Sleeping Positions - Which Mattress is best?
Most people have a favourite position that they settle into when they’re getting ready to go to sleep. However, while it might be a matter of comfort, or even habit, not all sleeping positions are as beneficial as they might first feel.
While it might be true that some of our chosen sleeping positions might not be contributing to getting a good night’s sleep, choosing the right mattress for the way you sleep can help.
What is the best mattress for my sleeping position?
While there might not be such a thing as the best mattress for all sleeping positions, it is possible to buy a mattress that offers you the right support, in all the right places. Perhaps most important of all, a good mattress should offer spinal support and relieve the stress from pressure points, however you choose to sleep. Here, we’ll look at the best types of mattresses for some of the most common types of sleeping positions.
How to choose a mattress for your favourite sleeping position
If you are unsure on how to choose, we are sharing the considerations you need to take into account:
The term “supportiveness” concerns how well a mattress keeps the sleeper's body on a level, flat plane. It doesn't allow any part of the body to be lower or higher than the rest. More often than not, supportiveness is undermined by sagging of the mattress rather than the softness. The top complaint of individuals about their beds is that the mattress is sagging.
Quite often, the middle of the mattress will become compressed and be much lower than the rest. This will put a person’s back into a very unnatural position, which can cause pain and discomfort.
The term “conformability” describes how the mattress moulds, or conforms, to the body’s natural contours. Beds have good conformability if one’s entire body is supported equally. When there are gaps in support, this is a lack of conformability. This results in stress being put on part of the body, particularly the lower spine. This again can cause pain and discomfort.
An important factor in choosing the right bed is the right firmness. There are several different types
of firmness when it comes to choosing the right bed for you.
- Medium Firmness Beds tend to be firm enough to provide the proper support, but yet soft enough to provide conformability.
- Firm Beds offer great support, but have very little conformability.
- Soft Beds tend to offer great conformability, but have very little support.
The best mattress for side sleepers
Believe it or not, sleeping on your side can have a positive impact on your overall well-being. Sleeping on your left side can help with the digestion and transit of food and reduce heartburn. It can minimise the effects of sleep apnoea, and even improve the flow of blood to the brain. However, it can also lead to neck and shoulder pain and puts pressure on the knees, ankles, elbows, and hips. The best mattress for side sleepers is one that offers contouring, in addition to support. With over 74% of sleepers preferring to sleep on their side, there is a good selection of mattresses that offer just that.
Latex and memory foam mattresses are good for side sleepers, as the material reacts to pressure and temperature. For added support, hybrid mattresses such as the Silentnight Studio Memory Hybrid Mattress, are ideal. Combining all the reactive cushioning offered by memory foam, with the resistance, firmness, and tailored response of Mirapocket springs, side sleepers can enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep, without putting excessive stress on their pressure points.
The best mattress for back sleepers
While sleeping on your left side might benefit your gastric health, when it comes to spinal health, you can’t beat sleeping on your back. However, it may surprise you to know that only around 10% of us choose this as their preferred sleeping position.
Sleeping on your back has a range of benefits, but the main one is that it helps to keep the whole spine in alignment. In addition, the neck, shoulders, elbows, keeps, knees, and ankles are freed from the pressures associated with side or front sleeping.
An aligned spine can help prevent tension headaches, reduce congestion in the sinuses and even delay the development of premature wrinkles!
The best mattress for back sleepers is one that offers firm support, without allowing the hips to sink into the mattress, and keeps the spine aligned. Because there’s already less stress placed on the bony pressure points, there’s little need for a latex or memory foam topper. Instead, a comfortable pillowtop can provide all the cushioning required. The Silentnight Essential Mirapocket 1,000 Mattress doesn’t compromise on comfort, but also manages to deliver all the right support to all the right places.
The best mattress for front, stomach sleepers
While there is evidence to suggest that sleeping on your front can help to keep your airways open and combat sleep apnoea and snoring, there’s not much to recommend sleeping on your stomach. We carry most of our weight in the abdomen. So sleeping on your front doesn’t allow the spine to achieve a neutral position. Instead, it places strain on the spine and back, which can result in pain in the lower back.
In addition, front sleepers are more likely to experience neck pain. This is due to the sleeper having to twist their necks to position their faces on the pillow, so they can breathe. Over time, this repeated misalignment of the spine can increase the potential for other conditions, such as a slipped disk.
However, with more than 7% of people preferring to sleep on their fronts, beds have been developed to offer them a comfortable night’s sleep. The best mattress for front sleepers is one that provides medium-firm support, with comfortable cushioning. The SleepSoul Space 2000 Pocket Memory Pillow Top Mattress helps to prevent the sleeper from sinking too far into the mattress, which can put the spine out of alignment. It does this by using 2000 pocket springs, covered in a layer of memory foam, to provide cushioning and comfort. A pillowtop cover adds a feeling of gentle luxury.
Combination of sleep styles
Most people fall into this sleeping style category, which means that there is a lot of movement in the beds. Those who have this sleep style need beds that will be personally suitable to your individual comforts. You need one that is not too stiff when you’re on your side. But also not too soft when you roll onto your stomach. Typically, combination sleepers find that beds with innerspring pocket coils or latex foam are most comfortable.
The best mattress for back pain
Back pain can be a significant inhibitor to a good night’s sleep. The best mattress for sleep position problems caused by back pain is one that’s firm, yet responsive. Memory foam tends to have the advantage, as it contours to the body, reacting to pressure to offer tailored support.
However, in the event of chronic back pain, a firmer mattress may be required. Orthopaedic mattresses reduce the strain on key pressure points, alongside enhanced levels of support. The Bed Butler Emperor Supreme 3000 Pocket Mattress is a superb example of this. It offers 3000 pocket springs and uses natural fillings such as lamb’s wool, cashmere, silk, and cotton for comfortable levels of resistance.
Is it bad to sleep on a mattress on the floor?
Whether it’s for back pain or because their mattress is too soft, some people decide to try and reinforce their mattress’s firmness, by putting it on the floor. However, the practice, while possibly providing a short-term solution, isn’t necessarily the best thing to do to help get rid of the aches and pains of a bad back. Here are the top reasons why putting your mattress onto the floor isn’t a good idea:
1. Exposure to allergens. Your floor represents the biggest surface area in your bedroom. And, no matter how much you clean and hoover, is the area that collects the most dust. Dust attracts dust mites, which excrete antigens that can promote allergic reactions in certain sufferers. Putting your mattress on the floor gives dust-mites easier access to it. Not to mention any other creepy crawlies that might be lurking in your room!
2. Lack of ventilation. The slatted base of a bed frame allows the mattress to breathe. This ensures that excess moisture isn’t held inside. Placing your mattress on the floor cuts off one of the main ventilation points for your mattress. This can lead to the build-up of mildew or mould. Either of these can trigger allergies and, in some cases, can contribute to serious health problems.
3. Getting in and out. If you have mobility or suffer from back pain, putting your mattress on the floor could present a variety of problems when it comes to getting on or out of bed. A bedframe of the correct height can help to minimise the potential for any strains, sprains or injury caused when getting in between or out from under your bedsheets.
4. Pressure point pain. A mattress on the floor has limited elasticity, compared to those on slatted bed frames. While the increased firmness supplied by the floor might briefly help align the spine, it can also put undue stress on the pressure points. This is particularly the case with side sleepers, whose preferred position automatically puts the pressure points at risk. A contouring mattress is by far the better option.
5. Temperature. While sleeping on the ground might offer some relief to those who ‘run hot’ at night, it can cause problems. Especially for those whose bodily thermostats seem to err on the low side. Heat rises, so the floor of your room is likely to be colder than in the middle or towards the ceiling. A bed frame at the correct height should allow you to achieve the best temperature for sleep, whether you run hot or cold.
Whether you’re a wriggler or like to sleep flat on your back, choosing the right mattress for your sleeping position can have a hugely beneficial impact on your overall wellness and health. Check out our guides on what your sleeping position says about you.