How firm should a mattress be for a side sleeper

The importance of a supportive and comfortable mattress cannot be overstated when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. And for side sleepers, the question of mattress firmness becomes even more crucial.

So, what exactly is mattress firmness, and how can you determine which level is best for your specific needs?

What’s Mattress Firmness?

To begin, know that the firmness of a mattress indicates how hard or soft it is. This can be affected by several factors, such as the materials used in construction, the density of the foam, and the thickness of the layers.

Mattress manufacturers often use a 1–10 scale to grade firmness, with one being the softest and ten being the firmest.

Why is Mattress Firmness Important?

For side sleepers, the right level of firmness is crucial. When you sleep on your side, your shoulders and hips bear the most weight, so it’s essential to have a mattress that can provide enough support in these areas.

A soft mattress will allow your shoulders and hips to sink too far, causing poor spinal alignment and discomfort. On the other hand, a mattress that is too firm will not provide enough pressure relief, which can also be uncomfortable.

What’s the best firmness for a side sleeper?

But where’s the sweet spot for firmness when it comes to side sleepers?

Experts generally agree that a medium-firm mattress is the best option. This mattress will give you enough support to keep your spine straight while still being soft enough to relieve pressure on your shoulders and hips. Many mattress manufacturers rate their medium-firm models at a firmness level of 5 or 6 on the 1-10 scale.

But it’s important to note that what feels comfortable for one person may not feel comfortable for another. That’s why it’s crucial to test a mattress before making a purchase. If possible, try to test a mattress for a few minutes in your side-lying position to get a good sense of how comfortable it will be.

One way to improve the experience of sleeping on your side is to look into mattresses with extra materials like memory foam or latex. These materials are known for providing extra pressure relief and customized support.

This way, you can have all the benefits of a medium-firm mattress while also addressing specific pressure points in your shoulders and hips.


In conclusion, when it comes to mattress firmness, side sleepers should aim for a medium-firm option with a rating of 5 or 6 on a 1–10 scale. This will relieve pressure points and support the spine.

Memory foam and latex mattresses also have a medium firmness and extra layers that can improve your sleep, so don’t be afraid to try them.

And remember, what feels comfortable for one person may not feel the same for another, so take the time to find the perfect mattress.

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