Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers – Top 6 Beds and Buyer’s Guide
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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.
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 in the average and heavy weight groups. 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 and strong edge support. 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. It measures 15″ thick, making it ideal for sleepers who prefer higher-profile beds.
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.
Our Best Value is the Mint Mattress from Tuft & Needle, an all-polyfoam model infused with gel and charcoal to help keep the bed cool and comfortable compared to other all-foam models. The Mint Mattress is ‘Medium Firm’ (6) and measures 12″ thick, making it optimal for sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds, as well as lighter people who prefer moderate firmness and conforming settings.
The Mint Mattress also offers robust sleeper and edge support thanks to transitional and base layers of high-density polyfoam. These components ensure the sleep surface won’t sag too much, and that the edges won’t develop premature sinkage in places where people sit. The mattress also isolates motion transfer very well and does not produce any noise when bearing weight; these factors make the Mint ideal for couples who tend to wake up when the other person gets into/out of bed or shifts positions.
The Mint Mattress has an exceptionally low price-point. Tuft & Needle offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S., as well. The mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-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, according to couples who own the mattress. The Zenhaven is virtually silent when bearing weight, as well.
The Zenhaven’s price-point is somewhat high, making it suitable 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.
Side and back sleepers
Sleepers in every weight group (light, average, heavy)
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.
Side and back sleepers
Sleepers in every weight group (light, average, heavy)
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 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 bed.
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.
Side and back sleepers
Sleepers in every weight group (light, average, heavy)
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. Additionally, the WinkBed Plus is a ‘Medium Firm’ (6.5) design specifically made 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. The WinkBed also sleeps very cool.
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.
Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy)
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.
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.
What You Need to Know about Sleeping on Your Back
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 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
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
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 Mattresses Are Best/Worst 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.
The table below illustrates key differences and similarities between the five most common mattress types, and explains which are most suitable for back sleeping.
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)
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. 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. 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.