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Best Mattress for Back Sleepers

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Written by

Lauren Fountain

author

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Jenny Iyo

author

Back sleeping is the second most common sleeping position behind side sleeping. When searching for the best mattresses for back sleepers, proper spine alignment is probably the most crucial factor. In order to achieve this, a mattress must provide support to the hips and shoulders without putting too much pressure on them. Thus, an even sleep surface with some conforming but no sagging is usually the best bed for back sleepers.

To provide ideal support for back sleepers, a mattress must have the right firmness — and sleepers of different body types tend to have different requirements. Average-weight back sleepers often favor a medium to medium-firm feel. Lightweight individuals may prefer a softer option, while heavyweight sleepers often appreciate a firmer model.

With so many mattresses to choose from, selecting the best mattress for your sleep needs and preferences can seem complicated. In this guide, we’ll try to simplify the shopping process by sharing our top picks for the best mattresses for back sleepers and explaining criteria that can affect a back sleeper’s comfort.

The Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers

Product Details

Saatva Classic

Best Overall

Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic
Price Range: $887 - $2,174
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 180 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Trial length: 180 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split Cal King
Who it's best for:
  • Back sleepers who weigh over 130 pounds
  • People who tend to sleep hot
  • Individuals who want to select the firmness and thickness of their mattress
Highlights:
  • Dual-coil system and foam lumbar enhancement support proper spinal alignment
  • Available in choice of three firmness levels
  • Advanced hybrid design balances support and pressure relief
Saatva Classic

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The Saatva is a hybrid mattress with a dual coil system, foam comfort layers and a plush-pillow top. The bed comes in three firmness options, which can accommodate back sleepers of different weights.While back sleepers usually favor a medium or medium firm feel, this varies between weight groups.

The Saatva’s hybrid design balances support and pressure relief. A Euro pillow top with an organic cotton cover uses polyfoam to cushion the surface of the bed. A thin layer of memory foam near the midsection of the bed cradles and supports the sleeper’s hips.

A layer of pocketed coils within the comfort system contours to the sleeper’s body without restricting airflow. Since the coils are individually pocketed, very little motion is transferred between them, minimizing disruptions to co-sleepers. Finally, a layer of Bonnell coils acts as the mattress’s support core. These coils give the mattress bounce and stable support.

The Saatva comes in three firmness options: soft (3), medium firm (6), and firm (8). It also comes in two thickness options: 11.5 inches and 14.5 inches. Since back sleepers often favor firmer mattresses, Saatva’s firm option may be a particularly good match for back sleepers who weigh over 130 pounds. Sleepers under 130 pounds may prefer the soft or medium firm model for extra conforming.

The Saatva Mattress comes with free White Glove delivery, in which a team comes to unpackage and setup the mattress. Saatva also provides a 180-night trial period and a 15-year warranty for the Saatva Mattress.

Plank

Best Value

Plank

Plank
Price Range: $699 - $1,249
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Firm (7), Extra Firm (9)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Back sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds
  • Couples who prefer a mattress with both motion isolation and bounce
  • Sleepers with sharp pressure points
Highlights:
  • Flippable design offers choice of firm or extra firm feel
  • Stable and supportive performance for heavyweight back sleepers
  • Minimal conforming and an extra firm feel provide an even sleep surface
Plank

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The all-foam Plank Mattress by Brooklyn Bedding was built for sleepers who prefer a firm feel. It uses a flippable design that allows sleepers to select between a firm and an extra firm side. This may appeal to back sleepers looking for an even, stable sleep surface.

Both sides of the mattress use a quilted top for cushioning. While the firm side uses a thicker quilted layer, the extra firm side pairs a thin quilted layer with a layer of polyfoam for deeper support and less cushioning. A high-density support core reinforces the mattress and stabilizes both the firm and the extra firm sleep surfaces.

Because of the mattress’s firmness and lack of conforming, it does not retain as much heat as most all-foam models. However, people who tend to sleep hot may benefit from an optional cooling top panel that’s available for an extra charge. This cooling panel uses phase change material engineered to cool on contact to further dissipate heat and promote a cool night’s sleep.

The Plank’s firm side rates at 7 on the 10-point firmness scale, while the extra firm side rates at 9. This rating makes the Plank one of the firmest mattresses on the market. Because the Plank is exceptionally firm, it may be best suited to back sleepers who weigh over 130 pounds. Most sleepers will likely favor the firm side of the mattress, though some sleepers who weigh over 230 pounds may prefer the added support of the extra firm side.

Brooklyn Bedding offers a 10-year warranty and a 120-night trial period for the Plank Mattress.

WinkBed

Best for Back Pain

WinkBed

WinkBed
Price Range: $1,049 - $1,849
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Back sleepers from any weight group
  • Those who suffer from back pain
  • Couples who want a springy surface without a lot of motion transfer
Highlights:
  • Available in four firmness options
  • Reinforced midsection prevents sagging around the hips and lumbar
  • Tencel cover and coil system help keep the mattress cool
WinkBed

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With four firmness options, the WinkBed can closely match the needs and preferences of most back sleepers, regardless of their weight group. Back sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds might gravitate towards the medium soft or medium firm options. Back sleepers who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds may prefer the firm version. Back sleepers who weigh over 230 pounds may find the firm or the Plus most comfortable.

The firmness options are medium soft (4), medium firm (6), firm (7), and Plus (8). While the medium soft, medium firm, and firm mattresses share similar constructions, the Plus varies in several key areas.

All the firmness options share a few features. A Tencel cover wicks away heat to help the sleeper stay cool and comfortable. A reinforced midsection promotes better spinal alignment by preventing excessive sagging around the midsection. To accomplish this, a foam enhancement adds support to the lumbar region, and the coil support core is zoned to be sturdier around the hips.

The coils are also pocketed to limit motion transfer while allowing air circulation. This coil support layer also creates an exceptionally stable edge, which may allow sleepers to use more of the mattress surface.

The three softest models of the WinkBed use a comfort system constructed of three main layers: a layer of polyfoam, a layer of gel polyfoam, and a layer of pocketed microcoils. This system balances conforming and breathability.

The Plus option uses a comfort system of a layer of high-density polyfoam and a layer of latex to contour to the sleeper’s body without excessive sinkage. This design lends to the mattress’s durability, resisting impressions more than many sleep surfaces. Additionally, the individually-pocketed coils are banded together in groups of four to bolster the mattress’s support.

The WinkBeds provides a lifetime warranty and a 120-night sleep trial with the WinkBed Mattress.

Casper Original Hybrid

Best for Pressure Relief

Casper Original Hybrid

Casper Original Hybrid
Price Range: $695 - $1,495
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 100 Nights (30-Night Requirement)
Trial length: 100 Nights (30-Night Requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • People who usually find foam layers too hot
  • Couples looking for a hybrid that isolates motion well
Highlights:
  • Excellent airflow thanks to ventilated comfort layer and coil system
  • Zoned memory foam reinforces heavier parts of the body for enhanced support
  • Breathable cover derived from recycled plastic
Casper Original Hybrid

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The Casper Original Hybrid is designed for a balanced, medium (5) feel. A comfort layer of adaptive polyfoam contours closely to align the spine and reduce pressure in sensitive areas, creating a cloud-like feel many people liken to sleeping “in” the mattress. However, the Original Hybrid is also highly supportive. The transitional layer of zoned memory foam delivers extra push-back where it’s needed and cradles lighter areas of the body, resulting in even support from head to toe.

This combination of cushioning and reinforcement makes the Original Hybrid well-suited to people who weigh 230 pounds or less. Most back sleepers in this weight range can lie on the mattress without sinking too much between the shoulders and hips – a common source of lumbar pain for people who use this position and sleep on softer mattresses. A pocketed coil system provides good overall stability for the mattress, and the coils are encased in high-density foam to minimize sinkage along the edges.

The top layer is ventilated to promote airflow near the surface and the coils generate steady currents throughout the interior. As a result, the Original Hybrid sleeps quite cool and resists the uncomfortable heat buildup that often plagues beds with foam layers. A breathable cover produced from recycled plastic bottles encases the entire mattress for added temperature control. The bed’s softer feel also ensures less motion transfer and fewer disruptions for couples and co-sleepers.

Compared to other hybrid models, the Original Hybrid’s sticker price is below-average. Casper also covers all shipping costs for shoppers in the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. You’ll receive a 100-night sleep trial with your order, as well as a 10-year warranty if you decide to keep the mattress.

Layla Hybrid

Most Comfortable

Layla Hybrid

Layla Hybrid
Price Range: $1,299 - $1,899
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Reversible: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights
Trial length: 120 nights
Warranty: 10 year, Limited
Warranty: 10 year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who are intrigued by flippable mattresses
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who experience sharp pressure points along the spine
Highlights:
  • Reversible design features two distinct sleep surfaces
  • Copper-infused memory foam contours to the body and sleeps fairly cool
  • Zoned coils provide enhanced edge support
Layla Hybrid

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The flippable Layla Hybrid is constructed with a sleep surface on both its top and bottom sides. Each surface has a distinct feel – one medium soft (4), the other firm (7) – and this dual-firmness design makes the mattress comfortable for a wider range of sleepers compared to a standard, single-surface mattress.

Each side contains a memory foam comfort layer and a polyfoam transitional layer. The foam layers are thicker on the medium soft surface to ensure a plusher feel, making it best suited to side sleepers – particularly those who weigh up to 230 pounds. The firm side contours less and feels more supportive, so back and stomach sleepers will likely prefer this surface instead. If one side doesn’t feel comfortable, side handles make it easy to flip over the mattress and change the firmness – though the Layla Hybrid is rather heavy and a lifting partner is recommended.

A shared support core of pocketed coils provides great stability for either side, especially around the edges where thicker coils protect against deep sinkage. Both memory foam layers are infused with copper to cool off the foam and prevent bothersome heat buildup. Copper also has natural antimicrobial properties to keep the mattress fresh and bacteria-free, but for added cleanliness the mattress cover can be removed and washed in any household machine.

The Layla Hybrid is competitively priced and shipping is free of charge for all contiguous U.S. orders. Your purchase will include a sleep trial that spans 120 nights and a warranty that protects against structural defects in the mattress for up to 10 years.

Zoma Mattress

Best for Active People

Zoma Mattress

Zoma Mattress
Price Range: $550 - $1200
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year
Warranty: 10 Year
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds
  • Couples
  • Value seekers
Highlights:
  • Zoned memory foam provides targeted support for back sleepers
  • Very good motion isolation and no noise
  • Budget-friendly sticker price
Zoma Mattress

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Zoned support is key for many back sleepers, and this is one area where the Zoma Mattress excels. The bed’s memory foam comfort layer is divided into three zones based on firmness, ensuring extra reinforcement for the torso, lower back, and hips while softer foam cradles lighter areas of the body.

The mattress has a medium (5) feel, so back sleepers weighing 230 pounds or less can lie comfortably without sinking too much around the middle. Side sleepers in this weight range should also feel quite comfortable, and the same is true for stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds. The zoned support can be particularly helpful for athletes and other physically active people who feel aches, pains, and pressure points.

Like other all-foam models, the Zoma Mattress absorbs movement well and reduces transfer across the surface. This can cut down on sleep disruptions for people who tend to wake up when their partner changes positions or gets on and off of the bed. Additionally, the mattress is virtually silent and won’t produce any of the squeaks and creaks associated with other mattress types.

For people who prefer more responsiveness from their sleep surface, the Zoma Mattress is also available in a hybrid version that swaps the high-density foam base layer for a pocketed coil system. The hybrid model also sleeps cooler and sinks less along the perimeter when people sleep near the edges.

Compared to other memory foam beds, the Zoma Mattress has a very reasonable price-point. Ground shipping is also free of charge for all orders in the contiguous U.S. Zoma’s sleep trial lasts 100 nights, and those who keep the mattress also receive a 10-year warranty against excessive sagging and other structural defects.

Amerisleep AS2

Best Cooling

Amerisleep AS2

Amerisleep AS2
Price Range: $1,049 - $2,198
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night try-out)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night try-out)
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds
  • Couples
  • People who usually sleep hot on memory foam mattresses
Highlights:
  • Memory foam with medium firm feel offers optimal contouring for most back sleepers
  • Zoned transitional layer reinforces the body where extra support is needed
  • Open-cell foams shouldn’t trap excessive amounts of body heat
Amerisleep AS2

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The all-foam Amerisleep AS2 checks a lot of boxes for back sleepers, particularly those in the weight range of 230 pounds or less. A comfort layer of dense Bio-Pur memory foam molds to the body for targeted pressure relief and even weight distribution, but a medium firm feel ensures you shouldn’t sink excessively. The transitional layer is also divided into different firmness zones to provide extra support around the torso, hips, and other areas where weight is concentrated.

Another strong point is above-average temperature control. The Bio-Pur has an open-cell composition that promotes air circulation and resists the buildup of body heat, so the material should sleep cooler than more traditional memory foams. A breathable cotton-polyester cover encases the mattress for additional cooling. Since the AS2 is an all-foam mattress, it also excels at motion isolation and can cut down on sleep disruptions for people who share their bed with a partner.

In addition to back sleepers, the mattress is very well suited to side sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds and stomach sleepers weighing between 130 and 230 pounds. For those who like the feel of memory foam but want more responsiveness from their mattress – as well as couples who enjoy springy surfaces during sex – the AS2 is also available as a hybrid model with pocketed coils instead of base foam. The hybrid costs extra, but may be worth the investment if you want or need the added coil support.

Amerisleep offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Each order comes with a sleep trial spanning 100 nights in length and a manufacturer’s warranty that covers structural defects for up to 10 years.

Birch Mattress

Best Organic

Birch Mattress

Birch Mattress
Price Range: $1,249 - $1,999
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Those who prefer exceptionally springy beds
  • Hot sleepers
  • Eco-conscious consumers
Highlights:
  • Durable and responsive latex hybrid design
  • Composed of organic and natural materials
  • 2 free Eco-Rest Pillows with each purchase
Birch Mattress

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Latex hybrids have proven popular with back sleepers, and for good reason. These mattresses tend to be quite supportive and responsive, allowing back sleepers to lie down without sinking too much in places around the midsection where people tend to carry a disproportionate amount of weight.

The Birch Mattress is a standout latex hybrid thanks in part to its eco-friendly design. Components include an organic cotton cover, natural wool batting, and a natural Talalay latex comfort layer certified by the Rainforest Alliance, an organization that recognizes sustainable growth and harvesting of rubber trees used to produce latex. These materials also offer natural cooling and breathability, which benefits hot sleepers and people who live in warm or humid parts of the world.

The support core contains robust pocketed coils laid out in a zoned configuration to reinforce the edges without compromising comfort for sleepers. Steady air currents through the coils also contribute to the bed’s excellent temperature regulation. Since the mattress has a medium firm (6) feel, it is best suited to back sleepers in the range of 130-230 pounds.

The Birch Mattress has a sticker price that’s in line with the average latex hybrid and shipping is free for all customers in the contiguous U.S. Two Eco-Rest Pillows are included with your purchase at no extra charge. Birch’s sleep trial spans 100 nights in length, and the manufacturer’s warranty covers structural defects in the mattress for up to 25 years.

How Sleeping on Your Back Affects Sleep


A person’s sleep position not only plays a role in whether or not you wake up with aches and pains, but can influence your health and likelihood of medical conditions.

Back sleeping isn’t the most common sleep position in the United States, but it has some distinct benefits. When sleeping on your back, your body is naturally centered over your spine, which makes it easier to maintain proper spinal alignment. Johns Hopkins Medicine reports that back sleeping may also reduce the risk of developing wrinkles or breakouts on your skin and can alleviate lower back pain for some sleepers.

While back sleeping has some clear benefits, it isn’t ideal for all sleepers. Those who suffer from sleep apnea or are prone to snoring may find their conditions aggravated by sleeping on their backs. People who suffer from acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may also notice increased symptoms when sleeping on their back, especially for sleepers with stomach fat that puts extra pressure on their stomachs. Additionally, pregnant women often find that sleeping on their backs can contribute to back pain due to the extra weight in their midsections.

Spine Alignment

Spinal alignment refers to how well the spine lines up to its natural shape. When you’re standing, proper spinal alignment is synonymous to good posture. In sleepers, a well-aligned spine is harder to spot, but it’s just as important. Maintaining good spinal alignment overnight can help reduce aches and pains, contributing to a better night’s sleep. Because of this, the University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that regardless of sleep position, sleepers should try to line up their ears, shoulders, and hips to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Back sleepers have an advantage when it comes to spinal alignment. A back sleeper’s body is already centered over their spine. So long as a mattress provides enough support to the shoulders and mid-section, preventing them from sinking to deepy, back sleepers should be able to maintain this healthy alignment.

Back Sleepers With Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain

Improper alignment can contribute to aches and pains. If a mattress does not balance contouring and support to help the sleeper maintain proper alignment through the night, their muscles may work overtime to try to improve the body’s alignment. Since these muscles can’t fully relax, the sleeper may awaken with more aches and pains.

If you’re not sure whether your mattress is giving you the right combination of contouring and support to promote good alignment, consider whether you are waking up with aches and pains. If you wake up with aches and pains that get better over the course of the day, your mattress may not be giving you the support and contouring you need. The right mattress can help you maintain proper spinal alignment effortlessly and awaken with fewer aches and pains.

Which Mattress Firmness is Best for Back Sleepers?

A mattress’s firmness can affect how comfortable the mattress feels to an individual, how much contouring it provides, and how supportive it is. A 10-point firmness scale is commonly used to rate mattress firmness. In this scale, 1 is the softest mattress and 10 is the firmest. Mattresses on either end of the spectrum are uncommon, with most models falling between 3 and 8. When you’re shopping for a mattress, paying attention to its firmness rating can give you a better idea of how it will feel to you.

Most individuals between 130 and 230 pounds prefer a medium or medium-firm mattress. Average-weight back sleepers usually gravitate towards the firmer end of this range since they do not require as much conforming as side sleepers.

Sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds do not apply as much force on a mattress, so any mattress is likely to feel firmer to them. Because of this, back sleepers in this range often prefer a medium-soft model.

Individuals who weigh over 230 pounds need more support than other weight groups. Too soft of a mattress may cause their hips to sink in excessively, misaligning the spine. These sleepers frequently favor a medium-firm or firm mattress to give them extra support.

Comfort preference is subjective, and it’s impossible to guess how a mattress will feel to an individual. However, understanding firmness ratings and which rating tends to work best for your weight group and sleep position can give you an excellent starting point to finding the ideal firmness for you.

Which Type of Mattress is Best for Back Sleepers?

Below, we’ll describe the major types of mattresses on the market and explain what they have to offer back sleepers. While individual models may have notable differences based on their materials, quality, and construction, there tend to be some similarities between models of the same type of mattress. Understanding the key benefits and features that are common for each type of mattress may clarify which type is best for you.

Hybrid

Definition: Hybrid models fuse components of two or more other mattress types. The comfort layer most often consists of memory foam, polyfoam, or latex, though it may also contain wool, microcoils, or other materials. A hybrid mattress’s support core uses coils, like a traditional innerspring mattress.
Highlight: A hybrid mattress’s comfort layer is generally engineered to conform to the sleeper’s body for pressure relief. The coil support core usually gives even support, which can help promote proper spinal alignment for back sleepers.

Innerspring

Definition: A substantial support core of coils serves as the main component of an innerspring mattress. Innerspring models may also have thin comfort layers. While these comfort layers may provide some cushioning, they usually are not substantial enough for contouring and pressure relief.
Highlight: High-quality innerspring mattresses usually have even support that can help keep a back sleeper’s spine straight. Thin comfort layers may cushion the sleeper’s pressure points, but they generally are not thick enough to allow a back sleeper’s midsection to sink in too deeply.

Latex

Definition: Latex mattresses are traditionally constructed of multiple layers of latex foam, which may be natural, synthetic, or a blend. Talalay latex is usually lighter and springier. It is commonly used in comfort layers. Dunlop latex is generally denser and more durable, making it a popular choice for both comfort and support layers.
Highlight: While memory foam compresses directly beneath the sleeper’s body, latex spreads the compression over a wider area. This cradles the sleeper without excessive sinkage, creating a balance between cradling and support that may make back sleepers feel like they are floating on the bed.

Airbed

Definition: Airbeds get their name from the air chambers they use to support the sleeper. Depending on the model, these air chambers can be emptied or filled using a pump, remote control, or app. Airbeds may also include comfort layers, though these are usually relatively thin. Comfort layer materials may include memory foam, polyfoam, latex, wool, and/or cotton.
Highlight: Since the air chambers can be filled or emptied to change the feel of the mattress, back sleepers can adjust an airbed to get as close as possible to their ideal firmness. Some models also allow sleepers to adjust each side of the bed independently, which may make them a good choice for partners who have different firmness preferences.

Foam

Definition: Most foam mattresses are constructed of multiple foam layers, which usually include memory foam, polyfoam, or a combination of the two. Some foam mattresses may also include other materials, including latex, wool, and/or cotton. Softer foams are traditionally used in the comfort layers to contour to the sleeper, while firmer support foams prevent them from sinking in too deeply.
Highlight: All-foam models tend to shape to the sleeper’s body, providing a close hug that relieves pressure points. Firmer models give less hug, but they still usually contour enough for pressure relief. Back sleepers who like to sink into their mattress more may appreciate this close conforming.

Accessories Important For Sleeping on Your Back

Accessories can be the finishing touch to make your sleep surface more comfortable. The right accessories can help reduce discomfort and promote quality sleep. While you might upgrade your accessories when you purchase a new mattress, sleepers on a budget may replace them as a lower-cost alternative to replacing their mattress.

Pillows

While the right mattress can keep most of the spine aligned, the sleeper’s pillow is responsible for continuing that alignment into the neck and head. Because sleepers rely on their pillow to support their necks and heads, the wrong pillow can contribute to back and neck pain.

Pillow loft refers to how thick a pillow is. A pillow with too much loft may force a back sleeper’s head towards their chest. A pillow with too little loft may hyperextend the neck. Back sleepers frequently benefit from a medium-loft pillow that supports the head, neck, and shoulders without lifting them up too far. Back sleepers often prefer memory foam or latex pillows that cradle the head to help them maintain proper alignment.

While many back sleepers favor a medium-loft pillow, those with medical conditions aggravated by lying flat may prefer a wedge pillow to elevate the upper body. Sleepers who suffer from sleep apnea, acid reflux, or frequent snoring may benefit from this extra lift.

Sleeping Position Pillow Loft Recommended
Back Medium
Side Medium or High
Stomach Low

 

Many back sleepers also place a small pillow beneath their knees. The University of Rochester Medical Center suggests that this may help relieve back pain by supporting the natural curvature of the back and reducing stress on the spine.

Mattress Toppers

A mattress topper is an extra layer that rests on top of the mattress to adjust the feel of the surface. While a mattress topper won’t completely overhaul your existing mattress, it may make it more comfortable.

Because mattress toppers are usually less expensive than purchasing a new mattress, they can be a convenient and affordable way to modify the sleep surface and try out different materials. Memory foam, polyfoam, and latex toppers can give you an idea of how a mattress that uses these materials might feel without the commitment of replacing your existing mattress.

Thickness varies between toppers. Thinner toppers can offer some cushioning, slightly adjusting the feel of the mattress. Thicker toppers modify the feel more significantly and can relieve pressure to a greater extent.

While mattress toppers can add some cushioning and contouring, they do not provide all the benefits of a new mattress. Most notably, they do not usually provide significant support. If a back sleeper’s hips are sinking in too deeply in their existing mattress, a mattress topper is unlikely to resolve the issue. A mattress topper also will not make up for a mattress that is in bad condition or is sagging. However, a mattress topper may be a good choice for back sleepers who feel their mattress is a little too firm or who are experiencing pressure points.

What Mattress Features Are Important For Back Sleepers?

While many mattress companies claim their models are comfortable for all sleep positions, back sleepers have unique needs. Focusing on the most important mattress features can help you find a mattress that supports your spine while cushioning your pressure points. Below, we’ll detail key factors to consider when selecting the best mattress for back sleepers.

  • Mattress Type: The build of the mattress can influence how it feels, how much it contours to the body, and how well it supports spinal alignment. Each type of mattress has different potential benefits and drawbacks. Understanding how these constructions influence the feel of a mattress may make it easier to find a model that provides enough support and contouring for your body type.
  • Contouring: Many mattresses contour to the body, adjusting to each sleeper’s unique shape. This can help support a back sleeper’s spinal alignment while relieving pressure points. Mattresses vary in how much contouring they provide, and sleepers differ in the level of contouring they prefer.
  • Quality Materials: Quality materials may impact how comfortable a mattress feels and how well it holds up over time. Mattress sagging is often a problem for back sleepers, and high-quality materials frequently resist sagging better than lower-quality alternatives.
  • Firmness Level: A mattress’s firmness influences how much the sleeper sinks in. Back sleepers often favor slightly firmer mattresses than their side-sleeping counterparts. This is because back sleepers require enough support to maintain the natural alignment of their spines. Too soft of a mattress may cause a back sleeper’s hips to sink in too far, while too firm of a mattress may not allow their hips to sink in far enough.
  • Pressure Relief: Pressure relief is closely linked to contouring. When a mattress contours to a sleeper’s body, it distributes their weight more evenly. This can take the pressure off heavier body parts, like the hips and shoulders. While back sleepers do not usually suffer from as sharp of pressure points as side sleepers, they may still appreciate a mattress that cradles their hips.