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Finding the right mattress is a bit like Goldilock’s quest for the perfect bowl of porridge. If you are a side sleeper, you’ll want something that’s not too firm, not too soft but is just right. We’ve taken the 4 most asked questions from our customers to compile a mattress buying guide for side sleepers. Keep reading to learn more. 

1) What is the best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder and hip pain? 

Side sleepers require a unique balance of cushioning for their shoulders and hips, plus support for their lower back. When you sleep on your side, there are more curves (shoulders, hips, knees) for your mattress to contour too. Thus, with the wrong mattress, there are more opportunities to create tension and pressure. 

A side sleeper should use a medium-soft to medium-firm mattress. These options provide correct support while gently cradling the hips and shoulders to prevent stress and injury. 

2) Do side sleepers need a firm or soft mattress? 

The best mattress firmness is very subjective. The term ‘firmness’ is directed to the top layers of the mattress and indicates how closely the mattress will conform to your body while you sleep. Therefore, it should not be confused with support. Since side sleepers are exerting force onto their joints (hips, shoulders, knees) during the night, it’s crucial they land on a gentle bed designed specifically with pressure relief in mind.  This means they’ll want to stick with something softer so that their hips and shoulders can gently sink into the mattress to keep the spine aligned and also prevent uncomfortable jamming in the night. 

As a lot of mattresses claim to alleviate shoulder and hip pain, it’s important to dig into the construction specs to figure out how well a bed is going to relieve pressure at these spots. 

3) What firmness is best for side sleepers? 

Most mattress companies use a 1-10 scale to rate how firm their mattresses are. Mattress Miracle considers 6.5 to be medium-firm, and anything below 6.5 is going to be on the softer end of the spectrum. Side sleepers need something around the 5.5 to 6.5 range on the firmness scale because their shoulders and hips are the main pressure points. Having this level of firmness allows for the body to still have its natural flexibility without hyperextension. 

4) Is a foam mattress better for side sleepers? 

The firmness of a mattress is also mainly determined by its construction and materials. For instance, an innerspring mattress with no real comfort layer is probably going to be firmer. Whereas foam mattresses are known for their deep-body contouring, sinkage, and pressure relief. 

Typically, a foam mattress is the better option for those looking for pressure and pain relief. If you are a side sleeper with hip or shoulder pain, then foam does a better job of relieving this pressure on the joints while simultaneously offering more support for these areas. 

Ultimately what is ‘just right’ for you may not be Goldilock’s choice as everyone is different. Weight can also play a factor in determining mattress comfort. Although a medium-soft firmness is recommended, if you’re heavier, then you may need a firmer mattress to prevent sinking. At Mattress Miracle, our staff is fully prepared to answer any questions you may have when it comes to mattress comfort. Visit our store to talk with any of our staff – and try out the mattresses we have in stock. 

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