Are you a back, stomach or side sleeper? If you sleep on your side, you’re in the majority. According to WebMD.com, 63 percent of Americans are side sleepers. By comparison, 16 percent of Americans sleep on their stomach, and only 14 percent are back sleepers. (We’re not quite sure about the remaining seven percent — they must sleep standing up or on their heads!)
Most people do not consciously choose their sleep position. Although you may sleep in each of the positions at different times during the night, you’ll tend to gravitate to the one that feels natural. Specifically, you will assume the sleep position that enables you to breathe freely.
The type and condition of a mattress is also a contributing factor. An old, worn-out mattress that sags in the middle, for instance, can make side or stomach sleeping more difficult.
Finding a Match Between Mattress and Sleep Position
These days, bedding manufacturers produce customized mattresses for all types of sleeping positions. This means you have a choice between a back, side or stomach sleeper mattress. Choosing the right mattress for your natural sleep position can mean the difference between enjoying sound, restful sleep or tossing and turning all night long.
Softness Is the Key When Choosing a Side Sleeper Mattress
If you’re like most Americans and tend to be a side sleeper, mattresses that are softer are likely to be your best alternative. Why? When you lie on your side, it places you spine in its most natural position. A softer side sleeper mattress will provide better support for the natural curvature of your body and keep you spine properly aligned, enabling you to sleep more comfortably. If you’re a side sleeper, and you wake up with hip or shoulder pain or stiffness, there’s a good chance your mattress is too firm.
Consider a Memory Foam or Latex Mattress
Many sleep experts suggest that memory foam mattresses or latex mattresses are best for side sleepers. Memory foam is designed to cradle specific body pressure points and provide even weight distribution. Latex will support the natural curve of your body as you sleep.