Choosing a Sleep Surface: The Importance of Your Sleep Positions and Patterns

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 70 million people in the United States suffer from a sleep disorder. Insufficient sleep can lead to a number of serious problems including vehicle accidents, accidents at work and occupational errors.

Insomnia is the most common of all sleep disorders. If you wake up every morning feeling tired and unrefreshed and your find yourself falling asleep during the day you may be suffering from insomnia. It can happen to anyone, at any age and at any time in their life. Symptoms include:

  • Problems falling asleep at night.
  • Frequent waking throughout the night.
  • Difficulty falling back asleep.
  • Sudden or early waking.
  • Feeling fatigued when you wake.


Though you may not realize it, the thing that’s causing your insomnia could be your mattress.


The Guilty Mattress

In spite of the fact that adults spend one-third of their life sleeping, many have a mattress that is not worthy to be in their bedroom. If you have had your mattress for a long time, it may be the cause of your insomnia. Here’s how:

  • Allergies: If your mattress has been hanging around for a long time, it’s probably full of dust mites, which means you may be allergic to it. Washing your sheets and pillowcases often in hot water can help keep dead skin and dust to a minimum.


  • Firmness: There is no standard scale for measuring the softness or firmness of a mattress. If you weigh 250lbs, a mattress will feel soft to you yet firmer to someone weighing 120lbs. If your mattress is not the right firmness for your posture, it can ruin your sleep.


  • Bumps: If your mattress feels lumpy or has holes or springs bulging out, it is definitely time to buy a new one.


The Effects of Your Sleep Position on Your Body

The position you sleep in has many effects on your body from your skin to your internal organs. You might want to consider this when it comes to buying a new mattress. Here is some advice for choosing a mattress by thinking about your main sleeping position and other physical concerns.

Side sleeping: Including the fetal, preacher and log positions, is the most popular position. It is said to put a lot of strain on the back and neck, cause back pain and apply pressure to the nerves in the arms and shoulders, but that is really nothing that a decent mattress can’t prevent. Sleeping on your right side rather than your left adds extra strain to your lungs, stomach, and liver. If you are a side sleeper, you should consider a mattress that will curve to fit your hips and shoulders and spread your weight evenly so you don’t feel pain on your pressure points. A comfort layer that is at least 3 inches thick will be very beneficial. If your mattress does not cradle you as you sleep on your side, you will be prone to numbness, soreness, and redness on your pressure points.

Back Sleeping: Sleeping on your back with your arms by your sides is recommended as the healthiest sleeping position. Unfortunately, not many people find it to be a comfortable position, particularly those who snore or suffer from sleep apnea. If you are a back sleeper, you will need a mattress that can support the lumbar area of your back. You will be quite comfortable with a 2-inch comfort layer.

Stomach Sleeping: If you can only fall asleep by sleeping on your stomach, you will definitely need the right mattress to be comfortable. Because you can’t breathe through your pillow, you will, in this position, turn your face to the side. This means your neck is bent throughout the night and your back is also slightly bent. To prevent back and neck pain you will need a firm, thin comfort layer.

Combination Sleeping: Not all sleepers stay in the same position all night, so how do you choose the right mattress. Think about what position you retain during your deepest sleep and go with a mattress to suit that. Foam and latex mattresses tend to be the most comfortable for combination sleepers because they are softer at the outer layers but firmer beneath to provide great support. Mattresses with offset coils and pocket coils are less expensive and equally effective. Check out for more tips on choosing a mattress that’s right for you.

Whichever is your favorite sleeping position, make sure you have a mattress that can accommodate it, to ensure a great night’s sleep.

Anna Blake has been studying sleep medicine, her family joke that this is why she sleeps so much, all in the name of research! Jokes aside, Anna enjoys sharing her knowledge of sleeping patterns and how to get the best night’s sleep every night of the week.


  1. […] Choosing a Sleep Surface: The Importance of Your Sleep Positions and Patterns – Sudden or early waking. Feeling fatigued when you wake … If you have had your mattress for a long time, it may be the cause of your insomnia. Here’s how: Allergies: If your mattress has been hanging around for a … […]

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