From our experience with customers and patients of health care practitioners we work with, we find that 8 out of 10 people are side sleepers as compared to back sleepers. Of course, there are the “I sleep both on my side and back” people. But, when we probe more and get people to categorise themselves as PRIMARILY a side or back sleeper, we still get more people choosing side.
So, why the need to categorise as side or back sleeper? Does it make a difference?
At Sleep Space, this is one of the first few question we ask every customer before we make a recommendation.
When side sleeping, we have to take into consideration the downward pressure our shoulders against the mattress. Let’s say we have a pretty firm mattress. What you are going to find is that your shoulders are going to feel quite squashed. That is because with a firm mattress, the mattress is pushing up against the shoulders as well.
The result is the person turning to the other side to sleep when the shoulders start to hurt and when this side hurts again, they go back to the other side or change to sleep on their backs.
Sounds familiar? Well, we at Sleep Space hear this comment a lot regarding shoulder pain when people wake up.
What we recommend for side sleepers are a medium to medium firm mattress. This will allow the shoulders to sink into the mattress, preventing the shoulders from being squashed.
In Singapore, probably due to our Asian roots, many people believe that a firm/ very firm mattress is best for the back. Hence, whenever we make the recommendation to get a medium or medium firm mattress, the follow up question is almost aways “But isn’t that bad for the back?”
If you take a look at the illustration above, you can see that with a firm mattress, the pelvis is just sitting on top of the mattress and doesn’t sink in. When we sleep, we will relax our side muscles and allow our waist to rest on the mattress. The result is a spine that is not neutral on a firm mattress, giving rise to lower back problems and/ or hip pain.
If your mattress is too soft, the illustration above is what the spine will look like.
This is what we are aiming for. A neutral spine. This is when the mattress is just right.
Can you see that the shoulders and the hips need to sink into the mattress to get the spine in neutral when side sleeping?
Hopefully, this short articles makes it a little clearer for you on the firmness of mattress to choose if you are side sleeper and/ or a believer that a mattress has to be firm to be good for the spine.
Chat with us if you are still lost and need help with a recommendation.