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Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jenny Iyo

Written by Keith Cushner

Our Research

147
Mattresses Considered
350
Hours of Research
8
Mattress Executives Interviewed
3
Sleep Experts Consulted

Quick Overview

Mattress choice is an important consideration for back sleepers. The best mattress for back sleepers provides even, consistent support that conforms without excessive sagging. Back sleepers should also look at mattress firmness; the optimal firmness for average-weight back sleepers falls between ‘Medium’ and ‘Medium Firm.’ Lighter individuals often prefer softer surfaces, while heavier individuals tend to feel most comfortable on firmer surfaces.

Many of today’s mattress brands offer models that cater to the unique comfort preferences of back sleepers. We’ve reviewed the best of the best, and selected the six best mattresses for back sleepers, based on body weight, budget, and all-around customer satisfaction. All of our picks are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers
First Time Buying a Mattress?

Hop down to our Buyer’s Guide for a crash course on finding the best mattress for back sleepers.

 

The Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers - Reviewed

Editor's PickLeesa

Editor's Pick – Leesa

Highlights

  • 'Medium' (5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Good motion isolation and no noise
  • Close, consistent body conforming
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Editor's PickLeesa

leesa.com

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Our Editor’s Pick, the flagship Leesa memory foam mattress, offers consistent body conforming and pain and pressure relief at an affordable price. Two 2-inch layers of polyfoam and memory foam provide body-hugging comfort, above 6 inches of high-density polyfoam for support.

The Leesa has a ‘Medium’ (5) feel, making it ideal for side and back sleepers who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds. The mattress is also suitable for lighter individuals who prefer a good balance of deep conforming and stable support.

The Leesa also isolates motion very well and does not make any noise when bearing weight. As a result, the bed is a good option for couples who awaken easily due to movement or noise. And though it may trap heat for some, the mattress sleeps relatively cool compared to other all-foam beds.

In addition to offering a low price-point, Leesa provides free shipping to all 50 states. The mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

The Leesa has a crowd-pleasing ‘Medium’ feel that offers just the right amount of conforming and support back sleepers need. The bed relieves pressure throughout the spine and supports good spinal alignment. Best of all, the Leesa boasts a quality construction for a price-point that’s well below average.

  • Back sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less. The Leesa’s ‘Medium’ feel is most supportive for sleepers of average weight or below.
  • Couples. Multiple layers of foam absorb motion very well, so couples are unlikely to be disturbed by their sleep partner changing positions during the night.
  • Those with chronic back pain. The Leesa conforms closely to the sleeper’s body, alleviating pain and encouraging healthy alignment of the spine.
  • Those who like the traditional feel of memory foam. As an all-foam mattress, the Leesa creates a feeling of sleeping “in” as opposed to “on” the mattress.

Not Recommended for:

  • Sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds. The ‘Medium’ feel may be too soft to be adequately supportive for larger individuals.
  • Hot sleepers. While the Leesa sleeps cooler than many all-foam models, it can sleep hot for some.

Best ValueNectar

Best Value – Nectar

Highlights

  • 'Medium Firm' (6)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Excellent balance of conforming and support
  • Free standard shipping
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Best ValueNectar

nectarsleep.com

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The Nectar is our Best Value mattress pick for back sleepers. The Nectar is an all-foam mattress that comes with a very affordable price, while offering the same levels of consistent body conforming and pressure relief as higher-priced counterparts.

The mattress uses a thick, four-layer design that incorporates pressure-relieving memory foam to strike an excellent balance of comfort and support. Like all memory foam mattresses, the Nectar cradles the body with a noticeable body-hugging sensation.

The Nectar has a ‘Medium Firm’ (6) feel with greater stability than other memory foam beds, making the Nectar a great fit for back sleepers of any weight. Its all-foam build also works well for couples because it limits motion transfer, ensuring a quiet, still sleep surface throughout the night.

The Nectar’s price point is well below many beds with a similar design. Nectar includes free standard shipping to the contiguous U.S. For an additional fee, Nectar provides White Glove delivery, including old mattress disposal. Backed with a one-year sleep trial and lifetime warranty, the Nectar is the best pick for back sleepers on a budget.

The Bottom Line.

With its pressure-relieving design and ‘Medium Firm’ feel, the Nectar is a great mattress for back sleepers. What makes it a great mattress for back sleepers who like a good value, however, are its customer-focused perks. Nectar offers one of the longest sleep trials around, at 365 nights, along with free shipping, a lifetime warranty, and mattress setup and disposal services for an additional fee.

  • Back sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy). Thick layers of memory foam offer cushioning relief for lighter sleepers, while the ‘Medium Firm’ feel ensures heavier sleepers enjoy sufficient support.
  • Those who like the body-cradling feel of memory foam. Comfort layers of gel memory foam conform closely to the body, creating the feeling of sleeping “in” as opposed to “on” the mattress.
  • Couples. The all-foam construction gives the Nectar excellent motion isolation, so the mattress stays still and silent when bearing weight.
  • Sleepers with chronic pain. Two layers of gel memory foam provide premium pressure relief for sleepers with chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, and back.

Not Recommended for:

  • Those prefer a responsive mattress. As an all-foam mattress, the Nectar may not be bouncy enough during sex.
  • Lightweight back sleepers who change positions during the night. While the ‘Medium Firm’ feel of the Nectar is ideal for back sleepers of light weight, it can feel too firm when sleeping on the side or stomach.

Best LuxuryThe WinkBed

Best Luxury– The WinkBed

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4.5, 6.5, 7.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Good motion isolation
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
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Best LuxuryThe WinkBed

winkbeds.com

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The WinkBed – our Best Luxury mattress for back sleepers – is a sophisticated hybrid with a wide range of design options to accommodate sleepers with different body types and firmness preferences. The bed is available in three firmness settings: ‘Medium Soft’ (4.5), ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5), and ‘Firm’ (7.5). The two firmer options are best-suited for heavier back sleepers, while the softer design is optimal for lighter individuals.

The WinkBed mattress is built with gel memory foam and pocketed minicoil comfort layers, which offer moderate yet consistent body conforming and pressure relief, along with a compressed-cotton ‘lumbar pad’ that targets lower back pain. The pocketed coil support core is encased in high-density foam for added reinforcement.

Additionally, WinkBeds offers the WinkBed Plus. This alternative version of the WinkBed is ‘Firm’ (8) and specifically designed for heavier people. The memory foam and minicoil layers are exchanged for a thick latex comfort layer, which offers more responsiveness and stronger bodily support. The latex component extends the bed’s lifespan, as the material is more durable and resistant to wear than other mattress materials (such as foam). Both the WinkBed and WinkBed Plus offer above-average motion isolation compared to other hybrids, and neither produces much noise when bearing weight.

WinkBeds offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and White Glove delivery – which includes in-home assembly and old mattress removal – for an extra charge. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.

The Bottom Line.

We’ve chosen The WinkBed as our Luxury pick because it has something to offer nearly any back sleeper. There are four firmness settings to suit different body types, cooling gel foam to relieve hot sleepers, and a lumbar pad to comfort those with back pain.

  • Back sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy). The ‘Medium Soft’ model is recommended for lightweight sleepers, the ‘Medium Firm’ for those of average weight, and the ‘Firm’ or ‘Plus’ for heavier individuals.
  • Couples. Comfort layers of memory foam absorb noise and movement, ensuring a quiet, still sleep surface. Plus, thanks to its pocket coil support system, The WinkBed also offers a more responsive feel that’s great for sex.
  • Those who tend to sleep hot. The pocketed coils promote airflow throughout the mattress support core, while the use of gel, minicoils, or latex in the comfort layers keeps the mattress from trapping heat.
  • Those who prefer a more responsive feel. Despite having plush layers of memory foam or latex, The WinkBed feels more like an innerspring bed.

Not Recommended for:

  • Shoppers who want to be able to return their mattress quickly if they don’t love it. The 120-night sleep trial includes a mandatory 30-night break-in period.
  • Those who like the body-cradling feel of memory foam. While The WinkBed conforms well to the body, it will not feel like you’re sleeping “in” the mattress.

Best for Lightweight Back SleepersNovosbed

Best for Lightweight Back Sleepers – Novosbed

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (3.5, 5, 6.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 15-year warranty
  • Thick, pressure-relieving comfort layers
  • Great motion isolation
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Best for Lightweight Back SleepersNovosbed

novosbed.com

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The Novosbed is a memory foam mattress available in three firmness settings: ‘Soft’ (3.5), ‘Medium’ (5), and ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5). This wide selection is geared toward back sleepers in different weight groups, particularly lightweight individuals (less than 130 pounds) who often prefer less firm surfaces.

Two memory foam comfort layers offer exceptional conforming and targeted pressure relief, while a high-density polyfoam base layer ensures long-lasting support. Like most memory foam beds, the Novosbed isolates motion very well and produces virtually no noise when bearing weight.

The Novosbed has advantages over most memory foam mattresses. It is highly durable, for one; most models perform for at least seven years before they need to be replaced. Plus, the stretch-lyocell cover also allows the bed to sleep relatively cool compared to other memory foam models.

The Novosbed ships free throughout the contiguous U.S., as well as most locations in Canada. The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

Besides its cushiony, highly-conforming construction, the Novosbed stands out for offering two firmness settings that are ideal for lightweight back sleepers. The ‘Soft’ suits those who prefer a plusher surface, and the ‘Medium’ appeals to those who prefer a bit more firmness. Ultimately, however, either is soft enough to be comfortable for lightweight sleepers.

  • Back sleepers of light or average weight. While we applaud the Novosbed for offering two firmness levels suited for lightweight sleepers, the ‘Medium’ and ‘Medium Firm’ settings can be just as comfortable for average-weight individuals as well.
  • Couples. The Novosbed minimizes motion transfer, so sleepers are unlikely to be disturbed by their partner moving or shifting positions during the night.
  • Back pain sufferers. High-quality memory foams conform to the body and relieve pressure, improving spinal alignment and comfort for sleepers for back pain.
  • Those who normally sleep hot on all-foam beds. The Novosbed uses cooling gel in its top layer of memory foam, enabling the bed to trap less body heat than average for a memory foam mattress.

Not Recommended for:

  • Those looking for strong edge support. As is common with most all-foam beds, sinkage may be experienced when sitting on or sleeping near to the edge of the bed.
  • Shoppers who want to be able to return their mattress quickly if they don’t love it. The 120-night sleep trial includes a mandatory 60-night break-in period.

Best for Average Weight Back SleepersMemoryLux

Best for Average Weight Back Sleepers – MemoryLux

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4, 5, 7)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Good motion isolation and conforming
  • Durable, long-lasting support
Read Our Full Review
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Best for Average Weight Back SleepersMemoryLux

winkbeds.com

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The MemoryLux combines two pressure-relieving materials – gel-infused memory foam and open-cell memory foam – to create a comfortable, supportive sleep surface for back sleepers. The three firmness settings of the MemoryLux (4, 5, and 7) all center around the mid-range of the firmness scale, allowing sleepers of average weight to hone in on the ideal feel for them.

The high-density polyfoam support core helps the MemoryLux maintain a comfortable sleep surface. The mattress uses denser, high quality foams which gives us confidence in claiming the lifespan is longer than average. Additionally, the MemoryLux isolates motion quite well and produces no noise, making it a great fit for couples or light sleepers. The mattress also emits minimal off-gassing, and odor potential is much lower compared to the average memory foam bed.

The MemoryLux ships free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S and customers have an option for white glove delivery with old mattress removal for a small fee. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.

The Bottom Line.

The MemoryLux offers multiple firmness options, any of which should be suitable for back sleepers of average weight. This range of firmness settings is particularly well-suited to couples where one sleeper is of average-weight, and the other is heavier or lighter, as they can compromise on a firmness level and both sleep comfortably.

  • Sleepers in every weight group (light, average, heavy). We’ve chosen the MemoryLux as our top pick for back sleepers of average weight, but the truth is, with multiple firmness settings available, sleepers of other weight groups can enjoy this mattress, too.
  • Chronic pain sufferers. Memory foam conforms closely to the body, relieving pain and pressure, while the transitional layer of zoned polyfoam ensures even support.
  • Couples. The MemoryLux absorbs noise and motion extremely well, so the mattress surface stays virtually silent when bearing weight.
  • Those who normally sleep hot on all-foam beds. The top comfort layers sleep cooler than average, thanks to the use of gel-infused and open-cell foams. The breathable Tencel® lyocell cover also helps cool the mattress surface temperature.

Not Recommended for:

  • Those looking for strong edge support. Like other all-foam models, there can be roll-off when sitting on the edge of the mattress.
  • Those who want to be able to return their mattress quickly if they don’t love it. The 120-night sleep trial includes a mandatory 30-night break-in period.

 

 

Best for Heavyweight Back SleepersSaatva

Best for Heavyweight Back Sleepers – Saatva

Highlights

  • 'Medium Firm' (6.5)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Thick, pressure-relieving comfort system
  • Good motion isolation
Read Our Full Review
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Best for Heavyweight Back SleepersSaatva

saatva.com

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Back sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds usually prefer firmer mattresses. Beds that feel soft and conform closely can lead to excessive sagging and indentations in the sleep surface, compromising support and leading to more aches and pains for sleepers.

The Saatva is our selection for this weight group of back sleepers because it features a sophisticated coil-on-coil design that offers exceptional support and prevents these issues. The comfort system features layers of memory foam and polyfoam, along with pocketed coils for extra reinforcement. Meanwhile, the support core is made with steel-tempered bonnell coils that prevent sagging and minimize sinkage along the edges of the bed. These components give the Saatva a complex design that stands out from most competing innersprings.

Saatva mattresses are available in three firmness settings: Medium Soft’ (4), ‘Medium Firm’ (6), and ‘Firm’ (7.5). Additionally, customers can choose between 11.5- and 14.5-inch profiles. This firmness and thickness range should accommodate sleepers in any weight group. For heavier individuals, the two firmer options offer a good balance of pressure relief and structural support. Both profiles are thicker-than-average; heavier people often prefer high-profile beds because they are easier to get on and off of comfortably.

Saatva offers free White Glove delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. and Canada. Comparatively, most competing brands charge at least $100 for this service. The mattress is also backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.

The Bottom Line.

Back sleepers with heavier body types can’t afford to compromise on support from their mattress. The Saatva makes it so they don’t have to. This innerspring mattress ensures even, durable support throughout the mattress, while providing a perfect amount of cushioning and pressure relief to offer a comfortable night’s sleep.

  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups. The Saatva is built to support heavier individuals, especially in the ‘Firm’ setting, although the softer settings will easily accommodate sleepers of average weight just as well.
  • People who prefer high-profile beds. Sleepers can choose from either 11.5- or 14.5-inch profiles, either of which are significantly thicker than the average, 10-inch mattress.
  • Those who tend to sleep hot. Like most innerspring beds, the Saatva sleeps quite cool, thanks to freely flowing air in the support core.
  • Value seekers. The Saatva features an innovative design and quality construction, and comes packed with attractive customer perks like included White Glove Delivery and a longer-than-average sleep trial.

Not Recommended for:

  • Light sleepers. As an innerspring bed, the Saatva has a more responsive surface and minimal motion isolation, which may be a problem for those who wake easily from noise or movement.
  • Those who like the body-cradling feel of memory foam. The Saatva does provide more conforming than comparable innerspring beds, but overall it will feel that you are sleeping “on” as opposed to “in” the mattress.

Mattress Buying Guide for Back Sleepers

Below, we share everything back sleepers need to consider when buying a mattress, along with our best tips for buying a new mattress (regardless of your sleep position).

What You Need to Know about Sleeping on Your Back

Fewer than 10% of adults in the U.S. sleep on their backs. The most common positions associated with back sleeping include the following:

  • Soldier: Both arms are fully extended at the sides, and one or both legs are slightly bent at the knee.
  • Starfish: Both arms are bent at the elbows and extended upward (parallel with the head), while one or both legs are bent at the knee.
  • Savasana: Both arms and both legs are fully extended.

Sleeping Positions - Back

None of these positions are technically ‘correct’ or ‘better’ than the others. However, back sleeping — like side sleeping — naturally aligns the spine with the pelvis, which can help alleviate discomfort and pressure points throughout the body. A supportive mattress can help ensure comfortable sleep night after night, while an unsupportive mattress may lead to more aches and pains.

Benefits and Risks of Back Sleeping

Back sleeping is fairly uncommon among U.S. adults, but this position carries certain health benefits. One of these benefits is natural alignment of the neck, spine, and pelvis; this alignment can minimize aches, pains, and pressure points throughout the body.

In addition to proper spinal alignment, there are other benefits to sleeping on your back. The position does not require any additional support pillows, unlike side and stomach sleeping, and you’re less likely to develop facial wrinkles while sleeping on your back.

However, back sleeping also carries the following health risks:

  • Snoring: Your tongue and breathing muscles relax when you sleep on your back, and this can hinder air circulation in your throat. As a result, people tend to snore more when they sleep on their backs. This is especially true of those with sleep apnea, a disorder characterized by temporary loss of breath during sleep.
  • Acid reflux: Acid reflux is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which occurs when stomach acid enters the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach. Acid reflux irritates the stomach lining, which can lead to heartburn and chest pains. People with GERD are more susceptible to acid reflux-related discomfort when they sleep on their back.
  • Neck pain: Back sleepers often experience neck strains and cramps due to their pillow being either too thin or too thick. Pillow loft (or thickness) is directly tied to the sleeper’s body weight, shoulder width, and head size.
  • Pregnancy discomfort: Pregnant women often experience discomfort in their midsection as their bellies expand, largely due to unequal weight distribution. Sleeping on one’s back during the second or third trimester of pregnancy can cause lower back pain to develop. For this reason, most physicians recommend that pregnant women sleep on their sides to alleviate the pressure of this extra weight.

Choosing the Best Mattress for Back Sleeping: Finding Your Firmness Level

support alignment back sleepersMattress support is key for back sleepers. A supportive mattress will have a flat, even surface that will conform to the sleeper’s body and align the spine without sinking too deeply. How supportive or unsupportive a mattress feels will largely depend on two factors: the firmness of the sleep surface and the sleeper’s body weight.
Mattress firmness is assigned using a 1 to 10 scale, with 1 being the least firm and 10 being the firmest. The majority of mattresses sold today range from 3 (or ‘Soft’) to 8 (or ‘Extra Firm). People who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds are considered to be ‘average weight’; for most people in this group, ‘medium’ or ‘medium firm’ mattresses offer the best support because they conform to a degree but to not sink excessively.

Firmness preferences are usually different for other weight groups. People who weigh less than 130 pounds may prefer a softer mattress, while those who weigh more than 230 pounds often feel most comfortable on a ‘firm’ or ‘extra firm’ mattress because softer sleep surfaces sink too deeply; this also compromises support.

The table below illustrates the varying firmness preferences for back sleepers in different weight groups.

Back Sleeper Weight Most Suitable Firmness Range Explanation
Less than 130 pounds Medium Soft or softer People who are lighter than average may find that firmer mattresses don’t conform as closely; this minimizes pain and pressure relief, and may also compromise support. Softer sleep surfaces will conform closer to lighter back sleepers, ensuring more comfort and better support.
130 to 230 pounds Medium to Medium Firm Back sleepers in the average weight group tend to prefer mattresses with middle-of-the-road firmness. The mattress will conform to help align the spine and alleviate aches and pains, but excessive sinkage is rarely reported.
More than 230 pounds Medium Firm or firmer Back sleepers who are heavier than average may experience discomfort and increased pressure when they sleep on excessively soft sleep surfaces. They tend to sink too deeply, which undermines mattress support. A firmer mattress is generally recommended for back sleepers in this weight group.

The diagram below illustrates the optimal firmness settings for back sleepers in each of the three weight groups.

Which Types of Mattresses Are Best for Back Sleepers?

In addition to firmness and sleeper weight, the material composition of a mattress is another important consideration for back sleepers. Mattresses with foam, latex, or air chamber layers tend to conform better and alleviate more pressure, while those with coils sleep cooler and provide better edge support. Other factors for choosing a mattress type include durability, noise, odor potential, and price-point.

Below, we provide an overview of the five most common mattress types, including their material composition, and their pros and cons for back sleepers.

Best Foam Beds for Back Sleepers

Mattress Brands
Nectar Mattress Review
Mattress Brands
Novosbed Mattress Review
Mattress Brands
MemoryLux Mattress Review

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses have a support base of high-density polyfoam, with comfort layers of polyfoam or memory foam. These mattresses are favored for their pressure-relieving “hug.” The memory foam creates the feeling of sleeping “in” the mattress, as the foam conforms closely to the body. For back sleepers, that close conforming means the mattress cradles their body, filling in the gaps between their spine and the mattress surface to promote proper alignment. This ensures a comfortable night’s sleep for any back sleeper, especially for those with chronic pain.

Other benefits of foam mattresses include their superior motion isolation. The foams absorb movement and don’t produce noise, so the bed’s surface stays silent and still despite disruptions from a moving partner or pet.

As for cons, foam mattresses do have the potential to trap body heat, thanks to their body-hugging feel. Some mattress brands alleviate this to an extent by infusing their foam with cooling material like copper, graphite, or gel – as we see with the MemoryLux, Novosbed, and Nectar mattresses. Another downside to foam mattresses is their minimal edge support.

Best Innerspring Beds for Back Sleepers

Mattress Brands
Saatva Mattress Review

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses use a grid of evenly spaced steel springs in their support core, with base layers of polyfoam. On top, the comfort layers are made of polyfoams, memory foam, or even minicoils, as we see in the Saatva.

That uniform coil support layer makes these mattresses particularly supportive for back sleepers. The innerspring base provides evenly distributed support throughout the mattress, keeping the sleeper’s spine straight. Then, comfort layers provide the sleeper with a small amount of cushioning and pressure point relief.

However, innerspring mattresses can be prone to sagging, and tend to have shorter lifespans than other mattresses. Back sleepers will likely need to replace their mattress after a handful of years; otherwise, they may start waking up with aches and pains.

As long as the mattress stays sag-free, these beds can be a great choice for back sleepers who tend to sleep hot, want a good value, and enjoy a responsive surface for sex. The innerspring coil core keeps these beds cool throughout the night, and also lends them an excellent bounce for amorous activity. Plus, these beds are widely available and usually pretty affordable.

Best Hybrid Beds for Back Sleepers

Mattress Brands
WinkBeds Mattress Reviews

Hybrid Mattresses

The “hybrid” in hybrid mattresses refers to these beds combining different qualities of foam and innerspring beds. Hybrid mattresses use pocketed coils as their support system, along with base layers of polyfoam. Comfort layers include at least two inches of latex or memory foams.

Hybrid mattresses offer several benefits to back sleepers, the most notable being their balance of conforming and support. The comfort layer of these mattresses is thick enough to provide serious pressure relief, with additional contouring from the individual pocketed coil core. However, since hybrid beds do have a coil-based support system, back sleepers are prevented from sinking too deeply into the mattress – especially in the pelvis area, which can lead to pain in the lower back.

Other benefits include the bed’s strong edge support, which can be an important consideration for couples, those who sleep across the surface of their bed, or anyone who needs to sit on the edge of the mattress when getting in and out of bed. Hybrid beds also tend to sleep cooler than all-foam beds, since the pocketed coil core promotes airflow.

However, hybrid mattresses will not sleep as cool as innerspring beds, so those who tend to sleep hot will want to take a close look at the heat potential of the foams used in the comfort layers. Cooling materials like graphite, gel, or natural latex will help neutralize the mattress temperature.

These beds can also carry a higher price-point than the average mattress, and tend to have a dense construction that makes them more difficult to move.

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses use latex or high-density polyfoam in their support layer, with natural or synthetic latex foams in their comfort layer. The use of latex gives these mattresses a unique feel that can feel too responsive for some back sleepers, and just right for others.

Generally, latex mattresses are popular among those who want a mix of contouring and support, without the heat-trapping “hug” of memory foam. Like all-foam beds, latex mattresses boast minimal motion transfer (so they sleep quiet). However, they tend to sleep significantly cooler – and all the more so if they’re made entirely from natural latex. Because they’re made from latex, they have a natural “springiness” that makes them great for sex, too.

However, latex mattresses are not without their cons. These beds typically have below-average edge support, and they’re also more expensive and less available than other mattress types.

Airbed Mattresses

Airbeds use air as their support system, with individual air chambers that can be adjusted manually or using a remote control. Comfort layers are usually comprised of foam.

When it comes to firmness, airbeds offer sleepers a level of customization that’s unmatched by any other mattress types. They can simply adjust the amount of air in the chambers to their exact desired firmness. This feature can make airbeds a smart choice for back sleepers with chronic pain, or varying firmness needs.

However, this may require more finagling than some mattress owners want to deal with. Further, while airbeds can last longer than other mattress types, various parts will need regular replacement in order to reach their maximum lifespan.

The table below summarizes the key differences and similarities between these five most common mattress types, and explains which are most suitable for back sleeping.

Mattress Type Foam Latex Innerspring Hybrid Airbed
Construction Polyfoam or memory foam comfort layer
High-density polyfoam support core
Natural or synthetic latex comfort layer
Latex or high-density polyfoam support core
Polyfoam comfort layer
Evenly spaced steel springs in the support core, plus base polyfoam layers
Latex and/or memory foam comfort layer (2″ or more)
Pocketed coil support core, plus base polyfoam layers
Foam comfort layer
Individual, adjustable air chamber support core (manual or remote control)
Average Price (Queen) $1,044.16 $1,970.51 $1,037.97 $2,076.70 $2,282.75
Average Lifespan 5 to 6 years 7 to 8 years 4 to 6 years 6 to 7 years 7 to 9 years
Pros for Back Sleepers Close conforming
Pain and pressure relief
Good motion isolation
No noise
Low price-point
Wide availability
Long lifespan
Close conforming
Pain and pressure relief
Good motion isolation
No noise
Sleeps cooler than foam
Strong edge support
Good for sex
Sleeps cool
Low price-point
Wide availability
Long lifespan
Strong edge support
Better conforming than innersprings
Sleeps cool
Long lifespan
Close conforming Pain and pressure relief
Adjustable firmness settings
Cons for Back Sleepers Sleeps hot
Odor potential
Some early sagging reported
Minimal edge support
Odor potential
Some early sagging reported
Minimal edge support
High price-point
Minimal conforming and pressure relief
Noise potential
Some early sagging reported
May sleep hot
Noise potential
High price-point
Temperature neutrality issues for some
Noise potential
High price-point

Tips for Buying a Mattress

Once you decide which mattress type is best for you, here are some tips for ordering and purchasing your new mattress:

  • Settle on a realistic budget.

    The average mattress costs more than $1,000 in a Queen size, but costs per model may be anywhere from less than $100 to more than $5,000. Airbeds, hybrids and all-latex models tend to be more expensive, while foam and innerspring mattresses usually more affordable.

    A good strategy for shoppers is to calculate a feasible mattress price range based on both the mattress type and your personal budget. Also keep in mind that extra shipping and handling charges often apply to orders outside the contiguous U.S., as well as deliveries to remote locations in the lower 48 states.

  • Choose your sleep trials carefully.

    The vast majority of mattress sellers offer ‘sleep trials’ to customers. These trials allow the purchaser to test out the mattress for a given length of time (typically 90 nights or longer), and then return the mattress within the trial period if they are dissatisfied with the product. All of our mattress picks for back sleepers offer sleep trials lasting 100 nights or more, with the Nectar and Saatva offering sleep trials lasting a full year.

    Sleep trials can be helpful, but be sure to read the fine print: some sellers charge return fees that can amount to hundreds of dollars in some cases. Also be sure to check if there is a ‘mandatory break-in period’ before returns are allowed; some sellers require purchasers to test out the mattress for at least 30 nights.

  • Inquire about the mattress warranty.

    Mattresses typically come with a product warranty against certain defects that extends 10 years or longer. These defects often include sinkage or indentations in the sleep surface that measure beyond a certain depth, as well as material and manufacturing defects with the mattress layers and cover.

    However, the overall warranty length is not as important as the length of nonprorated coverage. During nonprorated coverage, mattress owners pay little (if anything) to have a defective mattress repaired or replaced; when prorated coverage kicks in, they must pay a certain percentage of the original price to have the mattress repaired or replaced, and this percentage usually increases with each successive year. Be sure to read the fine print on your mattress warranty; many warranties lasting 10 years or longer will only offer one or two years of nonprorated coverage.

Common Mattress FAQs

  • How Long Do Mattresses Last

    On average, mattresses tend to last anywhere between six and eight years. How long a mattress lasts primarily depends on the materials it’s made from.

    There are a few common ways that mattresses begin to deteriorate over time. One of these is sagging, where parts of the bed begin to drop down, making the sleep surface uneven. Additionally, many mattresses foam body impressions over time, and sometimes just significantly soften as a whole.

    Innerspring and all-foam mattresses are on average the least durable mattresses. For innersprings, this issue is generally sagging, whereas foam is susceptible to body impressions. The best way to avoid this is to look for lower gauge (thicker) coils in innersprings and higher-density foam in all-foam mattresses.

    Hybrid mattresses contain both foam and springs, which means they’re susceptible to everything that all-foam and innerspring mattresses are. That being said, hybrid beds are usually sold as higher-end options and built with higher-quality materials, making them more durable.

    Natural latex mattresses are known as the most durable mattresses. While they do sag and soften, they do so over a longer period of time.

    For more information on how long a mattress should last, check out our guide here.

  • Do I Need a Box Spring or Foundation?

    The short answer is no, you don’t neceasrily need a box spring or foundation. While foundations allow you to customize the height of your mattress, utilize underbed storage, and modify the aesthetic of your bedroom, they won’t affect the actual feel or comfort of the mattress.

    Need help finding a base for you mattress? Check our top picks for the best bed frames here.

Pillow Recommendations for Back Sleepers

Enjoying a good night’s sleep as a back sleeper isn’t only dependent on your mattress; your pillow matters, too. To ensure proper spinal alignment all the way through the head and neck, it’s essential for back sleepers to choose the right pillow. This “perfect pillow” will be a mixture of the ideal loft, fill material, and shape for your comfort preferences.

Pillow Loft

The best pillow for back sleepers is one that fills the space between your neck and the mattress surface, thereby keeping your head in line with the rest of your spine. Many back sleepers – particularly those with sleep apnea – choose to use a thicker pillow beneath their heads to reduce snoring. However, you want to avoid using a pillow that’s too thick. The goal is to elevate your head, not force it to tilt inward toward your chest.

Generally, back sleepers prefer a pillow with at least a medium loft (3 to 5 inches), or higher – in the case of larger individuals or those with sleep apnea.

Pillow Fill

Today’s pillows come in a range of materials. Popular pillow choices for back sleepers include:

  • Latex pillows: Made from solid latex, these pillows offer good support and close conforming for back sleepers. Latex pillows have a firmer quality that allows them to maintain their shape throughout the night, supporting spinal alignment. They’re also a great choice if you tend to sleep hot or have allergies, as latex is naturally breathable and hypoallergenic.
  • Memory foam pillows: Memory foam pillows are made from either shredded or solid memory foam. Like memory foam mattresses, they respond to body pressure and heat, so they conform closely to the sleeper’s head and cradle it in place. Firmer memory foam pillows are recommended for back sleepers, as softer pillows may allow the head to sink too deeply and out of alignment with the rest of the spine.
  • Buckwheat pillows: These pillows contain up to 10 pounds of buckwheat hulls. The standout feature of these pillows is that the loft can easily be adjusted to the sleeper’s preference; simply add or remove the filler. Once you’ve found the right loft, the pillow provides good support and close conforming.

While experiences can vary, it’s usually best for back sleepers to avoid pillows made from down, down alternative, or polyester. These materials can be too soft to be sufficiently supportive for back sleepers. Worse, they’re prone to lose their shape during the night.

Pillow Shape

In addition to fill, shape is another consideration for back sleepers. Today’s pillow shapes fall into one of two categories: even/flat, or curved-surface. Either shape can be comfortable for back sleepers.

However, some back sleepers find particular comfort from curved-surface pillows like cervical memory foam pillows. These fill in that space below the neck and the mattress surface, providing additional pain and pressure relief for sleepers with chronic pain in the neck or shoulders.

Support Pillows

Fortunately, back sleepers do not require support pillows like side and stomach sleepers do. However, some back sleepers may choose to place a pillow under their knees. This relieves pressure in the lower back, particularly on firmer mattress surfaces where the body lies more on “top” of the mattress.

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