We spend one-third of our lives sleeping so it’s no wonder so much discussion focuses on how to sleep better. Of course, a quality mattress helps. But with so many options, how does one take the guesswork out of the purchase? Perhaps the best mattress is one most aligned with your style of sleep.
The Back Rester
Very few people rest on their back while sleeping, though it’s one of the better positions since one’s legs, back, and upper body are aligned and no pressure is on any one particular portion. Plus, it helps reduce episodes of acid reflux (Just be sure your head is above your esophagus.) Those who snore, however, may do so even louder when in this position.
The Side Sleeper
The side position is popular with spouses of snorers. Since a sleeper’s airway is clearer, there’s less chance of snoring. The spine is elongated in this position, so there should be less neck and back pain. Some believe that pressing your face against the pillow all night can produce wrinkles. Also, restless sleep happens due to a stiff neck and the need to face the other side.
The Fetal Flopper
We reside in the womb in the fetal position. Perhaps it’s the reason why a significant portion of people sleep that way. The pose is great for snorers and is especially good for those who are pregnant for it promotes circulation in the body and fetus. Some reduce strain on their back by placing a pillow between their knees. While it may feel comfortable to fall asleep, the position could agitate joint pain or make one feel sore upon waking.
The Stomach Slumberer
Lastly, those who rest on their stomach are unlikely to snore but there are few benefits associated with the posture. It’s not one of the top sleeping positions. Firstly, it’s hard to keep one’s spine in a neutral position. Secondly, the position puts added pressure on muscles and joints that can lead to numbness and tingling. Thirdly, being on your stomach with your head smashed in the pillow makes for obstructed and awkward breathing.
Form-fitting mattresses adjust to the curvature of the sleeper. It sounds wonderful but it’s not optimal for all kinds of sleepers. Form fitting mattresses are good for side sleepers since they will need the mattress to fill in the gaps between their shoulders, hips, and feet. Otherwise, too much pressure could be placed on the upper region of the body. A stomach sleeper would not do well resting on a form-fitting mattress since they would sink in further and place more strain on the neck.
Some mattresses are fit with added coils and support the lumbar region of the back. While debates continue as to whether more coils equal better comfort, those who sleep on their back will appreciate such mattresses. Back sleepers are likely to do well on most mattresses, yet the position does leave one region of the body exposed to soreness – the lumbar region. Therefore, a mattress that features added lumbar support would be perfect.
Bedding marketing copy is crowded with words like “plush” and “cloudlike” but some sleepers should not get a thick or soft mattress. Those who sleep on their stomach most definitely should get something that is firm and thin. Some softness will lend support and comfort to bony areas of the body, but those who sleep on their stomach need to seek firmness.
Perhaps you’re reading and are uncertain as to which kind of sleeper you are or believe that you sleep in two or more positions. It helps to keep a journal beside your bed and take note of positions that feel most comfortable. Also, take note of what position you were in when falling asleep. You can find a mattress that offers features best aligned with your most preferred position. Otherwise, additions, like egg crate toppers, provide sleepers with removable options.
Try Before You Buy
It’s helpful to try a mattress before you make a purchase. Some try beds in showrooms and then look to save online. Alternatively, those who don’t get to spend time on mattresses in stores sometimes inquire as to what mattresses local hotels use to fit suites. It sounds odd, yet the price of a hotel room is a fraction of the price of a purchase you later regret. A full night’s sleep on a mattress in question would provide great buyer insight. Otherwise, you could glean anecdotal tidbits from online reviews.
Nestor King is a consumer advocate who keeps his eye on the market. He also loves to offer his insights by posting on a number of lifestyle and family blogs.