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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.
Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers
Editor’s Pick – DreamCloud
Best Value – GhostBed
Best Luxury – Zenhaven
Best for Lightweight Sleepers – Novosbed
Best for Average Weight Sleepers – Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Hybrid
Best for Heavyweight Sleepers – The WinkBed
The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress that was introduced in January 2018. It is considered a ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5 on the 1-10 firmness scale), which is one of the most popular firmness settings among back sleepers.
The DreamCloud is designed with a thick comfort system featuring layers of standard, quilted, and gel-infused memory foam, as well as latex. These components conform closely to the sleeper’s figure to alleviate pain and pressure points without sagging too much. A foam encasement around the pocketed coil support core also ensures a flat, even sleep surface. The mattress sleeps very cool, as well.
Other key strengths of the DreamCloud include good motion isolation and minimal noise, both of which can be beneficial for couples who awaken easily due to movement or noise. The mattress is also fairly responsive and good for sex.
DreamCloud mattresses are priced considerably lower than the average hybrid model. Additionally, customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free shipping. The mattress is backed by a 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty, both of which are much longer than average.
The GhostBed combines two pressure-relieving materials – memory foam and Dunlop latex – to create a comfortable, supportive sleep surface for back sleepers. The mattress is also priced much lower than the average model in all sizes.
The GhostBed is considered a ‘Medium Firm’ (6). The mattress helps minimize pressure points in their most sensitive areas, including the neck, shoulders, lumbar region, and hips. The high-density polyfoam support core also helps the mattress maintain a comfortable sleep surface. The mattress is also fairly durable, which is uncommon for beds with thick foam layers, and the lifespan is longer than average.
The GhostBed 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 foam model.
The GhostBed qualifies for free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed by a 101-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
The Zenhaven by Saatva is a flippable latex mattress with a different firmness setting on both sides; one side is ‘Medium Soft’ (4) and the other is ‘Firm’ (7). This makes it suitable for sleepers with fluctuating comfort preferences.
The Zenhaven is also a good choice for eco-friendly mattress shoppers. Both sides feature comfort layers of natural Talalay latex and organic cotton covers; the shared support core is also made of latex. These components allow the bed to sleep very cool.
Each side has unique benefits for sleepers. The softer side has latex that conforms closely for targeted pressure relief and minimizes motion transfer to a noticeable extent. The firmer side is more responsive and better for sex. The Zenhaven is virtually silent when bearing weight, as well.
The Zenhaven’s price-point is somewhat high, making it a good pick for shoppers with bigger budgets. However, like other mattresses from Saatva, the Zenhaven qualifies for free White Glove delivery; this service includes in-home mattress assembly and old mattress removal. The mattress is also backed by a 120-night sleep trial and 20-year 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; the mattress typically performs for at least seven years. The stretch-lyocell cover also allows the mattress 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 Alexander Signature Hybrid from Nest Bedding is designed to accommodate back sleepers in any weight group, particularly average weight (130 to 230 pounds) whose preferences may gear toward softer or firmer beds. The mattress is available in three firmness settings: ‘Soft’ (3), ‘Medium’ (5.5), and ‘Firm’ (7.5).
Comfort layers of gel memory foam and copper-infused polyfoam conform closely to alleviate pressure points in all sensitive areas. The copper element can also help improve blood circulation in sleepers. Copper also absorbs less body heat; combined with the phase-change material cover, the Alexander Signature Hybrid sleeps exceptionally cool for most.
The surface is also responsive enough for sex. The pocketed coil support core also ensures good airflow, produces little noise, and reinforces the bed for strong edge support. The mattress has a relatively long overall lifespan, even by hybrid standards.
Nest Bedding offers a lifetime comfort guarantee for the mattress, meaning owners can return the bed at any time for a partial refund; full refunds are offered within 100 nights of the original purchase. The Alexander Signature Hybrid also comes with a fully nonprorated lifetime warranty.
Finding a comfortable mattress can be difficult for heavier individuals, since many models are not firm enough to support their figures. The WinkBed is an innerspring offered in three firmness settings – ‘Medium Soft’ (4.5), ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5), and ‘Firm’ (7.5) – that accommodate back sleepers of all sizes, including those in the heavy weight group (more than 230 pounds). Additionally, the WinkBed Plus is an alternate version of the mattress specifically designed for heavier individuals
The mattress conforms closer and alleviates more pressure than most innersprings due to its complex comfort system, which consists of polyfoam, gel memory foam, and pocketed minicoil layers. The WinkBed also features a ‘lumbar pad’ made of compressed cotton specifically designed to minimize back pain and pressure points in the lumbar region.
Edge support is another benefit of the WinkBed. The pocketed coils are encased in foam, which reinforces the mattress and helps prevent sinkage around the perimeter where owners typically sit. The WinkBed also sleeps very cool and is responsive enough for sex.
The WinkBed qualifies for free delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S., and White Glove delivery is available for an additional charge. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.
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: