Best Sleep Number Setting for Side Sleepers

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A majority of the population sleeps on their side (74%, in fact!) so there’s a good chance if you’re reading this, you fall into the side-sleeper bucket.

When it comes to the best mattress for side sleepers, it’s important to choose wisely, since you’re probably susceptible to hip, back, or neck pain. While every body, is different, you should typically look for a mattress that provides medium to high firmness, good hip and neck support, and enough cushion to inhibit pelvic rotation.  

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If it’s hard to know exactly what type of support, firmness, and comfort you need, learning more about Sleep Number beds could be a smart option. These beds let you select a “Sleep Number” setting, which automatically makes your bed firmer or softer with the touch of a button. If you look into their 360 smart series beds, your mattress will have also have Responsive Air technology, which allows your bed to adjust to your movements while you sleep.

What Sleep Number Setting is Best for Me?

Sleep Number settings range from 0-100, and your number will be an increment of five. The higher the number, the more firm the bed will be. Most people have a Sleep Number between 30-60; any lower than 30 or higher than 60 will result in a bed that will (most likely) feel uncomfortably soft or hard.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to spit out a single number that is best for all side sleepers. However, if you know you like hard beds, there’s a good chance your setting will fall in the 45-60 number range. If you know you like a little bit more softness, your number might be closer to 30.

It’s also important to look beyond the number and towards the Sleep Number comfort layer. Most beds (excluding the c2 model) will have an extra layer of foam above the air chambers to provide different levels of pressure relief and body contouring. The thickness of these foam layers ranges from two inches to seven. If you like squishy and soft beds that still provide solid and firm support, you could always try a combination of a higher sleep number setting with a thicker comfort layer. And if you know you like really hard beds, the c2 model might be the best bet, since there is no comfort foam layer and thus your bed will feel pretty firm, no matter your Sleep Number setting.

What Sleep Number Model Do You Recommend Then?

The higher the model number, the more inches of comfort foam will be on top of your mattress. Side sleepers typically prefer lower Sleep Number model numbers, so beds like the c2 and c4 and Sleep Number 360 p5 could be good choices. The other options —  p5, p6, i7, i8, and i10 — will have significantly thicker layers of foam above the mattress (starting at five inches), which might not give enough support to people who sleep on their side.

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How Do I Find My Setting?

Here is a step-by-step guide for finding your sleep number:

Lie down.

Get into bed (bring your Sleep Number remote or SleepIQ app!) and lie down on your side. Make sure your pillows are propped as they would if you were actually sleeping.

Find your setting.

If you have your remote:

    • Press the Home button
    • Select Sleep Number
    • Use the up and down arrows to explore the different settings

If you’re in the SleepIQ® app:

    • Open your Bed Controls
    • Select the Sleep Number tab
    • Tap Help Me Find My Sleep Number®

(Each model has a slightly different remote, so these steps might be a little different. However, both the remote and app are quite intuitive, so you shouldn’t have a problem navigating them.

Pay attention to how the bed feels.

Sleep Number recommends bringing your setting up to 100 to understand whatthat feels like. Then, as the number goes down you’ll feel the bed get more and softer. Pay attention to how your body feels and reacts as the air chamber deflates.

Choose a setting and stick with it for a few days.

The moment your body feels like it hit that sweet spot — as a side sleeper, this means the mattress should “fill in” to support the curves of your side — press Enter or Stop on your remote or app. The setting will automatically save so you don’t need to adjust anything. From there, try it out for a few days. If you’re finding that after a few days something still doesn’t feel totally right, you can try adjusting your number 5 or 10 notches.

While there’s no “right” number for a certain sleeping position, it’s helpful to know you can always adjust your Sleep Number setting to find something that works for your body. That, coupled with the different comfort layer options, means you should have good luck finding a firmness that best supports your side-sleeping needs.

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Laura Schwecherl

Laura is a journalist with nearly a decade of experience reporting and covering topics in the health, fitness, and wellness space. She is also a marketing consultant, where she works with impact-oriented startups to build marketing and editorial strategies. Outside of work, you can find her reading Murakami novels, writing amateur poetry, or trail running in her hometown, Boulder, Colorado.

5 thoughts on “Best Sleep Number Setting for Side Sleepers”

  1. Hello,
    Both my husband and I are having trouble turning from one side to the other in our sleep number bed.
    My husband took off the heating/cooling element on his side. It seems to have made it better somewhat better fir him.
    I’m not satisfied with that because it was expensive having those elements on both sides.

    Plus, every few weeks my side deflates and needs to be pumped up.

    We really have not received any help from the store where we purchased it.

    Can you help me in any way?

    Thanks for listening.

  2. We were given a Sleep Number bed (C3) by my boss, to which I have added a 4” memory foam cover. We’ve had it since March 2020. I sleep on my side. Depending on how my back is feeling, I have run the gamut from 100 being very, very firm, to 20 being very, very soft. But what I have learned is once you find your own Sleep number and sleep on it, that number can vary up or down, sometimes by a tick or two, or conversely, by many bumps up or down in pressure. So, don’t get discouraged.

    Last night, my back ached. I took my medication and hit the sack. I tossed, turned and rolled around looking for the right position. Then I remembered….we have a Sleep Number. (Yeah, I did forget! But we weren’t at the store when this was bought, so that part of the adventure isn’t in my memory banks). I found the controller- My side was set at 100! So, I did what this article said, get comfy, and let it deflate until you are comfortable. That setting for me last night was a dreamy soft 20.

    I am grateful that this bed does the job of many beds.

  3. I cant seem to get right number I have fibryomia and have tried to get right one am a side sleeper.45 too hard 30 too soft.i feel like one of the 3 bears

  4. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images. Maybe you could space it out better?


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