Everyone sleeps differently, and that means that there’s no one mattress that will work for everyone.
Whether you’re a back sleeper, side sleeper, or stomach sleeper (and everything in between), there’s a mattress out there for you.
But if you want to avoid sleepless nights or get rid of that annoying back pain, you’re going to have to do some serious research.
There are hundreds of mattress reviews out there to pore over, but that takes a lot of time and effort, especially considering the amount of insufficient information and biased articles.
That’s why we’ve surveyed all the information that’s out there and combined it with our own in-house research to create this guide to the best mattresses for every kind of sleeper.
It’s not just the brand of mattress that matters – there are dozens of different materials and designs that go into a mattress, and every kind of sleeper will find some more comfortable and supportive than others.
There are a surprising number of latex memory foam beds in this guide – probably because latex foam provides a little more support and breathability than the traditional memory foam layer.
So if you’re ready for a good night’s sleep but aren’t sure which mattress will work for your sleeping style, read on!
The Best Mattress For Back Sleepers
When you imagine someone sleeping soundly, chances are your mental image is of someone dozing away on their back.
Most medical professionals agree that sleeping on your back is the best position for spinal health.
If you’re on a well-made mattress, it will cradle your spine in proper alignment and keep weight off your joints and pressure points. The best mattress for back sleepers will give ample support to reach a natural spinal alignment and lower back support. This way you can prevent or eliminate any back pain that you’re already feeling.
Although experts say this sleep position is the best for spine health, without the right mattress support for back sleepers, you can cause a lot of back pain, disturbing the natural position, especially in the head, neck, and spine.
Also, sleeping on your back on an old or worn-out mattress can do just the opposite.
Instead of gently guiding your spinal cord into its proper position, the significant depression that eventually wears its way into the middle of most old all foam mattresses will leave your back improperly aligned and can lead to back pain and a worsening cycle of lousy sleep from that pain. In this case, mattress toppers can’t help and you need to look for the best mattresses for back sleeper.
Most back sleepers should look for a medium-firm mattress – anything too soft or too firm can disturb the delicate balance of your spinal cord. However, even though most sleepers do benefit from medium to medium firm mattresses, those experiencing a lot of lower back pain only should even consider a point firmer mattress that will give additional support.
Getting the best mattress for back sleepers shouldn’t be challenging since this sleep position naturally distributes weight across the body. Keep in mind that your mattress should still have enough softness to provide comfort and pressure point relief all across your back. This helps in the minimization of all pressure and straightens the spine after a long day.
Keep in mind that the mattress for back sleepers should still have enough softness to provide comfort and pressure relief all across your back.
It is key for back sleepers to find a very supportive mattress that does have just enough softness to conform to the body and the arch of the lower back. Anything more than that might cause pain in the long term.
To help you choose the optimal comfort level for back sleepers, you should follow the firmness scale from 1 to 10 that manufacturers have. This way, you ensure that you get exactly what you need. 1 is the softest and 10 the firmest mattress according to the scale. Back sleepers prefer 6 to 7 and even 7.5 for those who experience lower back pain. So, when shopping for a new mattress, look for these first.
Make sure you avoid the following challenges that most back sleepers face:
Very little back support
Too firm or too soft can be very uncomfortable as your back won’t be adequately supported. Your shoulders and neck need some softness, while your lower back needs some firmness to be lifted and made in the optimal alignment with your upper back. One additional tip for those experiencing severe back pain is to use a pillow under the back of the knees to improve spinal alignment even further.
When sleeping on the back, one has their airway narrowed and the soft palate collapsed which makes a vibrating sound. This condition can sometimes be occasional or consistent and it depends on the person.
Mattress constructions to consider for back sleepers
- Foam mattresses (both poly and memory foam)
- Hybrid mattress
- Latex mattress
- Adjustable air
What else should a back sleeper consider?
Additionally, to make your mattress even more comfortable for your back, consider getting a top comfort layer of about 2 inches. This will provide the right level of cradling for the body. This top can be made of any of the following materials:
- Memory Foam. Its elasticity allows your mattress to bounce back to original position after each night. However, memory foam has a slower response time compared to latex construction.
- High-density foam layers, better even with several grades of poly foam support
- Cooling technology to avoid heat trapping if you don’t like to sleep hot
- Coil support system gives great core support (coil types include: bonnell, offset, continuous, and pocket coil) layered with foam or quilting
- Consider correct thickness of comfort layers to prevent sinking down into mattress for back sleepers, and correct softness for body and spinal alignment
Last but not least, don’t forget how important pillow support is for back health. Here are a few tips for picking a pillow that provides the optimal support.
- Make sure it’s made of the highest-quality materials that will support skin health too
- Look for a design that fills the space between the bed and neck
- Get the pillow height right. If you can see your fit when you look down (without lifting your head), your pillow is too large and will cause neck pain
- Go for a medium firm feel pillow with a curved edge. It needs to support the natural curve of the neck and also support your head and shoulders without pushing too much or letting your head drop.
- Avoid too thick pillows that make the head go forward and use a smaller pillow at that to keep under the knees to help reduce tension on and align spine naturally
Most new mattresses come with a comfort guarantee or trial period, so take advantage of it.
If you spend most nights comfortably on your back, these mattresses may work for you:
The Leesa mattress is a three-layer foam mattress that gives back sleepers the medium-firm mattress feel and support they need for a great night’s sleep. It comprises a 2” layer of latex Avena foam on the top, 2” of memory foam, and 6” of dense support foam.
This construction is durable and provides for excellent airflow, meaning that you won’t be sweating after an hour lying in bed.
The latex Avena foam is what makes all the difference – while many manufacturers only use 1” or 1.5” inches of foam to provide a memory foam comfort layer, the whole 2” of Avena foam on the Leesa gives you unparalleled comfort.
Even without sheets on it, the Leesa mattress is an eye-catcher with a beautiful design. If you’re a back sleeper, this should be the first bed you check out.
Read our Leesa review here.
Loom & Leaf
Saatva is an up-and-coming direct-to-consumer mattress manufacturer that’s gained a devoted following from their top-quality products and excellent customer service.
The Loom & Leaf is their memory foam premium mattress, and it delivers some luxury-quality features at a fraction of the price of a standard luxury mattress.
It’s a multi-layered memory foam mattress that features plant-based memory foam along with medical-grade cooling gel to stop you from overheating.
With 4 layers of memory foam along with a thin layer of memory foam integrated into the liner, the Loom & Leaf’s construction gives back sleepers great comfort and allows for air to circulate through the mattress.
The 4-layer foam is a back sleeper’s delight – the top layer is 2” of gel foam, supported by 2.5” of visco-elastic memory foam, 2” of transitional support foam, and 5.5” of high-density support foam.
All that foam cradles you with comfort and support without giving you that sinking feeling common to many memory foam mattresses.
You can find our Loom & Leaf review here.
Nest Bedding Alexander Hybrid
The Nest Bedding Alexander Hybrid mattress is a little different from many of the other beds we recommend for back sleepers. Instead of an all-foam mattress construction, the Alexander Hybrid uses a combination of memory foam and pocketed coils to provide both comfort and support. This makes it the best hybrid mattress on the market.
This combination of materials provides maximum airflow and cooling to the mattress while maintaining comfort and minimizing motion transfer.
This is a very supportive hybrid mattress that’s also superior when it comes to edge support – when you’re putting on your socks in the morning or sitting on the edge of the bed, many memory foam mattresses will leave you with a big divot in the foam on that spot. The Alexander Hybrid maintains its edge shape surprisingly well and won’t leave you at risk of slipping off the bed. This makes it excellent for back sleeping and for those that toss and turn at night a lot. It adapts to every type and provides good support.
The Novosbed was created to provide a memory foam alternative to high-end innerspring and hybrid mattresses.
It’s a very thick mattress, constructed from three layers of foam – 2” of ultra-dense memory foam on top to enhance comfort and airflow, 2” of slightly denser foam below that for pressure relief, and 7” of support foam holding it all together.
The Novosbed comes in three firmness levels – for your typical back sleeper, we recommend the “medium-firm” model. In addition, this mattress features the Comfort+ system, which allows you to modify the firmness level by adding an extra layer in a seamless way.
More details can be found in our Novosbed review.
The Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers
When it comes to back pain, pressure points, and injuries resulting from sleeping, side sleepers face more hazards than back sleepers. Although all sleep positions can be potentially risky without the right mattress.
Since there are significantly more curves on the side of your body (your shoulders, hips, and knees), there are more opportunities to create tension and pressure with a poorly picked-out mattress.
That means that side sleepers need to be on the lookout for hip pain and shoulder pain. If you’re looking for the best kind of mattress for side sleepers, you’ll likely want to find one on the softer side.
Side sleepers need ample support from their mattress to provide the right curve and the ability to keep spine aligned and elongated without any dips.
This sleep position requires the perfect balance between good support and some give. This way it aligns and lengthens the spine and body in a neutral position, which helps prevent back and neck pain for side sleepers.
If you pick a mattress that is too soft, your body will sink into it more than it’s supposed to and will overly curve your spine. On the other hand, if you go for a firmer one, it will push back too much and again curve your spine but in the other direction.
The construction of the mattresses for side sleepers needs to be soft to provide a good circulation and to relieve pressure points in the hips, shoulders, and neck. This is why foam mattresses are highly recommended for this position. Also, get a good soft outside layer like a top or a cover that will give an additional softness and pressure relief.
Side sleepers also need conformity to the body for muscle relaxation and the best sleep each night. Their mattress needs to conform to the body and cradle it without adding too much pressure against it. Also, get the correct thickness and firmness based on your body weight.
Different people with different body weights will need different firmness and thickness levels even thought they sleep in the same position.
With that said, heavier people will need higher firmness and thickness or substance, while a petite person on the same mattress will get aches and pains because the mattress doesn’t conform well to the body.
Mattresses that stay cool and let the skin breathe are true favourites among side sleepers. Look for hybrid, foam, and spring mattresses with built-in layers for cooling and breathing.
All in all, pick a mattress that:
- Supports the body enough to keep it in a comfortable position
- Is soft enough to provide pressure relief
- Has a support rooted in the center of it while it has different soft and firm areas built in for conforming and giving in to the weight and pressure off the body.
Problems with the side sleeping position:
Side sleepers risk body misalignment because when the person twists or curls their legs in the opposite position of the upper body, they cause misalignment in the muscles in the back and the lumbar spine. This is the number one reason for lower back pain and neck pain. Either changing the sleeping position or simply getting a mattress with enough support and softness can fix this issue.
Skin elasticity issues
Side sleeping causes ageing and wrinkles on the side of the face and body that’s touching the mattress and pillow. It also causes sagging breasts in women.
What is the best type of mattress for side sleepers?
Although the most important thing for side sleepers is to get the firmness of their mattress right, the construction aspect is very important too.
There are many mattress types and several kinds of mattresses that will achieve both the great support and correct firmness range for side sleepers. Here are the best side sleeper mattress construction varieties:
- Foam mattress (poly and memory foam)
- Hybrid mattress
- Traditional innerspring mattresses
A softer mattress can give you the support you need while gently cradling your hips and shoulders to prevent stress and injury.
You may notice that many of the mattresses that are best for side sleepers are made of latex foam. There are a few reasons it keeps popping up:
- First, it provides the perfect level of “give” while still being supportive for side sleepers.
- Second, it circulates air better than standard memory foam and keeps you cool and comfortable all night long.
- Finally, latex memory foam can be more durable and keep its shape better than standard memory foam – which also means that latex memory foam can stave off the arrival of common problems like indents or depressions when you sleep in the same place night after night.
Side sleepers need a soft to medium firm mattress which will be somewhere between
Note: Side sleepers should consider all types of mattresses with 3 to 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is the firmest). And, consider starting with a 2 to 4 inch soft top comfort layer.
If you’re a side sleeper, one of these mattresses might work out perfectly for you.
The Amerisleep AS3 is an excellent bed for side sleepers – its plant-based memory foam provides just the right amount of support without being too firm for comfort.
Like many modern memory foam mattresses, the Amerisleep AS3 features three-layer construction:
- The first layer is 3” of Bio-Pur plant-based memory foam, which provides fantastic softness and comfort;
- the second is 2” of Affinity foam (slightly firmer than the Bio-Pur foam) for support, and
- the third is a 7” layer of high-density foam to act as the foundation of the mattress.
Loom & Leaf
While we mentioned the Loom & Leaf as a great bed for back sleepers, it’s one of the top-rated models for side sleepers as well.
The “relaxed firm” model will give you the yield and comfort necessary for side sleeping without too much firmness to irritate pressure points.
They even give you 75 days to try it out and make sure it works for you.
In case you missed it above, you can find our Loom & Leaf review here.
Helix Sleep is making waves with their fully customizable hybrid mattresses. Helix customers fill out a brief survey about themselves and their typical sleeping habits, and the Helix team puts together a custom-built bed to meet the customer’s needs.
It’s even possible to customize each bed side differently so that couples don’t have to compromise.
Helix mattresses provide just the right amount of comfort and support for side sleepers, constructed of a mix of memory foam and pocketed coils.
Make sure, to be honest about your sleep habits while filling out the survey, or you risk getting a mattress that’s not quite right for you.
We recently reviewed the Helix Sleep mattress here.
Brooklyn Bedding Latex Mattress
Brooklyn Bedding has been in business for over 20 years, and they’re known for the high quality of their latex memory foam mattresses.
Brooklyn Bedding latex mattresses come in three levels of firmness, and if you’re a side sleeper, the best kind of mattress from their selection is the “soft.”
The two layers of different latex (Talalay and Dunlop) that top the Brooklyn Bedding mattress are the real selling point – they give you comfortable support instead of that sinking feeling that so many memory foam mattresses have.
It also comes with a comfortable pillow-top cover for extra softness.
If you’re considering going with Brooklyn Bedding, don’t skip our full Brooklyn Bedding Latex mattress review.
Tuft & Needle Mattress
Tuft & Needle mattresses are comfortable and come at a very reasonable price.
They’re constructed from a unique polyurethane foam (known as “poly foam”) that gives you most of the support of a regular foam mattress at a significantly lower price point. This is truly the best value mattress and is considered as the best memory foam mattress on the market.
Polyfoam also offers more breathability than your average memory foam mattress, meaning your bed won’t turn into a furnace after a few hours of sleeping on it.
Even better, while most memory foam mattresses give off an unpleasant chemical odor when they’re first unpacked, there have been next to no complaints about odors with their unique polyfoam. So, as an all-foam mattress, it has an additional benefit over latex mattresses.
Tuft & Needle is a relatively new company, but customers have been raving about their comfortable, inexpensive mattresses.
To get the whole scoop, read our Tuft & Needle mattress review.
Brentwood Home Bamboo Gel 13 Memory Foam Mattress
The Brentwood Home Bamboo Gel 13 memory foam mattress was designed with side sleepers in mind.
It’s a little softer than your typical memory foam mattress, with a three-layer construction consisting of a top layer of gel memory foam and two support layers of ventilated memory foam to prevent overheating.
It even comes with a New Zealand wool liner that acts as a natural microbial barrier to keep your mattress fresh and clean.
The most significant selling point is its incredibly low price – at under $600 for a queen-size mattress, the Brentwood Home Bamboo Gel 13 memory foam mattress is an excellent pick for budget-conscious side sleepers.
You can find more information about the Brentwood mattresses here.
Sleep Innovations Shiloh 12-inch Memory Foam Mattress
The Shiloh 12-inch memory foam mattress features a dual-layer construction that provides a great night’s sleep for side sleepers.
The 2.5-inch top layer of SureTemp memory foam has a very comfortable level of give to it, and 9.5 inches of Support-plus foam on the bottom provides the support you need to prevent pressure points from forming.
They also provide a poly-cotton blend mattress cover for added comfort.
If you’re considering picking up a Sleep Innovations bed, make sure to read our Sleep Innovations review, which takes a look at every mattress they offer.
The Shiloh can be purchased only from Amazon.com, usually for less than $450.
The Best Mattresses for Stomach Sleepers
Stomach sleeping can lead to severe problems without proper support. While sleeping on your back or side allows your spinal cord to align on most mattresses properly, people sleeping on their stomach are at much greater risk of back pain and spinal issues.
Stomach sleeping creates a great deal of pressure on your thoracic and lumbar spine, and many people sleeping on their stomach wake up with aches and pains that won’t go away.
In fact, many people end up sleeping on their stomach to avoid pain from existing back and joint issues – while it can provide some temporary pressure relief, in the long term, it can actually make the original problems worse.
Stomach sleepers should look for a firm mattress. Anything too soft will provide too much give under your hips and put immense pressure on your lower back, leaving you susceptible to long-term back pain.
Most people sleeping on their stomach sleep with their arms extended and wrapped around their pillows, which can lead to nerve and joint pain in the shoulders.
With a firmer mattress, there’s a much lower risk of developing these problems.
Thankfully, if you can’t get to bed on your back or side, there are ways to mitigate the potential problems that can come with stomach sleeping.
Getting more than one pillow might make sense to make sure you have all the support you need. You can get large body pillows constructed of memory foam that can act like mattress extensions on the high end.
If you’re looking for a natural alternative, a buckwheat pillow provides firm support without any petroleum-based chemicals.
People that sleep on their stomach need a mattress that will promote healthy neck and spinal alignment. This sleeping position causes potential problems with the neck and spine because the weight puts too much strain on the area. People sleeping on the stomach will need to find a mattress that offers the consistent support for keeping the spine and neck in alignment. This can be done through the right firmness.
If the mattress is too soft, then the body will sink down while the head not so much. This strains the neck and misaligns the spine leading to more pain.
Additionally, get a mattress for stomach sleepers that contours to your body in the right way. You need conformity to your spine when sleeping on the stomach so that you get pressure relief across all points on the body and the spine to be neutral.
Also, People that sleep on their stomach require cooling materials more than any other sleeper type. With this a hybrid mattress or an innerspring mattress are favoured over foam mattresses because they don’t trap as much heat in between the layers.
Medium Firm Mattress as The Right Type of Support for Stomach Sleepers
When it comes to sleeping on the stomach, people require a medium firm but a bit firmer than mattresses for side and back sleepers.
Your goal should be to find an innerspring mattress or a hybrid mattress with enough firmness to support the body in a neutral position but not too soft so it prevents the body from caving into the mattress.
With that said, the firmness should be somewhere between 5 and 8 on the scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the firmest.
Potential Problems for Stomach Sleepers
Back pain is one of the most common issues with this position. The spine gets hyperextended and takes a lot of stress during the night. Regardless whether a traditional innerspring mattress or a hybrid mattress, a firm bedding can provide enough support in combination with the proper pillow or no pillow at all.
Next is the neck pain that often appears in the stomach sleeping position. The neck here is turned to one side and often results in sore neck and unwanted pressure on the nerves. Especially because the person sleeping doesn’t change this position often enough.
Apart from getting the best mattress for their sleeping position, it is recommended that stomach sleepers prop the forehead on a pillow to allow the head to be face down.
Breathing issues are also possible with the stomach sleeping position because the neck turned on the side limits the airway. Sleeping face down will prevent the airflow blockage but not all people can get used to this position to be actually comfortable throughout the entire night. The lungs are also compressed under the body and sleepers cannot get a full and deep breath because of it.
To avoid the unnecessary back pressure and the tension on the torso, stomach sleepers should have a supportive mattress with outstanding support and the correct pillow(s) for helping to align the body and spine.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, these mattresses might give you the good night’s sleep you’re looking for.
Loom & Leaf
You may be surprised to see the Loom & Leaf showing up yet again – it’s a testament to just how well-liked this mattress is.
The Loom & Leaf comes in two firmness levels: Relaxed Firm and Firm. If you’re a stomach sleeper, give the firm option a try.
It works great with or without a bed foundation, but failing to use a foundation or using a non-standard foundation could void the warranty. Before you buy one, read our in-depth Loom & Leaf mattress review.
As mentioned already above, Leesa provides a top-quality memory foam mattress at a very reasonable price.
They also have a very helpful initiative by which they give to shelters one free mattress for every 10 they sell. We praise them for their big heart.
They only have one mattress – its three-layer design provides excellent support, durability, and airflow. The top layer is constructed of 2 inches of Avena foam, a 2-inch memory foam support layer, and a 6-inch high-density memory foam support layer.
The Leesa only comes in one level of firmness, and it’s on the firmer side of medium-firm – very suitable for stomach sleepers.
If you’re still figuring out if a Leesa is right for you, read our comprehensive Leesa mattress review.
You’ve probably seen ads for Purple online – they’ve been making a significant push to establish themselves as innovators and leaders in the mattress market.
The Purple mattress gets its name from the unique purple-colored Smart Comfort Grid that forms its top layer.
Purple claims that the Smart Comfort Grid provides just the right amount of support for your back, hips, and shoulders, and customers seem to agree.
Stomach sleepers will find the Purple mattress to be supportive and comfortable.
Because of the unique top layer, the Purple mattress can’t really be called firm or medium-firm – it reacts to the individual pressure points on your body, and the firmness level depends on how much pressure you apply. A very innovative approach indeed.
Purple keeps its prices low by selling directly to consumers and cutting out the markups and sales process that can tack on hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars at your typical mattress store.
You can find more information on the Purple website.
The Americana is Amerisleep’s flagship firm mattress. With two layers of high quality, environment-friendly Bio-Pur and Bio-Core foam and a top layer of Celliant fabric that converts body heat into soothing infrared radiation.
The modern memory foam doesn’t give off any nasty chemical odors when it’s unpacked, so you’ll be ready to hit the hay as soon as it’s out of the box.
Stomach sleepers will appreciate the firmness and coolness of the mattress, and the durable construction will give you many years of comfortable sleep.
One of the major advantages of Amerisleep’s unique foam is its resilience – while typical memory foam takes about a minute to bounce back to its original shape when you get out of bed or change positions, the Americana returns to form in just four seconds.
Learn all about it on Amerisleep’s website.
We mentioned Brooklyn Bedding’s soft latex mattress previously as a great option for side sleepers, and they’re good enough to get a second mention in this section.
The Brooklyn Bedding firm mattress provides excellent support and comfort for stomach sleepers at a very reasonable price.
While some customers had complaints about sinkage in the not so firm models, the Brooklyn Bedding firm mattress doesn’t have this issue.
The mattress is constructed from three layers – a 2 inch Talalay latex layer on top, followed by a slightly firmer 2 inch Dunlop latex layer, all supported by a 6 inch, high-density polyfoam layer.
The polyfoam provides great breathability and stops the mattress from overheating, while the two layers of latex foam give stomach sleepers just the right amount of support.
For even more details and customer comments, please take a look at our Brooklyn Bedding mattress review.
Finding the Best Kind Of Mattress For Your Sleep Style
There’s no one mattress that will work for everyone, but there are some rules that can help you find the best mattress no matter what kind of sleeper you are.
In most cases, you’ll find that:
- Back sleepers are most comfortable on a medium to medium-firm mattress. Latex memory foam, memory gel foam, and traditional memory foam are all great materials for back sleepers.
- Side sleepers are most comfortable on a soft mattress. Latex memory foam and memory gel foam mattresses tend to work best for side sleepers. Also slightly softer mattress that’s low on the firmness scale but also cool will suit these sleepers the most.
- Stomach sleepers are most comfortable on a firm mattress. The best firm mattress is usually the Latex memory foam or the memory gel foam mattresses are usually best for stomach sleepers. Stomach sleepers should also consider buying a body pillow to alleviate pressure on the hips and back.
Do you sleep the same way every night? Does your mattress work for your sleep style, or do you toss and turn? Tell us about it in the comments!
Stacey is the co-founder of Mattress Guides and continues to recommend and review countless mattresses. Together with Ted, Stacey makes sure that thousands of people are sleeping well and wake up healthy and ready for the day.
Updated at November 25, 2021
- 1 The Best Mattress For Back Sleepers
- 2 The Best Mattresses For Side Sleepers
- 2.1 What is the best type of mattress for side sleepers?
- 2.2 Amerisleep Liberty
- 2.3 Loom & Leaf
- 2.4 Helix Sleep
- 2.5 Brooklyn Bedding Latex Mattress
- 2.6 Tuft & Needle Mattress
- 2.7 Brentwood Home Bamboo Gel 13 Memory Foam Mattress
- 2.8 Sleep Innovations Shiloh 12-inch Memory Foam Mattress
- 3 The Best Mattresses for Stomach Sleepers
- 4 Finding the Best Kind Of Mattress For Your Sleep Style