When it comes to mattresses, side sleepers have a lot of needs. Sleeping on your side can put tremendous pressure on your hips, shoulders, and neck, causing tension and pain throughout your spine. Mattresses that are too soft allow significant spine curvature, and mattresses that are too firm cut off blood circulation. As a result, side sleepers are like Goldilocks, needing a mattress that is soft enough to relieve pressure, but firm enough to support the natural alignment of the spine.
Here are four types of mattresses that are ideal for side sleepers:
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1. Memory Foam
Memory foam has been around for a long time, as it was invented by NASA-funded scientists in 1966 to keep test pilots comfortable during flights. Since then, memory foam has come a long way with new technology and materials that make it an ideal choice for side sleepers. Memory foam uses high-density polyurethane foam to support one's body, and it contours to the shape of the sleeper.
When a person lies down on a memory foam mattress, their body heat and weight compress the memory foam, molding it to their individual curvature and shape. Memory foam reverts to its original shape when weight, body heat, and pressure are removed, preserving its elasticity and function.
Memory foam mattresses are a great option for side sleepers because they can be highly customizable to suit a person's needs when it comes to firmness and feel. High density memory foam is known for its incredible ability to contour to a sleeper's body, yet relieve pressure points on hips and shoulders at the same time. For side sleepers, this is a dream come true.
2. Gel Mattresses
Similar to memory foam, mattresses made from gel tend to be softer than traditional spring mattresses.
Typically, gel mattresses are even softer than those made from memory foam. Gel mattresses are comprised of three layers: a top layer of gel memory foam, and two support layers of ventilated memory foam. By design, these ventilated memory foam layers disperse warmth to prevent overheating, a problem common to memory foam mattresses. The increased airflow provided by gel mattresses can also help keep the mattress fresh, clean, and free of sweat.
Gel mattresses are relatively more expensive than traditional memory foam, but they can provide priceless benefits to those who seek a softer mattress that reduces overheating.
3. Latex Mattress
Latex mattresses utilize latex foam as the support system. Three levels of available firmness allow you to choose the hardness and feel that is right for your body, but we recommend the "soft" type for side sleepers.
Latex mattresses shine in their ability to provide comfort while avoiding the typical sinking feeling that many traditional memory foam mattresses succumb to. Other fillings can be added to latex mattresses that can change the firmness and feel, but the thicker the layer of latex, the greater the quality and more luxurious the mattress.
Cleveland Clinic estimates that about 1% of the general population is allergic to latex, and that number is even higher among healthcare workers who are constantly exposed to it. Fortunately, most people who have latex sensitivity don't have to miss out on the benefits latex mattresses can offer, as latex mattresses are processed with a five-stage washing procedure that removes most of the particles that cause irritation.
Even still, it's important to be careful when purchasing a latex mattress if you have had latex sensitivity in the past.
4. Memory Foam Hybrid
Want to have your cake and eat it too? Memory foam hybrid mattresses combine the best features of several types of mattresses, making them an exceptional choice for side sleepers. Some hybrid mattresses combine memory foam or latex with foams that contain gel, so you get comfort, cooling, and contour.
Traditional spring mattresses can provide firm support, but can also cause pain to pressure points. Hybrid mattresses, on the other hand, can give sleepers the support of a spring mattress, with the pressure relief of a gel, latex, or memory foam mattress. It's hard to go wrong with a hybrid mattress for side sleepers.
These four types of mattresses are superb choices for side sleepers, as they conform to your body, align your spine, and take pressure off your hips and shoulders. If you're ready for a new mattress, please contact us today. We are happy to help you find the mattress that will provide you with incredible sleep night after night.