to reduce pressure while maintaining proper spinal alignment.

If you have hip or shoulder pain, consider a firmer bed to keep your spine in alignment

Side sleepers with pain in their hip or shoulder joints may consider opting for a firmer bed to keep their spine in alignment. If you’re lying on your side and your mattress is too soft, the gap between your mattress and the top of your hips will create pressure points. If you have a firm mattress, this won’t happen.

It’s worth noting that while firmness level is an essential consideration for side sleepers, it is not the only one. Your body weight, height, and comfort preferences all play a role in determining how much support you need from a mattress. Because of this, it is essential to consider all factors when deciding on a new mattress purchase. Another thing to remember: if you opt for a firmer bed as a side sleeper, placing a pillow between your knees to relieve pressure on the hips and lower back can be helpful.

You may want to use a pillow between your knees to help relieve pressure on the lower back and hips.

You can place a pillow between your knees when sleeping on your side. This helps to keep the spine aligned and prevents the hips from tilting up and down and using a pillow to keep the head slightly elevated and aligned with the spine during sleep. A firm pillow of regular size is usually sufficient, although some people prefer to use more than one pillow when lying on their side.

A softer mattress can help cushion the pressure points in the hips and shoulders

Softer mattresses can help cushion the pressure points in your hips and shoulders when lying on your side. They also tend to be more comfortable because they conform to the shape of your body. That’s a good thing if you want to sink into a mattress. The downside is that softer mattresses don’t provide as much support for the back. If you have spinal problems or weigh over 130 pounds, you may not get enough support from a soft mattress.

If you’re in a relationship where one partner is a side sleeper, it’s best to choose one mattress with a middle-ground option of firmness so neither partner feels like they have decided on something that doesn’t work for them.

So you sleep on your side, but your partner sleeps on their back. If this sounds like you and your bedmate, it’s best to choose one mattress with a middle-ground option of firmness so neither partner feels like they have decided on something that doesn’t work for them. As a rule of thumb, go somewhere in the middle of the firmness scale when in doubt—but remember that this is only a general guideline. If both of you are side sleepers, opt for very soft support for hips and shoulders.

The bottom line here is that the feel of each mattress is subjective. What one person finds comfortable could be excruciatingly uncomfortable for another. Other factors to consider, such as height and weight, can also affect how comfortable a mattress feels to an individual sleeper (for example, if you’re heavier or lighter than average). Ultimately, what matters most is how it feels to YOU.

Side sleepers should choose a medium-firm bed supporting their shoulders and hips while keeping their spine aligned.

We recommend a medium-firm mattress for side sleepers. Medium-firm mattresses are firm enough to support your shoulders and hips while still being soft enough to cradle the curves of your body. A medium-firm mattress will also provide sufficient give for the spine to stay aligned. Side sleeping can be painful because weight distribution tends to press more pressure on specific body parts. The best way to relieve this pressure is with a mattress that can reduce these points. A medium-firm mattress is most likely to do that since it provides ideal support without undue firmness, a characteristic of firmer mattresses.

Final Thoughts

There is no definitive answer regarding choosing a firm or soft mattress for side sleepers. It ultimately depends on what feels comfortable for you and other factors such as weight and height. If unsure, a medium-firm mattress is a good option, as it supports the hips and shoulders while keeping the spine aligned. It would be best to consider that side sleepers often have a partner who sleeps on their back. In this case, it might be best to choose a mattress with a middle-ground option of firmness so that both partners are happy with the decision.

Mattress toppers come in various firmnesses, so you can find one that suits your needs. The most important thing is to choose a mattress that feels comfortable for you. A mattress topper can be a good option for those who want to switch up the firmness of their mattress without having to buy a new one. Consider your weight, height, and any other health conditions you may have before making a decision. And remember, if you’re unsure, a medium-firm mattress is an excellent place to start.

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