Is Memory Foam Mattress Good for Side Sleepers?


Memory foam mattresses have the highest satisfactory ratings among other types of mattresses for both side sleepers and sleepers in general. Much of it is owed to both the conforming nature of the material to both contour to the unique shape of your body and relieve as much pressure point pains on the arms, shoulders, hips, and back.

The Struggles of Sleeping On Your Side

Side sleeping is one of the most recommended sleeping positions by both sleep specialists and physicians. Sleepers with trouble breathing at night or serious sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can breathe better. This is because the airway isn’t blocked by the epiglottis, a flab of cartilage at the base of your tongue that prevents food from going down your wind pipe. This flab is left on its side, allowing breathing to be easier while reducing snoring intensity and noise.

Pregnant women are also encouraged to sleep on their side (particularly the left) because it improves circulation to the heart, which benefits both mom and baby. Side sleeping reduces the pressure placed on the back, particularly the lower back, eases heartburn, and reduces acid reflux so mommies can sleep easier at night.

The challenge behind sleeping on your side, however, is the amount of concentrated pressure placed on one arm. Whichever side you choose, much of your body weight is concentrated on your arm, shoulders, and hips. This can cause a lot of discomfort to those areas.

An improperly supportive bed leads to far more problems such as back pain, neck pain, and make sleep nearly impossible every night. If you’re scratching your head wondering why you can’t sleep better, your mattress is most likely the culprit.

Should Side Sleepers Use Soft or Firm Memory Foam Beds?

Both have their merits. A plush memory foam mattress can offer a pleasant cradling effect that reliefs the maximum amount of pressure. On the other hand, firm memory foam mattresses offer the greatest amount of support without the feeling of being “trapped”.

Which one you pick depends much on preference. If you feel better sleeping on a firm mattress or a soft mattress or somewhere in between, then all the more power to you! Being able to fall asleep comfortably and wake up feeling refreshed for the day is just one of the many positive side effects of picking a mattress suitable just for you!

What About Heavy Side Sleepers and Memory Foam Mattresses?

Memory foam mattresses are a great choice for heavy sleepers (>200 lbs.). One of the difficulties heavier individuals face is a mattress that provides the much needed support to their body. Mattresses that are “universally designed” tend to be on the firmer side, unless stated otherwise. It’s through this firm design that the bed can provide deep compression support to prevent you from sinking further than you need to.

But the drawback of a firm mattress is that it causes too much pressure point pain on the typical places side sleepers get. Being able to find your balance on the firmness spectrum can be labor intensive and stressful, but once you find the right memory foam for you, sleep becomes much easier.

Generally, we would recommend heavy sleepers to opt for the firmer side of the spectrum. This is because the weight will put extra stress on the mattress to soften up.

What Is The Best Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers?

This is a tough one to decide, because memory foam mattress models are constantly updated by sellers with new tech and construction design to best suit the consumer’s taste. At SleepKozy, we’re also updating our guides constantly to pick the best choices you can rely on. You can check out our guide here to see our recommendations and buyer guide on choosing the right bed for you.

How to Sleep Better On Your Side

Sleeping on your side presents a few unique challenges not found in other positions. In addition to using the right memory foam mattress, here are a few tips to improve side sleeping so you can doze off much more pleasantly each night:

  1. Experiment for the right pillow! Between the mattress and your head is 1 shoulder length of space. Pillows for back and stomach sleepers tend to be much more thin, so a thick pillow is needed for sleeping on your side. The pillow should be supportive but also soft enough so that your ears don’t feel the pressure pinch by the weight of your head against a hard pillow.
  2. Try a pillow between your legs. When we sleep on our sides, our hips might not be as squared properly as they should. We either lean forward a bit or backwards, the gap between our legs causes the top leg to come down on the bottom. A thick pillow between your legs, either a wedge pillow, body pillow, or any regular pillow, can help elevate the upper leg so that it isn’t pressing down on the bottom one. It also puts the hips in a neutral position so that your back and spine isn’t twisted in a stressed position.
  3. Test different arm position. The immediate challenge for side sleepers is the shoulder pain. Aside from using the wrong pillow, you will want to try placing your arms in different positions to see which one is the most comfortable for you. Using an arm sling in bed, although awkward at first, can keep your shoulders in a comfortable position throughout the night.
  4. Experiment with different side sleeping positions! There are a multitude of positions available for side sleepers. The log (arms on side, legs straight) might sleep better for some while others might prefer the fetal position (arms and legs curled). You don’t necessarily have to stick to one position indefinitely, but it helps to try different things to suit your sleep for the night.
  5. Don’t forget the basics of sleep! If you’re new to sleeping on your side, chances are you will be uncomfortable at first. A new memory foam mattress takes time to break in, and a new position also takes time to adjust. You can have better odds of dozing off easier if you stick to the basics of sleep hygiene: a cold, quiet, and dark bedroom along with a consistent sleeping and waking up schedule.