Before you go out and buy the first mattress that catches your eye, there is a HUGE factor to consider here – your sleeping style.
How you sleep plays a big role in how comfortable you feel on any given mattress. Side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers all have different needs. So while mattresses may work more or less for everyone, but there are some specifics to keep in mind.
The differences in sleepers
To be honest, everyone sleeps slightly differently. No two people will have the same experience on any given mattress, even if they sleep the same way.
With that said, there are three main types of sleepers.
Side sleepers make up the majority of sleepers out there. They sleep on one or both sides throughout the night, and have a few specific sleeping needs:
- Weight distribution – Sleeping on your side can create pressure points where the body contacts the mattress most. This is because sleeping on the side causes poor weight distribution compared to other sleep types.
- Back pain – Side sleeping can cause an odd curve in the spine unless the person helps correct it with the correct mattress and use of supportive pillows
- Tension – Side sleeping affects the natural curves of the body, creating tremendous tension in the back, shoulders, hips, and even knees. Because of this, side sleepers have their work cut out for them to stay comfortable and avoid injury, and need a mattress to support these efforts
The best mattresses for side sleepers include:
Latex – Latex mattresses top the list for side sleepers. They are supportive without adding too much weight to the pressure points in the body.
Memory foam – Similar to latex, memory foam is soft and supportive. It may be hot for some people, though there are some cooling options on the market as well
Gel foam – Another soft, supportive option. Gel foam may be cooler than memory foam in people who have an issue with hot sleeping.
While all of these foams are great options, a Tri-Zoned mattress offers more support in the center third of the mattress allowing for proper spinal alignment.
Next up is back sleepers. Back sleepers tend to distribute weight much better than side sleepers, though sleeping on the back does not support the spines natural curve, which may lead to pain or injury.
Back sleepers should also use pillows to sleep, and most benefit from having one under their knees to help keep that natural curve in the back.
Back sleepers have the most options out there. As weight distribution and pressure points are not an issue, the main thing back sleepers will need to look for is firmness and support. Back sleepers need a medium-firm to firm mattress. Everything else is a matter of preference.
Some back sleepers may feel like they are in heaven on a stiff innerspring mattress. Others like a medium-firm latex mattress. There are even options specifically for back sleepers which have targeted lumbar support to keep the spines natural curve.
Stomach sleeping is not recommended. It can lead to serious problems in the spine without proper support and use of pillows. Stomach sleepers are at a much greater risk for spinal injury and chronic pain. Most experts will simply recommend a person find a new sleeping position.
With that said, some people simply have to sleep on their stomach. For these people, the most important thing is to reduce pressure on the spine.
Stomach sleepers will need to make use of pillows to support their lower spine and remove pressure in the area.
The most important thing for stomach sleepers is a very firm mattress. The more firm the better in these cases. The firmness reduces the pressure and buckling in the spine, neck, and shoulders.
The best mattresses for stomach sleepers often include very firm innerspring mattresses, a dense memory foam, or a firm individual pocketed coil mattress.
For all sleepers
While these basic tips can help certain sleepers find their ideal mattress, the most important factor in choosing a mattress is trying it out. Look for a seller that will allow a 30 day trial period on their mattresses. Luckily most sellers offer this.
This trial period can give you a much better idea of what it will actually feel like sleeping on the mattress long-term.