When a person sleeps on his/her side the entire body weight now rests on a much smaller surface area. This places a substantial amount of pressure on the hips and shoulders. In fact healthy trim men with broad shoulders and small waists suffer the highest level of shoulder pressure and need softer mattresses to align the spine for maximum comfort.
The two key features to look out for are
First off, let’s talk about firmness. For side sleepers, you’re going to want to look for something soft to moderate on the firmness scale. A soft mattress (with great support) will help to relieve pressure from your neck and back. Firmness is perhaps the most important attribute for side sleepers. This is due to the very nature of the position. In order to provide proper support the mattress must be able to contour to the curves of your body (yes, men, even you have curves on your side). A soft or medium firmness mattress will allow your body to sink into the mattress a bit more, which will let the mattress contour to your shape. Side sleepers typically need a soft to medium firmness. Look for a mattress in the 3-6 out of 10 firmness range.
Only a mattress of sufficient thickness can provide adequate support for a side sleeper. The concentrated pressure points from shoulders and hips need to sink deep enough for the necessary support. This will relieve the 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.
The actual position of side sleepers can drastically range. Some of the most popular ones include forms like:
The log – Legs fully extended
The sprinter – One leg straight, one leg bent
The fetal – Both legs curled at the knee
Due to the nightly variation of a side sleeper’s position, support is key to ensure your mattress is properly contouring to your body throughout the night.
Good pillows are just as important as a good mattress for side sleepers. You may have an exceptionally well made and comfortable mattress, but without a good pillow you may still find that your sleeping experience is less than ideal. A thicker quality pillow is critically important for side sleepers due to the increased (and somewhat more complex) support needs. The pillow needs to fill the space between the side of the shoulder and the neck and head to prevent the neck and spine from misaligning. 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. Pillows are 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.
Additionally, many side sleepers use pillows or bolsters between their legs. This can help to resist pelvic rotation, while also relieving lower back pressure.
Our ShinJu II mattress is ideal for side sleepers.