June 10, 2021
1. Back Sleepers
Back sleepers have it rough. They are probably the most in need of finding the perfect solution. After all, when a mattress is too firm, a back sleeper is likely to experience heavy tension in the shoulder and lower back area. Whereas, when a mattress is too soft, it can sink your hips completely out of alignment with the shoulders which can cause shooting pain up throughout the spine. Thus, anyone who sleeps on their backs will require a medium-firm mattress that falls within the middle range of the two extremes of soft and firm mattresses.
From personal experience, any sleeper that sleeps on their back is going to want a softer mattress that fits within the 5.5 to 7 out of 10 range on the firmness scale with the 1 being the softest and 10 being the most firm. For your reference, the 6.5 range is usually considered to be the standard within the industry for being considered medium-firm.
Why is this particular firmness level the right fit for a back sleeper? For one, it elevates the spine and puts it in a very neutral alignment. When speaking about a neutral alignment, it refers to the spine and everything is in full alignment from the hips to the shoulders. This ends up helping to reduce the tension all across the back area and it can reduce pains and aches that are associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia conditions.
While those that sleep on their back are certainly lucky they are typically able to sleep on a lot of different kinds of mattresses with a range of different materials. Typically, I recommend that these sleepers look for mattresses that are called hybrids. These mattresses feature both coil and foam layers.
Sleep Number beds have a range of beds to sleep all types of sleepers.
2. Side Sleepers
While back sleepers require a lot of balance, side sleepers require deeper pressure relief towards the hips and shoulder area. Thus, they are going to want to opt for a softer mattress that is capable of contouring to the body for pressure point relief. The contouring nature of these mattresses can help to reduce the uncomfortable pressure in key areas.
Softness is at times a subjective term, but in a sense, it includes anything that fits within the 4 to 6 out of 10 range on the firmness scale. Keep in mind, these measurements are being compared to the industry standard that puts 6.5 out of 10 on the medium-firmness level.
Because side sleepers place so much force on their hips and joints throughout the night, they need to have a bed that is soft enough to reduce the pressure on them. While a lot of mattresses make claims that they can alleviate back, shoulder, and hip pain, you want to be looking at the specifications of the mattress to see how they are going to effectively do so. I would personally recommend that any side sleeper looks for a memory foam mattress because they offer the kind of contouring needed to reduce pressure on these key areas. Are you looking for my recommendations for the best side sleeper beds? Head over to my Best Mattress for Side Sleepers page.
3. Stomach Sleepers
These sleepers are pretty much the opposite of those who sleep on their side. Meaning, they would want a very firm mattress. That way, their hips are lifted to be in proper alignment with their spine. One of the biggest problems facing those who sleep on their stomach is that they can't use ultra-soft mattresses because their hips will sink out of alignment with the spine. Thus, they want to get a more supportive and more firm mattress to keep this from happening.
While it does mean you want a firm mattress, it doesn't mean you want something as firm and uncomfortable as a rock. Ideally, you want to find a bed that has both a supportive foundation and one that features several comfort layers towards the top. Because of this, they will typically be better suited looking at either a spring mattress or one that is a hybrid. Aren't sure where to begin looking?
4. Combo Sleepers
Lastly, there are combo sleepers. These are the people that find themselves sleeping in all three different positions throughout the night. This is a popular sleeping style for many, but it requires the most versatile mattress.
In general, I would recommend that any combo sleeper opts for a medium-firm mattress. You want something right in the middle to accommodate all different sleeping styles. A medium-firm mattress is a great option for those that are combo sleepers because they offer a delicate balance between pressure relief and good support. They are soft enough to offer a good amount of pressure relief to those that need it and they are firm enough to keep the hips in alignment with the spine while sleeping on your back. A combo sleeper is likely going to want to opt for a mattress that has good bounce and mobility because they'll be moving around a lot throughout the night. Therefore, latex or even a hybrid mattress would be ideal.