Back sleeping may not be the most popular sleeping style in the UK. But research from the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service shows it's by far the healthiest way to sleep.
Only 8% of us sleep on our back, but the health benefits of sleeping in this position are significant. Back sleeping benefits your body as it allows your head, neck and back to rest in a relaxed, neutral, position which helps reduce pressure and the likelihood of experiencing pain. Although back sleeping also helps to keep acid reflux at bay, the same cannot be said for snoring!
For those of us who are back sleepers, there are a couple of different positions within the category that, of course, have both advantages and disadvantages, but interestingly also indicate personality traits. The different positions that back sleepers snooze in are:
This position is the most popular back sleeping position. Lying flat on your back with your arms by your side, ‘the soldier’ reduces the chance of back pain but makes snoring more likely, which may prevent you from getting the perfect night's sleep!
Personality traits of Soldier position sleepers: Quiet and reserved. They don’t like a fuss, but set themselves and others high standards.
The Starfish is the preferred back sleeping position of 5% of the UK population, which is similar to the Soldier, but instead your arms are above your head. The Starfish keeps the head, neck and back aligned and avoids any unconventional curves.
Personality traits of Starfish position sleepers: These sleepers make good friends because they’re always ready to listen to others , and offer help when needed. They generally don’t like to be the centre of attention.
Considerations when deciding on the best mattress for a back sleeper
When deciding on the right mattress for your sleeping position it's important to think about which areas of the body need to be supported.
For back sleepers, a gap is created in the lumbar (lower) region of your back. If left unsupported, this gap could cause pain. Whilst spring mattresses initially seem comfortable, they push back against your body which can cause pain and even lack of circulation to pressure points. Memory foam mattresses distribute body weight evenly and support the lumbar gap due to the dense nature of the foam, which can responsively react to pressure points.
Further support can be added to the shoulders by using memory foam pillows, which help improve body posture and support the neutral position that back sleeping provides.
Which type is the best mattress and firmness for back sleepers?
Choosing the right mattress, that supports your back sleeping position and personal preferences is important to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed and healthy from your perfect night's sleep.
Unlike side sleepers, who usually opt for a softer mattress, back sleepers usually choose medium-firm mattresses as they are firm enough to keep the body aligned, but soft enough to allow the spine to sit naturally, with minimised pressure points.
So, what is the best mattress for back sleepers?
When it comes to buying the best mattress for back sleeping, take the following into consideration:
- Mattress composition (Memory Foam)
- Gaps that need supporting
- Firmness (adjustable)
- Trial Period
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