How Firm Should a Mattress Be For a Side Sleeper?

How Firm Should a Mattress Be For a Side Sleeper?

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If you’re a side sleeper who’s in the market for a new mattress, you may be wondering how firm it should be.

Most of us sleep on our sides, and finding a mattress that perfectly aligns with our curves can be a real challenge. A medium-soft to medium-firm mattress is the ideal level of firmness for side sleepers. This will provide the necessary support while still being gentle on your pressure points.

Once you’ve determined the right level of firmness for your mattress, it’s time to start shopping! There are a few things to keep in mind when searching for the perfect bed. In this article, we’ll cover the different types of mattresses available, as well as how to choose the right one for you.


What Determines Mattress Firmness?


There are three main things that determine mattress firmness: conforming, support, and spine alignment. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.




Conforming refers to how well a mattress molds to and supports your body. For side sleepers, a mattress that conforms too much can cause the hips and shoulders to sink too deeply into the mattress, leading to pain in those areas.

A mattress that doesn’t conform enough may not provide enough pressure relief, also leading to pain.




In order to maintain spine alignment, a mattress must provide enough support so that the hips and shoulders don’t sink too deeply into the mattress. If the mattress is too soft, the hips and shoulders will sink in and put pressure on the spine, leading to pain.

On the other hand, a mattress that’s too firm won’t provide enough cushioning and may cause the sleeper to feel like they are lying on a board.


Spine Alignment


For side sleepers, it is especially important that the mattress keeps the spine in alignment. If the spine is out of alignment, it can lead to pain in the back, neck, and shoulders.

A mattress that is too soft will allow the hips and shoulders to sink in, throwing the spine out of alignment. A mattress that is too firm will also cause the spine to be out of alignment as it won’t provide enough cushioning for the hips and shoulders.

mattress firmness for side sleeper

How to Choose the Right Side Sleeper Mattress?


You should always test out a mattress before purchasing it, to make sure it is comfortable for you. If you are a side sleeper, take these things into consideration when choosing a mattress:




Side sleepers need extra padding to reduce pressure points on their hips and shoulders. A mattress with memory foam or latex padding is ideal, however, memory foam can sometimes sleep hot and give a sinking feeling. If you want to sleep cool and need cradling support, consider a latex mattress.

Comfort Level


Side sleepers should choose a mattress with a soft-medium to medium comfort level. This will provide the necessary support and contouring for their body. If you’re lightweight, you choose a softer mattress, however, if you’re on the heavier side, you’ll need a medium or medium-firm mattress to prevent sinking.


Spine Alignment


It is important for side sleepers to find a mattress that keeps their spine in a straight position. This will reduce pain and improve overall comfort. The best way to test if a mattress is supporting your spine properly is to lie down on your side and see if your head, shoulders, and hips are in alignment. If not, the mattress is too soft or too firm for you.


Trial Period


This is especially important when buying a mattress online. Most online mattress companies offer a 100-night sleep trial so you can test out the mattress in your own home. This is the best way to make sure the mattress is comfortable for you and provides the necessary support. If it doesn´t, you can return it for a full refund.


What Mattress Type is Best for a Side Sleeper?


Apart from choosing the right mattress firmness, consider the type of mattress that will better suit your sleeping habits. If you’re a side sleeper, you may want to consider a:


Memory foam mattress:


This type of mattress contours to your body, providing support and relieving pressure points. Some users complain that it may give a sinking feeling, but this can be remedied by opting for a mattress with high-density foam. Some memory foam mattresses may sleep hot, but newer models often come with cooling features to prevent this.

If you decide to buy a memory foam mattress, choose one with a CertiPur certificate. This means the mattress is made with low levels of harmful chemicals and is safe to use. We recommend Cypress Memory Foam Mattress by Brentwood Home. It’s CertiPur and Greenguard GOLD certified, so you can be sure it won’t release toxic fumes when you sleep.

Cypress Affordable Memory Foam Mattress

Certificates: Certi-Pur, Greenguard GOLD, Oeko-Tex

Sleep Trial Period: 1 Year

Warranty: 25 years

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King


Latex mattress


Latex mattresses are bouncier than memory foam, making it easier to change positions. If you’re looking for a mattress that will contour to your body and provide relief from pressure points, latex is a great option. Latex is highly responsive, so it quickly conforms to your body’s shape. This can help to alleviate pressure points and prevent the feeling of sinking in too deeply.

Additionally, latex mattresses often have better airflow than other types of mattresses, which can help to regulate your body temperature. This is especially beneficial for side sleepers because they often experience more shoulder and back pain than other sleepers.

The fact that many latex mattresses are made of 100% natural and organic materials is another advantage because it means they’re free of harmful chemicals. On the downside, latex mattresses tend to be more expensive than other mattress types.

We recommend The Botanical Bliss Mattress by PlushBeds, made of organic latex, cotton and wool. This organic mattress offers superior comfort  and support and is perfect for side sleepers.

Botanical Bliss
From $1,199

Mattress Type: 100% Latex Mattress

Certificates: GOTS, GOLS, Greenguard GOLD, OEKO-Tex, Eco-INSTITUT®, FSC

Warranty: 25 Years

Sleep Trial: 100 Nights

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King


Customizable Hybrid Mattress


Hybrid mattresses are usually constructed with a layer of memory foam or latex on top and coils on the bottom. These mattresses are often a good choice for side sleepers who want more support than what a foam mattress can provide but don’t want the bounciness of a latex mattress.

Thanks to the coil system, these mattresses are breathable and won’t sleep hot. Hybrid mattresses are often more expensive than foam or innerspring mattresses but are often less expensive than latex mattresses. We recommend EOS Classic Organic Mattress by Naturepedic.

This fully customizable latex hybrid mattress allows you to choose a different comfort level for you and your partner, making it a perfect mattress for couples. If you’re a side sleeper, choose a medium or cushion-firm comfort level for the best support.

EOS Classic Organic Mattress by Naturepedic

Mattress Type: Customizable Latex Hybrid Mattress

Certificates: GOTS, Greenguard GOLD, Made Safe

Warranty: 25 Years

Sleep Trial: 100 Nights

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King


Read More: Best Alternatives to EOS Mattress


Innerspring Mattress


Innerspring mattresses have been around for years and are the most common type of mattress. They have a support base of steel coils, with thin comfort layers of fiber or foam on top. Innerspring mattresses are less contouring than hybrid or foam mattresses, but they’re more affordable and usually have enhanced edge support.

This is important because it helps to keep side sleepers supported near the edge of the bed. If you’re looking for a mattress that’s both affordable and supportive, an innerspring mattress is a good option. We recommend WJ Southard Innerspring Mattress made of 100% natural materials, including eco wool, cotton and recycled steel innerspring support.

WJ Southard Innerspring Mattress
From $1000

Certificates: GOTS, Green America

Materials: Eco Wool, Organic Cotton, Steel

Warranty: 25 Years


Read More: Innerspring vs Latex Mattress


How Do You Tell If Your Mattress Is Too Firm?


Side sleepers, have you ever wondered if your mattress is too firm? The firmness scale that most companies utilize ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 being extremely soft and 10 being very firm.

While there are benefits to sleeping on a firm mattress, such as an aligned spine and pressure relief, a mattress that is too firm can cause serious discomfort. To figure out if your mattress is too firm, pay attention to how you feel when you wake up in the morning. If you find that you have a lot of aches and pains, your mattress may be too firm.

You can also try the pillow test: if you can place a pillow between your mattress and your body and it doesn’t sink in, your mattress is likely too firm. If you’re unsure about the firmness of your mattress, it’s always best to consult with a sleep specialist or doctor.

In general, side sleepers should look for a mattress that is on the softer side of the firmness scale in order to achieve the best results.


How Does Side Sleeping  Affect Your Sleep?


If you are a side sleeper, you may be wondering how your sleeping position affects your sleep. Although back sleeping seems to be the perfect sleep position according to sleep experts, there are some benefits to sleeping on your side.

When you sleep on your side, it can help to reduce snoring and sleep apnea. If you have mild sleep apnea, sleeping on your side may be the best position for you because it takes the pressure off your chest and allows your airway to stay open.

Side sleeping can also help to reduce back pain. If you have a condition like sciatica, sleeping on your side can take the pressure off of your spine and provide some relief. Sleeping on your side can also be helpful if you are pregnant because it can take the pressure off of your back and help prevent pregnancy-related pain.

It´s also helpful if you suffer from acid reflux or heartburn because sleeping on your side prevents stomach acid from coming up into your esophagus. For best results, be sure to sleep on your left side so that your stomach is below your esophagus which makes it less likely for acid to come up.

The main downside to sleeping on your side is that it can put pressure on your hips and shoulders. If you sleep on your side for too long, you may start to experience pain in these areas. To avoid this, make sure to use a body pillow that supports your shoulders and legs. This will help to take the pressure off these areas and keep you comfortable while you sleep.

Overall, sleeping on your side is a good option for people who want to reduce snoring, sleep apnea, back pain, or pregnancy-related pain. If you sleep on your side, make sure to use a body pillow or at least a knee pillow to reduce pressure points.


mattress firmness for side sleeper


What types of mattresses should side sleepers avoid?


There are a few types of mattresses that side sleepers should avoid. These include:




Airbeds are adjustable, so you can change the level of firmness to suit your needs. However, they don’t provide the same level of support as other types of mattresses, which can make them a poor choice for side sleepers.




Waterbeds are often recommended for people with back pain because they provide excellent support. However, they’re not a good choice for side sleepers because they don’t contour to your body and can cause you to feel like you’re sinking in.


Futon Mattresses


Futon mattresses are traditionally made of cotton and are filled with wool or foam. They’re not a good choice for side sleepers because they don’t provide enough support and can cause you to wake up in pain.


Soft Mattresses


Soft mattresses may feel comfortable at first, but they don’t provide the support that side sleepers need. This can cause you to wake up with pain or stiffness in your hips, shoulders, and back.


Very firm Mattresses


Mattresses that are too firm can cause you to feel like you’re sleeping on a board. It won’t allow your hips and shoulders to sink in, which can lead to pain. Additionally, firm mattresses often don’t provide the contouring that side sleepers need to alleviate pressure points.




If you’re a side sleeper, finding the right mattress firmness is key to getting a good night’s sleep. We always recommend choosing an organic mattress over a conventional one, as they’re better for your health and the environment.

When it comes to mattress firmness, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best firmness for a side sleeper will depend on your weight, sleep position, and preferences. In general, the best mattress firmness for side sleepers is somewhere in the middle, around a 6-7 on the 1-10 firmness scale.

Check out our article about the best organic mattresses for side sleepers to find the perfect one for you.


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