Bed Smart 101
What position do you sleep in?
Side sleeper, back sleeper, stomach sleeper, or all of the above! Every person sleeps in his or her own different, unique way. When shopping for a mattress, most people aren’t considering their sleeping position or the implications of not buying the right mattress for their sleep style. Neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, or other bodily discomfort can occur if you forget to consider the specific needs and firmness level for your unique sleep style.
Side sleepers tend to move around while they snooze, sleeping in various positions on their sides. Many times side sleepers will rotate between sleeping with both legs straight, to one straight and one bent, to both bent. With this constant leg and arm movement, side sleepers need a mattress with soft to medium firmness and plenty of support. A softer mattress will deter pressure-induced discomfort in the neck, shoulders, and back, and allow for circulation in the arms when underneath the body. No more numb, tingly fingers keeping you awake!
In addition, firmness and feel is incredibly important for side sleepers, as they need a mattress that will be soft enough to contour to the curves of the body. If the mattress is too firm, it won’t contour to the body’s curves and result in lacking support that can create pressure points leading to lower back pain, neck pain, or shoulder pain.
Back sleepers can select from a wide array of mattresses, including firm, extra firm and more. Depending on individual comfort preferences, back sleepers may want to consider a sleeping surface with slight padding to provide cushioning for shoulders and hips, and help prevent pressure discomfort in those areas. Firmness and support are both critical for back sleepers, as mattress that is lacking support can create pressure pain where heavier parts of the body sink into the mattress. To make matters worse, deficient support can throw off spinal alignment and potentially lead to prolonged back problems. Ouch!
The ideal mattress firmness for back sleepers is one that provides enough softness to eliminate pressure points, but still has sufficient support for the spine.
Stomach sleepers should focus on support and maintaining proper spinal alignment. Sleeping on the stomach concentrates pressure on the torso, and a too-soft sleep surface can cause the back to bow into the shape of a U. Hello unwelcome back pain! For this reason, stomach sleepers need a firmer mattress that provides equal support across the body.
In addition, stomach sleepers need to be as flat as possible when they sleep. Investing in an extra soft pillow will allow the head to sink to the right level and keep the neck properly supported. Firm, high-loft pillows will elevate the head beyond the spine, leading to discomfort in the neck and lower back.