Everyone has a different preferred sleeping position, and even among couples sharing a bed – and therefore sharing the same type of mattress – sleep positions can vary. While sleep positions may vary widely between individuals, though, one thing that sleep scientists do know is that most people are quite consistent in their preferences, and they don’t change much during our adult lives. To accommodate those sleep preferences, then, it’s important to choose the right type of mattress, but what mattress suits your sleep style best?
Sleep Style: On Your Back
Only eight percent of people sleep on their backs, but in many ways it’s the healthiest way to sleep. That’s because, when sleeping on your back, your neck and spine are in a neutral position and you’re less likely to experience complaints like acid reflux. Though some people experience worsened snoring and increased sleep apnea when resting on their backs, for the majority of people, sleeping on your back is a healthy choice; the problem is that most people just aren’t comfortable that way.
People who sleep exclusively on their backs often do well with a latex mattress since it’s firmer than many other mattresses on the market. If you’re trying to minimize back strain and maintain that neutral, high-support position, you don’t want to be sinking into a soft foam mattress.
It should be noted that people who sleep on their back need to be sure that they choose the right pillow since there are fewer ways that they can compensate for head and neck comfort. Proper head and neck support can also reduce snoring and reflux.
Sleep Style: On Your Stomach
If sleeping on your back is the best position for your health, sleeping on your stomach is probably the worst option. It’s nearly impossible to maintain a neutral spine position on your stomach, it can cause or exacerbate nerve pain, and puts pressure on the muscles and joints. In other words, if you already have even mild chronic pain, sleeping on your stomach is likely to make it worse. Worse of all, in order to sleep on your stomach, you have to wrench your head to one side – and generally leave it there for hours – and you’ll feel that in the morning.
Of course, if you naturally sleep on your stomach, there probably isn’t much that you can do about that, and sleeping in this position can actually reduce snoring. Perhaps what’s most interesting about stomach sleepers, though, is how much they have in common with those who sleep on their backs. First, stomach sleepers also tend to sleep well on sturdy latex mattresses; they also need a good pillow to help ensure neck and spine alignment. Still, if you can slowly make a shift toward sleeping on your side, possibly with the help of a body pillow or other support, that could be better for your overall health.
Sleep Style: On Your Side
Side sleepers make up the majority of the population, with more than 40% of people sleeping on their side. There are, however, several variations on this position. For example, while some people sleep in a fairly neutral position on their sides – think, arms down and near your body, others, especially women, tend to curl into the fetal position. In either case, a memory foam mattress is often the best bet, as the material’s responsiveness can help minimize muscle and joint pain.
Sleeping on your side, especially in the fetal position, can be especially comfortable for pregnant women, as the position maximizes fetal blood flow, can reduce swelling in the ankles and feet, and decrease acid reflux. If you favor the fetal position, though, it’s worth trying to slightly loosen the amount you curl up to reduce the strain on your back. Sleeping in too much of a curled position can also place unnecessary strain diaphragm, making it hard to sleep.
Side sleepers fair best with a memory foam mattress, while stomach and back sleepers are more comfortable on latex, but these aren’t hard and fast rules. There are a number of other factors that can influence overall sleep comfort, including heat sensitivity, health conditions, and what part of the bed you prefer to sleep on.
Most people, regardless of position preference, sleep better in cooler environments because our body temperature decreases during the first few hours of sleep. Choosing a temperature neutral mattress like Perfect Cloud’s memory foam mattresses can help provide for cooler conditions, but since our heads are especially temperature sensitive, supplementing that with a temperature-neutral gel pillow can also help. This is particularly the case for side sleepers whose faces are directly in contact with the pillow and who are more likely to overheat. Flipping the pillow to the cool side is a real phenomenon!
Another factor you should consider when choosing a mattress is where on the bed you sleep. Many couples find that, when sharing a bed, they tend to sleep closer to the outer edges, but that can be a problem if you have a memory foam mattress because there isn’t enough support – you may feel like you’re just about to slide right off the edge. If that’s the case in your bedroom, you might want to opt for a latex or hybrid mattress or at least look for one made from a higher density foam, minimizing the feeling that you’re about to fall out of bed.
Finding The Sweet Spot
If you find yourself waking up in the morning feeling tired and achy, your mattress may be the source of the problem, but the issue could also be your pillow or another structural issue. Some side sleepers, for example, need the added support of a pillow between their knees in order to take strain off of their backs, and certain health problems, including digestive issues and sciatica can also contribute to discomfort. That’s why your best option might just be to explore the different mattresses and pillows on the market.
At Perfect Cloud, we’re committed to providing you with the optimal sleep conditions, which is why our mattresses come with a 10-year warranty. With the majority of Americans suffering from sleep deprivation, you can’t afford to further compromise the quality of your rest. By trusting Perfect Cloud with your comfort, though, you give yourself the gift of sweet dreams – guaranteed.