back and side sleeping

Hi debating,

That’s a lot of questions with no simple answers for one short post :slight_smile:

The first place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that you will need to make the best possible choice … and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort” and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists (based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you).

I don’t make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort” or PPP or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more accurate than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

There are certainly many people that are combination back side sleepers that sleep well in all their sleeping positions on the mattress they purchased but there is no specific mattress that would be good for back/side sleepers in general because a mattress that would be good for one person that is a back/side sleeper may not be suitable for someone else that is also a back/side sleeper to sleep on because each person is unique.

In very general terms though … side sleepers tend to need a softer mattress because the body has more curves when you are on your side and needs thicker and softer upper layers that can contour to the shape of the body more effectively and more deeply to relieve pressure points. Back sleepers generally do best with a little bit firmer mattress to reduce the risk of their pelvis sinking into the mattress too much which can put the spine out of alignment and cause lower back pain and stomach sleepers tend to need a firmer mattress yet to reduce the risk of sleeping in a swayback position which can also lead to lower back pain. For combination sleepers the best choice is generally a mattress with comfort layers that are “just enough” in terms of the thickness and softness of the upper layers to relieve pressure points when you sleep on your side but not so soft that the pelvis will sink into the mattress too deeply when you are sleeping on your back which can put your spine out of alignment. Your own careful testing is the best way to know whether any specific mattress is a good “match” for you in terms of PPP.

Assuming that the materials in a mattress you are considering are durable enough for your body type and meet the quality/durability guidelines here … the choice between different types and combinations of materials and components or different types of mattresses are more of a preference and a budget choice than a “better/worse” choice (see this article).

All the different types and categories of mattresses have a wide range of firmness levels that generally range from very soft to very firm but once again the best way to know which types of materials or mattresses that you tend to prefer will be based on your own testing or personal experience.

Pushback is really a misnomer is just another word for resilience. It has very little to do with firmness or pressure relief and resilience is one of the properties of a material that is part of how it “feels” and responds (which is a preference issue) but not part of its ability to relieve pressure. There is more about what many people call “pushback” in post #136 here.

There is also more about some of the pros and cons of latex vs memory foam in post #2 here but again the best way to know whether you tend to prefer one or the other (or different materials completely) will be based on your own personal experience.

There aren’t any mattresses that contain “only” memory foam since memory foam is only a comfort material that is used in the upper layers of a mattress and isn’t used as a deeper support material (most memory foam mattresses have a polyfoam support core) but memory foam in general will tend to sleep warmer than other types of foam materials.

For most people a mattress that contains materials that are certified for harmful substances and VOC’s would be “safe enough”. There is more about the different safety certifications in post #2 here but CertiPUR would be the certification that you will most commonly find with memory foam or polyfoam.