Topics:Mattress Industry News Mattress Shopping Help Sleep Positions Mattress Logistics Mattress Satisfaction Mattress Benefits Improve Your Sleep In-Home Sleep Trial Mattress Policies
No one should have to wake up in pain, especially when it is caused by your mattress or pillow. With the right changes, this should be totally avoidable. To save ourselves pain and discomfort, we need to be more educated about how to select the best mattress to accommodate our sleeping position. Is sleeping on your stomach good or bad for you? Only 7 percent of adults sleep on their stomach, but why?This position can put your back into an unnatural curve, causing hyperextended ligaments and strained muscles. Many people also twist their neck, laying their head sideways on a pillow. This can lead to even more strained muscles and possibly nerve damage. Rather than straining your back and neck by sleeping this way, the National Sleep Foundation suggests switching positions. “While this is good for easing snoring, it’s bad for practically everything else...It’s best to try to choose another position, but if you must sleep on your stomach, try lying facedown to keep upper airways open — instead of with your head turned to one side — with your forehead propped up on a pillow to allow room to breathe.”To mimic the feel of sleeping on your stomach, consider sleeping on your side with a pillow against your chest or abdomen. Whether you want to change the way you sleep, you still need to find a way to sleep comfortably. You can see more information about the best options for side sleepers in our other article in this series.“Without the right mattress and pillow,” Mattress Advisor explains, “this sleeping position can be really tough on your body. It puts a ton of pressure on your spine and chest, which may lead to back and neck pain, difficulty breathing, tingling nerves, pressure point pain, and general achiness.” What mattress firmness is best for tummy sleepers? Mattresses come in all different firmness levels, ranging from ultra soft to ultra firm. What comfort qualities should you seek when sleeping on your stomach is your preferred position?Dr. Mark Mandell, a chiropractor, explains what to look for in an edition of Dynamic Chiropractic, “Sleeping on the stomach in a soft bed can stress the thoracolumbar spine. The weight of the belly and pelvis also compress the bedding. To provide support to the stomach, pelvis, and thoracolumbar areas, a firmer mattress is necessary.”“Stomach sleepers tend to fall somewhere in the middle, according to Andy Bloom and Shane Carey from Home Mattress Center. They suggest stomach sleepers use a mattress that will conform to their bodies to relieve pressure on the stomach and chest. "A high-quality mattress that is ideal for stomach sleepers will provide significant spine support, limit how far the pelvis can sink into the mattress, and rank as mildly firm,” according to Sleep Guide. Mattress Advisor explains, “The ideal mattress doesn’t allow you to sink in too deeply, but is still soft enough to provide relief at pressure points. If you find yourself sinking into the mattress, you’re likely to wake up with a sore back. Sometimes, a firm mattress with a softer top layer will also do the trick.”Sleep advice site Tuck recommends different mattress support/comfort ratings, depending on your weight. If you are a stomach sleeper weighing less than 130 pounds, you should look for a medium soft or softer mattress. Those weighing 130 to 230 should shop for a medium to medium firm mattress, and people weighing more than 230 pounds should look for medium firm or firmer mattresses. What kind of mattress is best for stomach sleepers? Mattress Advisor advises, “Multi-layered memory foam mattresses are usually comfortable for stomach sleepers, as they provide support while still lending comfort to pressure points. A firm mattress, such as an innerspring, latex, or hybrid type, can still work, especially when it has a softer top layer.This soft top layer is important for reducing pressure on your joints. Whatever you choose, you’ll want something that doesn’t break down too quickly, as a sagging mattress will not be comfortable for a stomach sleeper. Stomach sleepers will also want to stay away from waterbeds and other mattresses with extremely soft surfaces or lingering depressions.” What kind of pillow is best for a stomach sleeper? If you sleep on your stomach, “You could use the thinnest type of pillow — or even no pillow at all,” because of the potential stress this position can put on your back, according to sleep.org. The site also suggests using an additional pillow under your abdomen to keep your spine in a natural position and avoid back pain. Combining both of these pieces of advice can go a long way to getting you the restful sleep that you need. How do I avoid being stuck with a mattress I hate? Purchasing a mattress can feel like a gamble. To avoid this feeling, we suggest doing your research, considering your partner, and checking your retailer’s return policies. Do as much research as you can. Even if you plan on purchasing your mattress online, go into at least two mattress stores, and lay down on as many mattresses as possible, for up to 10 minutes. Take note of the specific models that you found comfortable and not comfortable, so you will know what qualities to look for when you shop online. Mattress Advisor points out that two rather incompatible sleeping positions are stomach and back. What if your partner is a stomach sleeper and you sleep on your back? Break up? Not so fast; you have options. “Stomach sleepers are a rare (err, special) breed. This position is the most different from others which means that some mattresses that are comfortable for stomach sleepers are not the best choice for side or back sleepers. This makes for a tricky conundrum when selecting a mattress for two. If you and your sleeping partner are not both stomach sleepers and have trouble agreeing on a mattress that’s comfortable for both, consider getting a split mattress so each person’s needs are met.” If you don’t want to get a split mattress, you can opt for magic adjustable air mattresses from brands like Sleep Number, ReST Bed, or Habitat Furnishings. Last, choose a mattress company that offers a great return policy or an in-home trial. Mattress retailers often offer an in-home trial period, meaning that you buy the mattress and sleep on it at home. If you aren’t satisfied during the predetermined term, you can exchange or return the mattress. Remember to research or ask what fees are associated with your trial. Most stores will charge fees, so be as prepared as possible. Stomach sleepers should be looking for a firmer mattress, most likely medium firm. The mattress can be of any construction type: innerspring, foam, or hybrid, but you need to have a supportive and contouring foam layer on top. Whether you decide to try transitioning to sleeping on your side, or continue to sleep on your tummy, we hope that this advice will make your shopping experience easier and your sleep more restful.
You should be able to find a mattress that lets you wake up rested, relaxed, and pain-free, no matter what position you sleep in. To improve the quality of your sleep, we have researched the specific characteristics to look for in a mattress for back, stomach, and side sleepers. After reading this article, you will know what kind of mattresses and pillows best complement your sleep position. How can sleeping on your back affect your health? Sleeping on your back is the most recommended sleep position by doctors, but why do only 8 percent of us sleep this way? Sleeping on your back can be detrimental for snoring, acid reflux, neck, and back pain. It can also cause discomfort during pregnancy. How firm should my mattress be if I sleep on my back? Sleep Guide informs us that "Back sleepers need a firmer mattress than side sleepers. Too soft and your spine curves. However, too firm and you run the risk of causing pain in your lower back or snoring." Why do back sleepers prefer a firmer mattress? “When sleeping on your back your body weight is spread out rather evenly, meaning less direct pressure points & less conformability needed to caress your body,” according to Home Mattress Center Owner Andy Bloom and Sales Professional Shane Carey. Mattress Advisor elaborates, “Back sleepers need a mattress that offers support and contour in equal measure to keep your spine in a neutral position. The support is what holds up your spine and neck, while the contour is what allows your bum and other curvy parts to rest peacefully.” The site advises that we look for a medium-firm mattress. “[Firmness] is the most important factor to keep in mind when choosing a new mattress. A soft, sink-on-in mattress will put your body in an arch position, and won’t provide you with enough support. But a mattress that tilts too far in the other direction can feel like a concrete slab to a back sleeper — this puts too much pressure on your back and shoulders, so you wake up with aches in the a.m.”You may need to look for different mattress support, depending on your weight. Mattress advice site Tuck recommends different firmness ratings, depending on how much you weigh. If you are a back sleeper weighing less than 130 pounds, you should look for a medium soft or softer mattress. Those weighing 130 to 230 should shop for a medium to medium-firm mattress, and people weighing more than 230 pounds should look toward medium firm or firmer mattresses. What kind of mattress is best for back sleepers? You can find a compatible mattress from any category: innerspring, latex, memory and poly foams, as well as hybrids. Just make sure that you are looking for a medium-firm mattress that conforms well to your body to provide consistent support and prevent your back from sinking down too much. What kind of pillow is best for a back sleeper? Back sleepers should use a pillow, or possibly two. “You may benefit from a thinner pillow (so your neck is not thrown too far forward) that has an extra loft in the bottom third to help cradle your neck. Loft just means how much lift the pillow has, so having extra loft at the bottom means it will be a little thicker in this area. Memory foam is a good option, because it molds to the shape of your head and neck, as is a water pillow, since it offers all-over consistent support,” The National Sleep Foundation explains on Sleep.org. “Also, try sleeping with another pillow under your knees to alleviate pressure on your lower back.” This under-the-knees pillow should be about the height of about two of your fists. How do I avoid buying a poor fitting mattress? Proper education and expectations are key when mattress shopping. When looking for your firm or medium firm mattress, you should be aware that the firmer the mattress, the more motion transfers. Best Mattress Reviews warns, “Be ready for motion transfer if you decide to go with very firm mattresses: Very firm mattresses have little give. That means every movement you make isn’t absorbed by the mattress. Rather, it transfers to your bed frame or partner.”Mattress Advisor points out that we often change sleeping positions during the night. “Additionally, many back sleepers cite side-sleeping as their secondary position, especially snorers whose sleeping partners beg them to roll over. Is this you? If your sleep position changes over time, or you share your bed with another person, look for an even more versatile mattress.” Consider a magic adjustable air mattress from brands like Sleep Number or Habitat Furnishings. These will allow you to adjust the comfort level of your bed. The Sleep Number even uses a technology that automatically adjusts to your body while you sleep. This is super helpful, especially for those of us that move around or switch positions while sleeping. What kind of retail mattress policies should I look out for? Check to see if a return or exchange policy is available before you purchase a mattress. More and more, retailers are offering an in-home trial that lasts at least one month. Keep in mind the fees for any return or exchange come in different shapes and sizes, whether in the form of an opt-in fee, a pick-up fee, a shipping fee, or a charge to re-select a mattress. Sometimes it is a flat rate of $100 or more, and sometimes it is a percentage of your original purchase. Know that many retailers require that you sleep on your new mattress for a couple weeks to break it in before you can initiate any return or exchange. In addition, policies vary. Some companies offer a refund, while many more allow for a one-time comfort exchange and selection of a new mattress. Choosing a mattress isn’t an exact science. Check out a retailer’s policies before you even walk into a store, or press “add to cart.” Make sure that you are looking for a medium firm mattress that offers enough support and pressure point relief for your frame when you sleep on your back.
People wake up in pain every day due to inadequate support from their mattress or pillow. To help you get a better night's sleep, we have compiled expert advice about finding the best mattresses and pillows that provide adequate support for side, back, and stomach sleepers.After finishing this article, you'll know what to look for when shopping either in-store or online for a pillow or mattress to support your body and provide proper pressure relief to side sleepers. You will know what types of mattresses and firmness comfort ratings to look for in your new bed. How can sleeping on your side affect your health? Almost 70 percent of people sleep on their side, according to a recent Consumer Reports study. While sleeping on your side is the second-best position (behind sleeping on your back and ahead of sleeping on your stomach), there are a few situations where you can definitely benefit.Sleeping on your left side is the doctor-recommended sleeping position for pregnant women and can help with snoring, sleep apnea, digestion, and heartburn. Why does it hurt to sleep on your side? Sleeping with a mattress or pillow that doesn't support you well enough can lead to pain in your hips, back, shoulder or arm. Mattress Advisor explains, “The reason sleeping on your side is not as good as sleeping on your back is because it puts pressure on your hips and shoulders.” Sleepopolis clarifies, “A mattress with great support will relieve pressure points and keep your spine, neck, and back in alignment. For side sleepers, this is especially important, since your spine may be misaligned already.” Additionally, a good mattress should contour to your body and support your spine while you sleep so that it stays in alignment and parallel to the mattress surface. When you don't get enough support, or you sink into your mattress too much, your spine is forced out of alignment, and your body will tell you.The third thing to worry about is arm, shoulder, and neck pain due to inadequate neck support. Dr. Nate Vogan tells Mattress Advisor, “If you are a side sleeper, it's important to make sure your neck is square to your shoulders and not sagging to one side. The implications of this is a muscular issue. It can create impingements of the joints in your neck. These impingements cause pain and tightness in the neck and under the arms.” What mattress firmness is best for side sleepers? You need a mattress that conforms to your body and offers pressure relief. Matt Ross from The Slumber Yard suggests, “Side sleepers generally prefer softer mattresses that are more gentle around their pressure points. Beds that are too firm tend to cause discomfort around the hips and shoulders of side sleepers. Given this, we've found that a lot of side sleepers like beds that contain memory foam top layers. Memory foam, unlike a lot of other common foams, conforms to the sleeper's body shape. As such, side sleepers feel like memory foam beds cradle their hips and shoulders extremely well.“Andy Bloom and Shane Carey from Home Mattress Center explain, “Side sleepers will lean towards a softer surface feel in a lot of cases. This is because when you are on your side you take the same amount of pressure but condense it into a smaller surface area. In this case shoulders and hips become major pressure points that will appreciate the softer surface padding that can cradle these areas and alleviate the pressure that contributes to aches/pains and tossing/turning.“Don't forget to consider your weight. Depending on your weight, different support levels will conform to your body differently. Sleep research site Tuck recommends medium, soft, or softer mattresses for side sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds, medium or medium-firm mattresses for those weighing 130 to 230 pounds, and medium-firm or firmer mattresses for people over 230 pounds. What kind of mattress is best for side sleepers? Side sleepers need a softer feeling mattress than back sleepers, but what types of mattresses are best? Should you look for a latex mattress, a memory foam mattress, a gel-infused memory foam mattress, an innerspring mattress, or a hybrid mattress? Sleep Guide explains, "Mattresses now use layers of contouring and supporting materials to give you the soft give you need for side sleeping without sagging." Along with contouring support, Sleepopolis adds, “Foam mattresses offer many advantages for side sleepers, but well-built and well-designed innerspring mattresses can be effective also.”You can choose any type of mattress, but choose a model with enough contouring and support to provide the pressure relief that you need for your hips and shoulder. What kind of pillow is best for a side sleeper? Pillows greatly impact the quality of your sleep and how you feel when you get out of bed. They can be the difference between being in pain or pain-free, but their importance is often overlooked. Experts suggest that people who sleep on their side use two pillows to avoid pain: one under your head to avoid spine, neck and shoulder pain and one between your knees to combat lower back and hip pain. When sleeping on your side, a good goal is to try to keep your ear, shoulder, and hips in alignment. This is going to be the job of your pillow too. “Pillows made from latex, shredded foam, memory foam, or other poly foam help provide consistent and stable support by responding to the varying pressures of your head and neck. You'll want to look for a pillow that is tall enough to cradle your head and neck but not so tall that you introduce a new form of pressure,” according to Sleepopolis. The National Sleep Foundation concurs, “Go for a firm pillow, and one with an extra-wide gusset to help bridge the distance between your ear and shoulder. (Instead of a pillow that has just a top panel sewed directly to a bottom panel, a gusseted pillow has rectangular panels along all four sides that increase its thickness.)” You can even find special anatomical pillows to help support your neck and avoid pain.For the between-your-knees pillow, which helps preserve your spinal alignment, chiropractor Dr. Jarrett Grunstein explains what to look for in Sleep Junkies, “I recommend the width of this pillow to be approximately the width of a fist. This will serve to keep the pelvis in a neutral position, minimizing compression or torque forces on the sacroiliac joints, which are a very common source of low back pain.” You can use a purpose-made half-moon or hourglass-shaped pillow or a body pillow between your legs. How do I avoid being stuck with a mattress I hate? When you invest in a mattress, you can get burned by a retailer with poor return or exchange policies. Mattresses have such a wide range of comfort levels because everyone's body is different. Sleepopolis has some great advice for shoppers, “Be sure to try a wide range of firmnesses when shopping for the best mattress for you. Depending on your size, weight, and body type, you may find different firmness levels affect your body differently. When trying out a new mattress, it helps to lie on it exactly as you would sleep. Try to give it at least ten minutes. Softer mattresses for side sleepers contour and react to your body very quickly, as soon as you lie down, so it may feel different after only five minutes.”When you are shopping for a mattress, especially when shopping online, see if a trial or exchange period is offered. You don't want to be stuck with a mattress that isn't a good fit. Most places will offer at least a 30-day exchange period. You also want to know in advance what the exchange or return shipping fee will be. Most retailers charge at least $100 for an exchange. Also, be aware that a full refund is not likely to be available. Following these guidelines, as well as knowing how to exchange your mattress, will go a long way to helping you sleep like a baby on your new mattress.