A lot of people pick a soft, medium or firm mattress based on what’s most comfortable to them. This is not necessarily the right way to pick the best memory foam mattress. Ideally, mattress firmness should be dictated by one’s predominant sleeping position.
Different Sleeping Positions
As you may already know, different people prefer different sleeping positions. There are as many as 8 sleeping positions; but they can be included inside the following three major categories:
- Side sleeping position (log, yearner, fetus, thinker)
- Back sleeping position (soldier, star fish, star gazer)
- Stomach sleeping position (free fall)
Can you guess which sleeping position is represented by each image below?
Best Memory Foam Mattress for the Side-sleeping position
Many sleep scientists argue that side-sleeping (especially with the left side down) is the best position to sleep in. However, many others argue that, out of all sleeping positions, side-sleeping can potentially cause the biggest tilting/twisting/malalignment of the spine. That is because of the shoulders. The shoulders and hips are the two broadest places in your body. When you sleep on your side, these two widest points would rest on the mattress leaving the thorax or the trunk hanging down between the shoulders and the hips. This can put a lot of strain on the spinal cord. However, if the mattress is sufficiently soft, the shoulders and hips will sink in to the mattress allowing the trunk to rest on the mattress. This will prevent unnecessary strains on the spinal cord. Sorry for going off track; we’re not here to talk about sleeping positions, but rather to talk about the best memory foam mattress that suits each sleeping position. But hopefully, the above explanation answered your queries on how good (or not) side sleeping is.
Conclusion: the best memory foam mattress for a side-sleeper is one that is soft to medium-soft in firmness
Best Mattress for Back-sleepers
While some argue that sleeping on your left-side is the healthiest, others argue that sleeping on the back is the best option. When sleeping on your back, the buttocks make the biggest depression on the mattress and is therefore the biggest pressure point. However, compared to the extent shoulders stick out during side-sleeping, the buttocks do not (generally) stick out that much in to the mattress. If too soft a mattress was used for back-sleeping, the relatively heavy buttocks will sink into the memory foam like quick sand causing non-alignment of the spinal cord. If the mattress was too firm, the buttocks will be pushed up above the mattress, again causing unnecessary strain on the spinal cord. In contrast, a medium-firm mattress will not allow the buttocks to sink too much or be pushed away from the mattress.
Conclusion: the best memory foam mattress for a back-sleeper is one that is medium-firm in firmness
Best Memory Foam Mattresses for stomach sleepers
Like we said before, some medical and sleep scientists argue that sleeping on your side is the best while others argue that sleeping on your back is the best. However, NOBODY argues that sleeping on your stomach is a good idea! This is due to multiple reasons.
- Stomach sleeping can directly interfere with your breathing
- Stomach sleeping can strain your neck and spinal cord and give you head, neck and back pains
We will say no more; however, if you’ve been sleeping on your stomach all your life without the above side-effects, you’ve perfected a difficult art and you deserve to continue sleeping on your stomach. The best mattress for side-sleeping is a firm one. If you sleep on a soft mattress, the body will sag in to the mattress and your spine would curve against its natural curvature giving you potential head and neck pains.
Conclusion : the best mattress for a stomach-sleeper is one that is medium-firm to firm
A Different Mattress for Each Sleeping Position
We hope this read helped you understand how your sleeping position dictates the type of mattress you need. This should be the first step in your search to find the best mattress for your liking. Remember that soft, medium and firm mattresses don’t necessarily need to be memory foam; they can be latex, air, water or even hybrid mattresses with different firmness ratings.