Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Hip Pain
A question often asked is, “What is the best mattress for side sleepers with hip pain?” Whether positioned in The Sprinter, The Log, or The Fetal, side sleepers need a lot from their beds. It must contour to the parts of their body that stick out, namely the hips and shoulders, while keeping the spinal column and neck aligned and supported.
Although side sleepers prove less likely to snore or experience airflow issues than back sleepers, they may face issues with pelvic rotation and spinal misalignment while they sleep.
In this article, we outline sleeping problems unique to side sleepers, and offer mattress recommendations.
Top 3 Sleeping Position for Side Sleepers
What Causes Hip Pain While Sleeping
An issue with the rotator cuff is the common cause of shoulder pain at night: the rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that affix to the bones of your shoulder joint, enabling it to remain stable and move properly.
Pain in the rotator cuff, which can be experienced throughout the day, but particularly sharply during the night, is caused by the following conditions:
- Calcific tendonitis
- Rotator cuff tendinitis
- Rotator cuff tears
Among these, the most prominent condition is rotator cuff tendinitis, characterized by the degradation of your rotator cuff due to chronic overuse. The resulting tear may be partial or full, and will lead to the irritation of the bursa that is present on the cuff.
Tendonitis is a superficially similar condition with symptoms including inflammation and micro-tears(“fraying”) of the tendon, which occur when your shoulder is placed under repeated and/or heavy stress due to athletic activity, bad posture (both when awake and asleep), or even remaining stationary in the same position for too long.
Getting adequate rest in the correct posture for your shoulder is an essential part of dealing with a bad rotator cuff, along with medication, physical therapy, and surgery.
Qualities to Look for When Choosing a Mattress for Side Sleepers
The three most important factors for mattress selection among side sleepers are firmness, support, and pelvic rotation. As a result, the best mattress for side sleepers is one that takes all of these factors into consideration.
In terms of mattress firmness, side sleepers tend to fare better with soft to medium mattresses. Softer material better contours to the curves of the body.
When you sleep on your side, your shoulders and hips tend to stick out more than the rest of your body. If the mattress is too firm, these parts will create uncomfortable pressure points and misalign the spine.
Softer mattresses allow your hips and shoulders to sink into the mattress. This helps to relieve pressure points and promote better spinal alignment. More important than softness—the bed must contour to curves without losing support.
With side sleepers, a good supportive layer must back up the softer comfort layer. This keeps curves of the spine and neck naturally aligned.
During the night, a relaxed, aligned spine releases pressure built from the daily stresses of gravity and poor posture. If the spine twists and muscles remain tense during the night, the body isn’t renewing itself for the following day.
Having a supportive mattress is not the same thing as having a mattress of hard firmness. Well-built softer mattresses provide both conformity and support.
Pelvic rotation refers to a turning of the hips, which misaligns the back muscles and lumbar spine.
For example, when a side sleeper twists one knee down or curls their legs up to their upper body, pelvic rotation may occur. The top or bottom half of the body turns to closer resemble a stomach sleeping position, preventing the spine from laying straight.
This also occurs when mattress doesn’t contour to and accommodate hips and shoulders to minimize pressure points. On a too firm or too shallow bed, your sleeping body may compensate by twisting the pelvis thus misaligning the spine.
Best Category of Mattress for Hip Pain
Memory foam is something with which you are likely familiar. It’s been around for a while now and has been used in everything from beds to shoes. One of the biggest benefits of memory foam is its ability to allow you to sink into it. This is caused by your body heat interacting with the material, causing it to be more viscous and thus forming to your shape. It’s a really neat trick.
Memory foam tends to get a little hot, so if you’re going this route, I suggest you make sure the product either has an open cell structure to make sure air flows through it, or you get gel-infused memory foam, which will help disperse the heat.
Memory foam is likely the best mattress for side sleepers with hip pain and shoulder pain. Because you’re able to sink deeply into it, your body won’t be bent into any sort of awkward position. You will be able to lay straight and have the bed cradle your side. This will make for great comfort, but it won’t work all that well without a good support layer, something like a high-density polyfoam or support coils.
Latex foam has a couple cool benefits. First off, it’s going to feel a bit bouncier than memory foam does. In that regard, it will feel a bit more like a traditional mattress as opposed to the intense sinking feeling you get with memory foam. Second, latex memory foam is better for the environment.
Unlike memory foam and other polyfoam derivatives which are made entirely of chemicals and such, latex foam is made from, you guessed it latex. This is a renewable resource as it comes from trees. As such, way better for the planet, this is a great thing.
Performance-wise, it’s going to behave similarly to memory foam. While it won’t conform quite as well, it will still give you a little of that sinking sensation. It’ll also be a little easier to maneuver on, considering the additional bounciness and response time.
There are both latex and memory foam hybrid mattresses, and they’re pretty much what they sound like. They combine multiple types of mattress technology into a single mattress. Primarily you’ll see this in an innerspring memory foam hybrid or innerspring latex hybrid.
The biggest benefit to these is the additional support they provide, something neither of these products can do especially well on their own. While both latex and memory foam can help distribute pressure, you’re going to need a good core to really make sure you’re comfortable, and a hybrid mattress is a good option for that. You’re likely to find that a hybrid mattress is one of the best beds for hip pain and shoulder pain.
The best mattress for hip pain and shoulder pain, whether it uses memory foam or latex, must still have a reasonably deep support layer, so that it doesn’t have your body sink in all the way through (a frequent problem with cheaper mattresses) resulting in pain due to inadequate support for your pressure centers!
While a thicker layer of latex as the support core may do the trick on its own, many memory foam mattresses, by virtue of the material’s softness, need a firmer mechanism underneath such as polyurethane, or even innersprings. What you choose depends on the kind of firmness you want from your bed.
Best Memory Foam Mattress for Hip Pain
Amerisleep Liberty memory foam mattress
The Amerisleep Liberty memory foam mattress, made entirely from multiple layers of biodegradable memory foam, is a rejuvenating, reasonably luxurious sleeping solution designed to provide soft, conforming, pressure relieving comfort.
The Liberty happens to be one of the most eco-friendly mattresses in the industry – the foam is CertiPUR-US certified, with a top cover infused with Celliant – a proprietary material that conserves the heat exuded by your body and reflects it towards you to promote healing and bolster pain relief.
The top memory foam layer (3″) sports an open cell design, yielding both contouring support and decent thermal dissipation. The middle layer (2″) is a bit firmer, and is meant to create a transition in terms of response and support between the comfort and base layers. The bottom layer (7″) offers firm, deep support to ensure optimal spinal alignment.
A standout feature of this mattress is that besides the pain relief offered by multiple memory foam layers, the Celliant fibers reflect your body heat to increase your blood flow, which also alleviates minor aches in your bones and muscles.
• All natural memory foam composition.
• Memory foam layers become progressively firm to yield both conformity and compressive support.
• Celliant infused cover redirects your heat to soothe minor aches.
• Foam has CertiPUR-US Certification.
• Extensive 20 year warranty coupled with 100 nights trial period.
• Celliant fiber makes it a bit hot to sleep in.
• Edge support leaves something to be desired.
The Spindle mattress
The Spindle mattress’s top and middle layers, both 3″ deep, have an ILD of 17.5 – 20.5 lbs., ensuring medium firm, springy and conforming support that latex is known for. However, the bottom layer has a significantly higher ILD of 29.5 – 32.5, which provides the firm support needed for properly sustaining the whole weight of your body.
The organic cotton cover, filled with a woolen batting, perfectly complements the overall springy responsiveness of the mattress with a surface that “hugs” you gently without altering the unique feel oflatex.
It is also worth noting that Spindle lets you order additional latex comfort layers to customize the feel of your mattress by swapping out the existing layers. Furthermore, the latex conforms to OEKO-Tex standards for not containing any harmful substances that could compromise your health.
The mattress does a good job of preventing motion transfer, so if you sleep with a restless partner, this is again a good choice. In terms of temperature regulation, latex is known for excellent thermal dissipation and correspondingly, the Spindle mattress performs more than adequately (although it isn ‘t the coolest solution out there).
• Responsive, bouncy support combined with slightly plush surface feel.
• Natural latex offers ample contouring and motion isolation, for a long period of time.
• Extra firm bottom layer offers deep support to keep your body shape aligned.
• Conforms to chemical safety standards.
• 10 year limited warranty.
• Lacking in edge support.
• Not for obese individuals.