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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. Additionally, back sleepers do not require support pillows like side and stomach sleepers do. However, many back sleepers – particularly those with sleep apnea – choose to use a thicker pillow beneath their heads to reduce snoring.
Mattress choice is an important consideration for back sleepers. The ideal mattress for these sleepers will provide even, consistent support that will conform 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.
Read on to learn more about important mattress factors for back sleepers. Below you will find our choices for the top six mattresses for back sleepers; our picks are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Our Editor’s Pick, the flagship Leesa memory foam mattress, offers consistent body conforming and pain and pressure relief at an affordable price.
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 and heavier 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 Nectar is our pick for Best Value 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. The mattress is especially good for back sleepers under 130 pounds or over 230 pounds. Its all-foam build works well for couples because it limits motion transfer.
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 WinkBed – our Best Luxury pick 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 – particularly side sleepers. The 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 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. However, 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 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 Memorylux combines two pressure-relieving materials – memory foam and aircell foam latex – to create a comfortable, supportive sleep surface for back sleepers.
The high-density polyfoam support core also helps the mattress maintain a comfortable sleep surface. The mattress uses denser, high quality foams which gives us confidence in claiming the lifespan is longer than average. The MemoryLux isolates motion quite well and produces no noise. 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.
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, which compromise support and can lead 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. 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 1/2″ and 14 1/2″ 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.
Fewer than 10% of adults in the U.S. sleep on their backs. The most common positions associated with back sleeping include the following:
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.
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:
Mattress 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.
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.
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.
The table below illustrates key differences and similarities between the five most common mattress types, and explains which are most suitable for back sleeping.
|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
Pain and pressure relief
Good motion isolation
Sleeps cooler than foam
|Strong edge support
Good for sex
Strong edge support
Better conforming than innersprings
Close conforming Pain and pressure relief
Adjustable firmness settings
|Cons for Back Sleepers||Sleeps hot
Some early sagging reported
Minimal edge support
Some early sagging reported
Minimal edge support
|Minimal conforming and pressure relief
Some early sagging reported
|May sleep hot
|Temperature neutrality issues for some
Once you decide which mattress type is best for you, here are some tips for ordering and purchasing your new mattress: