Best Mattress for Combination Sleepers 2018 | Tuck Sleep

Best Mattresses for Combination Sleepers

The term ‘combination sleeper’ refers to anyone who regularly sleeps in more than one side, back, and/or stomach position during the course of a single night. Most people are technically combination sleepers, even if they largely prefer one specific position over other options.

Combination sleeping is not technically ‘correct,’ nor is is ‘better’ than singular sleep positions. The health benefits of combination sleeping largely depend on the sleeper’s unique routine, although exercising multiple positions can improve blood circulation and minimize the risk of limb numbness.

Finding a mattress that provides adequate support regardless of sleep position can be a tricky undertaking. This guide will look at some important mattress considerations for combination sleepers.

What You Need to Know about Combination Sleeping

Spinal alignment is a key factor for combination sleepers. Whether they are sleeping on their side, back, or stomach, the spine should be aligned with the shoulders and pelvis. Spinal misalignment can cause pressure points to develop all over the body, particularly in the neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips. Here are some factors to keep in mind about spinal alignment in different sleep positions:

  • Side sleeping is the most popular sleep position, and is widely preferred among people with back pain and pregnant women. This is because sleeping with your hips and shoulders on a supportive sleep surface can align the spine and help alleviate pressure points. People who snore and/or experience acid reflux symptoms also tend to sleep better on their sides because this position provides the best air circulation in breathing passages. However, side sleeping can cause facial wrinkles to develop more quickly. Additionally, side sleeping may require additional pillows between the knees and under the legs in order to be sufficiently comfortable.
  • Back sleeping, like side sleeping, promotes natural spinal alignment. However, people with larger, heavier stomachs — including pregnant women — may develop lower back or hip pain due to uneven weight distribution on top of their midsection. Back sleeping is also associated with more snoring, and it may exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.
  • Stomach sleeping is generally not recommended because of the high potential for pain and discomfort. Because we tend to carry a high concentration of weight in our midsections, stomach sleeping can cause strain on the spine and lower back when this weight pulls the rest of the body toward the mattress. Additionally, most stomach sleepers crane their heads to the left or right, which can cause neck aches.

If a combination sleeper develops aches and pains during the night, this may be the result of either sleeping in a position that leads to discomfort or using a mattress that does not provide adequate support in any position. It’s important to note that some mattresses are specifically designed to accommodate sleepers in singular positions. These models may not be suitable for combination sleepers.

Choosing the Best Mattress for Combination Sleeping

back sleeping spine alignmentBecause spinal alignment is so important to combination sleepers, support should be one of their first considerations when selecting a new mattress. Support refers to the mattress’s ability to provide a flat, even surface that conforms in certain areas to properly align the spine. Unsupportive mattresses, either too firm or not firm enough, have uneven surfaces that lead to misalignment.

Mattress firmness is assigned on a scale of 1 to 10, with ‘1’ being the least firm and ’10’ being the firmest. Most mattresses sold today fall between a ‘3,’ or ‘Soft,’ and an ‘8,’ or ‘Extra Firm.’ The right firmness for a given sleeper will largely depend on his or her weight. Those in the average weight group — 130 to 230 pounds — tend to prefer mattresses that offer a balance of softness and firmness, but preferences differ for those weighing less than 130 pounds or more than 230 pounds.

The table below illustrates optimal firmness settings for combination sleepers in all three weight groups.

Combination Sleeper WeightMost Suitable Firmness RangeExplanation
Less than 130 poundsMedium SoftPeople who are lighter than average often require softer sleep surfaces that conform to their bodies more closely and align the spine better. A ‘Medium Soft’ mattress conforms to a noticeable extent without sinking too deeply. Firmer mattresses provide less conforming for the below-average weight group; excessive firmness can undermine overall support, and lead to increased discomfort and pressure.
130 to 230 poundsMedium to Medium FirmCombination sleepers in the average weight group typically prefer mattresses that conform to some extent and align the spine without sinking too deeply. A ‘Medium’ or ‘Medium Firm’ mattress is often the most suitable option for these sleepers.
More than 230 poundsFirmCombination sleepers who are heavier than average often need firmer mattresses with sleep surfaces that conform a little but do not sink. Softer mattresses tend to sink excessively, which can cause major pain and discomfort.

The diagram below lists the optimal firmness settings for combination sleepers in all three weight groups.

Which Mattresses Are Best/Worst for Combination Sleepers?

In addition to spinal alignment and suitable firmness, combination sleepers should also take the material composition of a mattress into consideration. Some mattress types conform closer and alleviate more pain and pressure than others. Additionally, material composition can affect other factors such as odor and noise potential, durability, sleep temperature, and price-point.

The table below lists key similarities and differences between the five most common mattress types, including average prices and customer satisfaction ratings.

Mattress TypeFoamLatexInnerspringHybridAirbed
ConstructionPolyfoam 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 Lifespan5 to 6 years7 to 8 years4 to 6 years6 to 7 years7 to 9 years
Pros for Back SleepersClose conforming and pain/pressure relief
Good motion isolation
No noise
Below-average price-point
Multiple firmness options
Wide availability
Long lifespan
Close conforming and pain/pressure relief
Good motion isolation
No noise
Sleeps cooler than foam
Strong edge support
Good responsiveness for sex
Sleeps cool
Low price-point
Multiple firmness options
Wide availability
Better conforming than innersprings
Long lifespan
Strong edge support
Good responsiveness for sex
Sleeps cool
Close conforming and pain/pressure relief
Long lifespan
Adjustable firmness settings
Cons for Back SleepersSleeps hot
Odor potential
Some early sagging reported
Minimal edge support
Odor potential
Some early sagging reported
Minimal edge support
High price-point
Limited availability
Minimal conforming and pressure relief
Noise potential
Some early sagging reported
May sleep hot
Noise potential
High price-point
Limited availability
Temperature neutrality issues for some
Noise potential
High price-point
Limited availability
Tuck Customer Satisfaction Rating72.8%75.6%65.3%72.8%79.3%

Tips for Buying a Mattress

Once you have selected the mattress type that best meets your needs, here are some tips for ordering and purchasing your new bed:

  • Compare prices and calculate a budget. The average mattress costs $1,000 or more, but individual models may be priced anywhere from less than $100 to more than $5,000. Use the mattress type you’ve chosen to determine a feasible price range, and then determine your personal budget. Be sure to leave some wiggle room if you live in a remote location or outside the contiguous U.S., as extra shipping charges may apply; these costs can amount to hundreds of dollars on top of the purchase price.
  • Research sleep trials. Most mattress brands and retailers offer a ‘sleep trial,’ which enables purchasers to test out the mattress for a certain length of time (typically 90 nights or more). If they are dissatisfied with the bed before the trial period expires, then they will be eligible for a full or partial refund. Sleep trials can be helpful, but also costly for those who don’t read the fine print. Some trials include a mandatory break-in period (usually 30 nights); buyers will not be able to return the mattress for a full refund until the break-in period has elapsed. Additionally, the sleep trial may include costly return fees.
  • Read the fine print on the product warranty. With few exceptions, mattresses sold today come with a 10-year warranty against excessive indentations in the sleep surface, manufacturing flaws, and other defects. However, these defects do not include normal wear and tear or physical damage (such as mold infestation or liquid stains). Also, be sure to ask about the length of nonprorated coverage. During nonprorated coverage, owners may have their defective mattress repaired or replaced at little (if no) extra charge. When prorated coverage kicks in, the owner must pay a percentage of the original price in order to have the mattress repaired or replaced — and this percentage often rises with each successive year. Read the warranty top to bottom; many mattress warranties spanning 10 years or longer only offer one to two years of nonprorated coverage.

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