Is A Hard Mattress Good For Side Sleepers?

Article by Lewis Hugh

Here’s the million-dollar question: Is a hard mattress good for side sleepers?

Fun fact: Did you know that a whopping 74% of people sleep on their side? If you’re one of those snoozers snuggling up on your side and struggling with pesky back pain, finding the perfect mattress can feel like a scavenger hunt! Well, don’t fret, fam! 

In this article, we’re going deep into the world of mattress firmness, addressing this important topic from all angles.

We’ll give you the lowdown on which firmness levels you gotta keep your eyes peeled for as a side sleeper, give our expert opinion (because we’re fancy like that) on whether a hard mattress is worth the moolah, and shower you with tips to choose the perfect mattress. 

Get ready to snooze off into dreamland like a boss! Keep on reading!

The Importance Of Mattress Firmness For Side Sleepers With Back Pain

Ensuring a good night’s rest for side sleepers grappling with back pain is highly dependent on the firmness level of their mattress.

This is because the firmness directly impacts the spinal alignment and pressure distribution. 

Side sleepers need optimal spinal alignment to ensure balanced weight distribution and relieve pressure on the lower back.

Choosing a mattress that’s too rigid or too plush could lead to an unpleasant sleep position, further accentuating the uneasiness and ache.

Optimal Mattress Firmness For Side Sleepers

When it comes to side sleepers grappling with pesky back pain, a medium to medium-firm delightful mattress feels like the bee’s knees. This is because it provides the perfect equilibrium between staying supportive while still managing to contour. 

The hips and arms need to sink because we like them like that, but we won’t say no to an adequate back support party! Having a mattress that’s too hard will only give you the feels of sleeping on rocks, with no cushioning for the little happy areas on your body. 

This will aggravate the pain, which is a big no-no. On the other hand, feeling like a marshmallow won’t help anyone, especially if your spine’s keeping its distance from the alignment party. This will eventually lead to strong feelings of discomfort. 

A woman is side sleeping on a mattress in a dark room

As a result, when selecting a mattress firmness, it’s crucial to consider your personal preference and unique sleeping needs, as well as, body variety.

Extra-Firm Vs. Medium-Firm For Side Sleepers With Back Pain

So, you’re a side sleeper with back pain, and you want to know if a hard (extra-firm) mattress or a medium-firm mattress is your jam. The truth is, it depends on you, my sleepy friend! Do you prefer to feel like you’re sleeping on a bamboo mat or a cuddly cloud?

 Are you packing on some extra pounds or just feeling lonely in the pressure relief area? An extra-firm mattress might be a great fit for those looking for additional support and less huggy-feels.

It’s like a strict teacher; zero nonsense and keeps you in line. However, if a medium-firm mattress enters the scene, we’ve got ourselves a flexible friend that understands the importance of a good balance. 

This is perfect for side sleepers who need comforting support in the right places and want an escape from pesky pressure points and misaligned spine. Generally, this type of mattress is a top pick for side sleepers struggling with back pain so hop on board!

Tips for Choosing The Best Mattress For Lumbar Support

Are you ready to find that dream mattress to improve your side sleeping experience with back pain? It’s time to put on your detective glasses and consider the following juicy factors!

  • First things first, let’s put that mattress to the test! Make sure to climb up on that mattress lion-style to see if it’s the perfect amount of cozy and solid.

  • Reviews are the holy grail too! You’ll definitely want some juicy insights from other side sleepers with back pain who’ve tried and tested different mattresses.

  • Let’s get personal, friend! It’s all about you, so consider your sleeping habits, weight, and physique to figure out your perfect firmness match.

  • It’s all about the materials, babe! You want a mattress that’s made from high-quality, long-lasting materials such as memory foam, latex, or pocketed coils.

  • Lastly, make sure that baby comes with a warranty and trial period, so you can make sure you’re head over heels with your investment. 

By keeping these tidbits in mind, you’re sure to find that ideal comfy-cozy mattress for your side sleeping and back pain needs!

Strategies For Alleviating Back Pain As A Side Sleeper

Looking to improve your snoozing experience as a side sleeper with back pain? Lucky for you, there are some juicy tactics you can try out to ease the aches and maximise the cosiness! Here are some snackable nuggets to keep in mind:

  • Don’t be shy about using a pillow between your knees! It’s a great way to keep your spinal alignment in check, boost blood circulation, and lessen any unwanted pressure on your lower back and hips.

  • Choose a head pillow that gets you in the goldilocks-zone! You want your head to be in a neutral position that ensures your spine and neck are in alignment. Memory foam pillows or adjustable ones are wonderful options that adapt to your side sleeping needs.

  • Reveal your yogi side, and stretch your muscles! Practicing some soothing, gentle stretches before bed can help to calm your muscles, reduce stress, and ease any tension that may cause discomfort. Some top picks to consider are the knee-to-chest stretch or child’s pose.

  • Be sure to show your spine some love during the day too! Whether you’re seated or standing, prioritize good posture to ease any unnecessary pressure on your muscles and spine.

  • Strengthen your core and improve your back’s natural support system! Core-strengthening exercises like planks or sit-ups are great ways to make sure your back has the support it needs to maintain healthy alignment and reduce discomfort.

By applying these delectable tips alongside a supportive mattress, you’ll be sure to boost your sleeping quality and give a proper send-off to pesky back pain!

Alternatives For Side Sleepers With Specific Back Issues

If you’re battling specific back problems as a side sleeper, such as sciatica or herniated discs, there are some scrumptious additional tips to keep in mind. Let’s Dive in:

  • For sciatica: If you have sciatica, it’s all about finding a mattress that’s got that targeted pressure relief game on lock. That means looking for a mattress that allows for proper blood flow and less irritation on the nerves in your hips. Medium-firm memory foam or hybrid mattresses with zoned support are a top pick for providing that optimal comfort and relief.

  • For herniated discs: For those pesky herniated discs, you’ll want to make sure that mattress is aligning with all your needs. That translates to choosing a mattress that maintains natural spinal alignment while catering for your specific affected spinal segment. Your match-made-in-heaven is the medium to medium-firm mattress that has that contouring effect, like memory foam or latex.

Remember, you can always turn to your fabulous healthcare professional for personalized recommendations that cater to your specific condition and desires. Give these tips a try, and you’ll be on the road to a comfier and healthier back sleeping experience in no time!

Budget-Friendly Options For Side Sleepers with Back Pain

Listen, we all can’t afford those luxurious mattresses that promise us the moon and the stars. Thankfully, there are some sweet alternatives to get that optimal comfort and support for you side-sleeping-allies out there with back pain:

  • Add some icing to that cake! No, really. Get a mattress topper made from memory foam or latex and add it to your current mattress to enhance its comfort and support game.

  • Ah, sales! It’s like finding a golden ticket! Take advantage of seasonal sales, promos, and all the goodies life throws our way when shopping for a new mattress!

  • Keep your eyes peeled for budget-friendly brands that offer bang for your buck! There are some mattress companies out there that provide a quality mattress experience without breaking the bank.

Don’t feel like you have to compromise on comfort and support just because of a tight budget. Take your time doing some researching and comparing, and you’ll be sure to find a mattress that fits you and your wallet like a glove.


How does mattress firmness affect side sleeping?

Sweet dreams can be a reality for side sleepers, but the right mattress firmness is key! A super soft mattress might feel cosier than a cuddly bear, but it may lead to sinking and bad spinal alignment. Alternatively, a super hard mattress can create an unwelcome dance of pressure points and discomfort.

What is the best firmness level for side sleepers?

For y’all prized side-sleepers, medium to medium-firm is the sweet spot, babe! You need that optimal support while balancing those curves for taking the pressure off your spine. You may want to consider memory foam or hybrid mattresses for that sleeping-on-a-cloud feel!

Is a soft or firm mattress better for side sleepers with back pain?

We all love that soft, snuggly feeling of cuddling into a cloud-like mattress. But when it comes to soothing that back pain, a medium to medium-firm mattress is where it’s at, fam! Soft mattresses may cradle you into coziest hibernation, but will leave you lacking the support you and your back crave. On the other hand, a hard mattress may just create that “get-me-outta-here” discomfort.

Can a hard mattress cause side sleeping discomfort?

The short answer, yes! If you’re trudging through pain and discomfort while side-sleeping, a super duper hard mattress ain’t the solution! Besides giving you all the pressure points, it’ll make you feel zoned out and numb in the shoulders and painful AF points. So, skip that nightmare, and opt for a medium-firm mattress! Your spine will celebrate, and you’ll be swimming in a deep slumber!

Should I choose a mattress based on my weight as a side sleeper?

Yes! When it comes to mattresses for side sleepers, considering your weight, height, bod and sleeping habits matters. If you’re a heavyweight sleeper, that medium-firm mattress may feel like a marshmallow. Keep that in mind when you’re finding your ultimate comfy match!


Okay, here’s the tea, sis or bro! If you’re a side sleeper grappling with back pain, a super hard mattress might not be the way to go! Opt for a mattress that’s medium to medium-firm, so you can have it all – support, contouring, and spinal alignment! 

This will give a massive boost to your night’s sleep by lessening any pesky pressure points and ensuring a cosy evening!

With that being said, having the right mattress is only part of the puzzle. Alongside your dream mattress, it’s time to spring into action and make lifestyle adjustments. Add in some snazzy support strategies such as sleeping with a pillow between your legs or whipping out that foam roller pre-bedtime to gently ease any tense muscles. 

It’s time to embrace that cat-cow pose, and stretch out those impacted areas. You’ll be snoozing peacefully in no time!

One last thing before you go sleepyhead! Struggling to catch some Zzz’s as a beloved side sleeper? Fret not, for we have an arsenal of experts ready to take on your slumber woes! We present to you a tailor-made list of articles designed to be your lullaby. 

Our first gem susses out the sauciest mattresses for side sleepers, where you can check out the perfect balance between dreamy dispositions and ultimate support. But wait, there’s more! If you’re keen to get into the nitty-gritty of bedtime, do not miss our article on mattress thickness

Here we vow to amplify your cosiness levels like never before! Watch out, world – we’re bringing out the big guns with our foam vs. spring comparison, dissecting their pros and cons to assist your unique sleeping habits. For those tossing-and-turning peeps who need advice on flipping position, we’ve got an article on the perfect side to sleep on for side sleepers! Get clicking and snooze away!

Useful Links:

  • Check out Sleepopolis’ article.
  • Check out Mattress Clarity’s article.
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