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There’s something really comfortable about curling up on your side, which, perhaps, explains why the vast majority of adults sleep this way. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 15 percent of adults sleep on their side with their legs outstretched, while another 41 percent sleep in the fetal position, with their back hunched and their legs bent. Side sleeping is particularly common among pregnant women, who might otherwise struggle to accommodate their growing baby bumps. With the right mattress, side sleeping can provide superior rest, all while improving circulation and preventing snoring.
Benefits of Side Sleeping
Side sleeping just feels natural. It just feels nice to curl up in the fetal position and drift off to sleep. For pregnant women, this position is particularly beneficial, as it prevents the fetus from pressing up against the liver. Side sleeping is also a good option for those who tend to snore. If the spine is kept elongated, this position can minimize sleep-associated neck and back pain. Some side sleepers also report fewer acid reflux symptoms, as compared to other positions. Side sleeping may also be the most beneficial for the brain; research from Stony Brook University indicates that lateral (side) sleepers are more effectively able to rid their brain of the waste that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. This waste is discarded via the glymphatic pathway, which is most efficient at night, and especially while the body is in a lateral position.
Challenges Faced By Side Sleepers
Side sleeping can be incredibly comfortable, but there are a few notable drawbacks. When sleeping in a fetal position, breathing can be restricted. Those worried about the visual signs of aging tend to avoid side sleeping, as spending so many hours with the face crunched up on a pillow can lead to wrinkles. For side sleepers of all ages — but particularly those above the age of 50 — curling up in the fetal position can lead to soreness in the morning. This can be prevented to some extent by placing a pillow between the knees, but a supportive mattress is also important.
Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers
Side sleepers typically prefer a softer surface, as this allows them to sink into the mattress while they are curled up on their side. Ideally, a softer mattress will also accommodate the natural curve of the spine and maintain proper alignment throughout the night. Memory foam’s superior contouring makes it an especially wise option for side sleepers, who require as little pressure on the shoulders and hips as possible.
Best Overall Mattress for Side Sleepers
Idle Gel Plush
Hands Down the Idle Gel Plush is designed with side sleepers in mind. This mattress has foam that will provide maximum contouring and zero motion transfer. It is one of the few mattresses where you can sleep on one side all night without having to change positions. It is very well constructed and will contour extremely well for sleepers of all sizes. Idle consistently ranks among reviewers as one of the best mattress brands online. Best of all you get an 18-month trial! This is the ultimate sleep experience for side sleepers and should be your first choice. If for some reason you don’t like it, Idle has excellent customer service and will handle the return, hassle-free.
Best Luxury Mattress for Side Sleepers
Brentwood Home Oceano
The Oceano Mattress from Brentwood Home sells itself. The quality of materials and construction make it a thing of beauty and it feels as good as it looks. You get a great hug with this mattress but also quick recovery due to its pocket coil base layer and a layer of micro coils on top of that. Throw in the 2-inch gel foam layer, natural wool fire barrier, and hand tufting and you have a mattress that sets the bar for quality at this price point. I have had the Oceano in the Sleep Sherpa showroom for the past 6 weeks and everyone gravitates to it. A large portion of side sleepers end up purchasing it as well.
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Best Natural Mattress for Side Sleepers
The Avocado mattress has dozens of certifications and awards. It is one of the “greenest” mattresses you can buy. It is also one of the most comfortable and well made. This mattress has GOLS certified latex, organic cotton, New Zealand wool and quality steel coils. On top of that, it is hand-tufted and made in a GOTS certified factory. You can rest easy knowing that you are sleeping on an all-natural mattress made with quality and care. The pillow top version is made with an extra layer of latex at the top for added contouring for side sleepers. Avocado also has an industry-leading, 1-year trial, so you get to see how this mattress performs for an entire year to see if its right for you.
Best Spring Mattress for Side Sleepers
For those struggling to choose between the contouring abilities of memory foam and the greater support and resilience of innerspring mattresses, there is a third and arguably better option: hybrid mattresses. These feature a unique combination of foam and innerspring construction. Winkbeds combine these two distinctive sleep technologies to great effect, thereby ensuring that side sleepers enjoy both the plush feel of foam and the extra support associated with spring mattresses. Side sleepers tend to gravitate towards the outer perimeter of their mattresses; Winkbeds addresses this with its dense perimeter of high-ILD foam, which is designed to prevent the sagging that might occur over time with a lower-quality mattress.
No one mattress is perfect for every type of sleeper — even preferences among side sleepers can vary considerably. In general, however, side sleepers do best with slightly softer mattresses that avoid placing pressure on the shoulders or hips. No matter your preferred position, the right mattress can have a huge impact on your health and happiness, so choose carefully.
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Best Performance Mattress for Side Sleepers
You know who sleeps on a Molecule mattress? Tom Brady from the New England Patriots. If it’s good enough for Tom Brady, chances are it will be for you too. This mattress is extremely breathable for an all-foam mattress which means you won’t wake up sweaty at night or throwing off covers. By keeping your temperature regulated you will stay asleep longer and get more restorative sleep. But temperature aside, this mattress is just plain wonderful for side sleepers. It has excellent pressure relief without being too soft or firm which is a hard balance to strike in an all-foam mattress.
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Best Budget Mattress for Side Sleepers:
The Zinus Green Tea mattress is your best bet for a mattress under $500. This mattress comes in different thickness levels and for side sleepers, you need to get the 12-inch version. The extra layering provides a super cozy experience. You will sink deep into this mattress and it will give you that sleeping on a cloud feeling. But beware, all that cradling comes with a cost. This mattress will sleep warmer because your body will be further into the mattress. I think it’s a small price to pay for all the comfort you get at an unbeatable price.
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As always contact me direct at: [email protected] if you need any further guidance.