A good night’s sleep does more for us than we realize. It helps us to relax and recover from the day’s activities, and makes us feel refreshed and awake in the morning. It prevents those unsightly dark eye circles from forming. It keeps our brain functioning properly and takes care of our emotional state. It is even able to boost our immunity, keep us from gaining weight, and drastically decreases the risk of us developing chronic diseases.
So yes, it’s no doubt that good sleep is important, and it is something every single person should strive to obtain. There are many factors that can contribute to a night of good sleep, but undoubtedly the most important would be the quality of the mattress.
For as long as anyone can remember, most of us sleep on beds, and on our beds we have mattresses. These come in a few varieties, each with different characteristics. Some of these will be better than others for different people based on their most common sleeping position. Below, we’ll take a look at each of the more common sleeping positions and what type of mattress would suit them best.
The Different Sleeping Positions
Your sleeping position can affect the quality of your night’s sleep and may cause you issues like back and neck aches, acid reflux, and even wrinkles. You may have your favourite position, but if it’s causing you some restless nights or aches and pains the next day, it may be time for a change.
People who sleep on their sides prefer to lie down sideways with their heads resting on a pillow. You can curl up into the fetal position, or lie straight sideways like a log. While sleeping on your side, your head and neck are aligned and your oesophagus is slightly raised, which means your airways are unobstructed and oxygen can flow easily. This prevents snoring and sleep apnea. If you’re a side sleeper, you’re also less likely to suffer from acid reflux or heartburn as your elevated oesophagus prevents stomach acid from flowing upwards. However, side sleepers may feel some strain on their internal organs due to the sideways positioning, and if you don’t have a proper pillow, your neck won’t get proper support and end up aching the next morning.
Lying flat on your back is considered to be the healthiest sleeping position. Your head, neck, as well as your spine will be lined up straight, and since most of your body weight will be centred on your back, your mattress is able to support it effectively and reduce the strain you feel. Acid reflux is also kept at bay, but this depends on your pillow — it needs to raise your head up just enough to keep your oesophagus tilted up. For people who want good skin, sleeping on your back is also recommended as your face will not end up smooshed into your pillow, which could cause the skin to sag. If you tend to snore or have sleep apnea, back sleeping is not recommended as the way your head is positioned could aggravate your symptoms and make them worse. People with sensitive lower backs should also try another sleeping position or they might strain their back.
If you prefer to lie flat on your stomach with your face down, you might want to change things up because sleep experts agree that sleeping on your stomach is a bad idea. For one, your body weight will rest on your belly, which will cause your spine to dip downwards and be misaligned with your head and neck. This could give rise to neck and backaches, especially if you’re constantly lying face down. The weight of gravity will also be felt on your joints, muscles, and organs, which could cause even more aches and pains. On the plus side, if you’re a stomach sleeper, your breathing pathways will likely be open and clear, which does reduce any snoring or sleep apnea symptoms.
The Best Mattress Types
There are a few different types of mattresses out there, with some designs dating back as early as the early 1900s. Since then, mattress innovation has come a long way with the goal of making our slumber as comfortable as possible. Here are the best mattress types for each sleeping position.
The oldest form of the mattress is the innerspring mattress. Created around the early 1900s, these are made with a frame of steel coils or springs that compress and support weight on them. The more coils, the higher quality and more support is provided. This mattress design is fairly dated, so it tends to wear out faster and will start squeaking when the coils lose their springiness. As such, it is no longer the recommended choice for any sleeping position as there are better alternatives nowadays.
Memory foam was created in 1966, but it was only in 1991 that memory foam mattresses were created. These soft beds allow one to sink in and are excellent at supporting your body weight and make you feel like you’re weightless. As the name implies, it takes on the shape of your body, so it is undoubtedly comfortable. It is especially beneficial to people with back injuries or any other sort of a pain because the softness will ease any discomfort. All sleeping positions will benefit from this, though side sleepers benefit the most because the mattress contours to their shape and prevents any pelvic rotations.
Want the best of both worlds? Hybrid mattresses combine the springy feel of innerspring mattresses with soft memory foam to make one of the most comfortable sleeping experiences ever. Your weight is supported by the springs, yet you won’t feel them thanks to the memory foam cushioning your body. This mattress type is best for back sleepers as the springs will hold the weight in the centre, while the foam naturally curves to their back and prevents any aches.