Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers
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Though people often find it comfortable to stretch out in bed on their back when reading or watching TV, only a small percentage of people actually prefer to sleep in this position. If you’re a back sleeper, it may be helpful to know that there are both pros and cons to sleeping this way and that there are ways to enhance your comfort and support.
When sleeping on your back, the body tends to assume a relatively straight and natural posture; but this posture can be disrupted if the body doesn’t get proper support. As a result, it is necessary for back sleepers to choose their mattress carefully.
In this guide, we’ll start by reviewing some basic information about sleeping on your back and about the most important aspects of mattress design for back sleepers. We’ll also cover the types of mattresses that are on the market and which ones usually work best for people in this sleeping position. Keep reading to find all of this information or jump to the bottom of the page to see our back sleeper mattress reviews.
What Are the Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers?
We know that it can be hard to narrow down your mattress choices, so we’ve simplified that process for you by recommending our best bets for back sleepers organized by mattress type.
|Manufacturer||Model||Mattress Type||Firmness||Price (Queen)|
|Brooklyn Bedding Signature||Hybrid||3 choices: Soft (4), Medium (6), Firm (7.5-8)||$949|
|Nectar||Foam||Medium Firm (6)||$699|
|Saatva||Innerspring||3 choices: Plush Soft (3-3.5), Luxury Firm (5-6), Firm (8)||$1,099|
|Novosbed||Foam||3 choices: Soft (3-4), Medium (5), or Firm (6-7)||$1,099|
|Bear Hybrid||Hybrid||Medium Firm (6)||$1,390|
Brooklyn Bedding Signature
Why we like it:
- Moderate contouring with notable bounce
- Stable, resilient support core of pocketed innerspring coils
- Available in Soft, Medium, and Firm comfort options
Brooklyn Bedding’s Signature mattress utilizes a hybrid design to provide a firm yet responsive sleeping surface for back sleepers.
The support core of the Signature is 6” of individually-encased innerspring coils. On each side of the coils is a 1” layer of support polyfoam. These layers work in conjunction to offer stability and bounce along with moderate responsiveness.
Above this support core, the Signature has two comfort layers. The topmost layer is 2” of TitanFlex foam. TitanFlex is a gel-infused polyfoam that blends contouring and resilience while fighting heat buildup. The second comfort layer is 2” of Energex foam that is bouncier and resists excessive sinking into the mattress.
Brooklyn Bedding offers the Signature in three firmness levels: Soft (4), Medium (6), and Firm (8). The Medium or Firm option is best for most back sleepers depending on their body weight.
This mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial that has a 30-night mandatory break-in period before initiating a return. For the long-term, the mattress is backed by a 10-year warranty.
Brooklyn Bedding has over two decades of experience in the mattress industry and has applied their knowledge and experience to the Signature, a redesigned version of their flagship mattress. If you want to explore other models from Brooklyn Bedding, you can check out the Bowery, Aurora, and Spartan, all of which can be a good fit for back sleepers.
Why we like it:
- Multiple layers of memory foam for excellent pressure relief
- Nectar Adaptive Hi Core foam prevents excessive sink
- 365-night sleep trial and lifetime mattress warranty
The Nectar mattress provides top-notch contouring that can help back sleepers get the extra cushioning right where they need it to promote proper spinal alignment.
To achieve this impressive performance, the Nectar utilizes four foam layers. The topmost layer is made with 1” of high-density (4 pounds per cubic foot, or PCF) quilted memory foam. The second layer is 3” of gel-infused memory foam with a density of 3 PCF. These two layers act as the comfort layer, providing pinpoint pressure relief.
Underneath the comfort layer is a layer of Nectar’s Adaptive Hi Core foam that contributes more resilience and bounce to the mattress. The fourth foam layer is a support core made with polyfoam with a density of 2.2 PCF.
Combined, these layers have a medium level of conforming but without too much sink. The medium firm feel is around a 6.5 on the firmness scale. This combination of hug, resilience, and firmness delivers excellent performance for back sleepers, in particular back sleepers under 230 pounds who do not put as much pressure on the foam.
A major selling point for the Nectar is its industry-leading 365-night sleep trial. This trial has a break-in period of 30 days before you can make a return, but after that point, you can try out the bed for a full year to really find out if it works for you. Nectar offers a lifetime warranty for the mattress, protecting your investment over the long-term as well.
Why we like it:
- Highly-responsive micro-coils work with a thick innerspring layer to create significant bounce and responsiveness
- Memory foam lumbar pad cushions key pressure point of many back sleepers
- Ability to choose between Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm comfort levels
- Free white-glove delivery
The Saatva mattress blends the tried-and-true benefit of innerspring construction with innovative components that enhance the performance of the mattress for back sleepers.
The Saatva has a support core of steel innerspring coils. The support core is either 4.5” or 7.5” thick depending on whether you opt for the 11.5” or 14.5” mattress model. Resting right above the support core ia 4” layer of micro-coils. These coils are pocketed, giving each coil more ability to respond to your body’s pressure independent of the movement of other coils.
The micro-coils ensure that your body gets the support it needs, and they are supplemented with a memory foam lumbar pad to help relieve pressure in the lower back, a noted problem spot for many back sleepers. Responsive polyfoam is sewn into the euro-style pillowtop for even further comfort and support.
The Saatva is available in three firmness levels: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm. Most back sleepers get the best results with the Luxury Firm and Firm options.
White-glove delivery, including installation of the Saatva and haul-away of an old mattress, is included in the price. The mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial, but if you decide to make a return, a $99 return shipping fee will be deducted from your refund.
Why we like it:
- Memory foam comfort layers deliver tailored spinal support
- Durable foams promote mattress longevity
- Three firmness options are available along with the ability to receive a comfort adjustment during the sleep trial
Novosbed has a proven track record of producing high-quality mattresses with robust memory foam comfort layers. For back sleepers, the Novosbed provides necessary cushioning for deep, restorative sleep.
The Novosbed is available in a Soft, Medium, and Firm option. Though comfort preferences vary for every person, in general back sleepers under 230 pounds prefer the Medium, and those over 230 pounds do best with the Firm.
Each firmness model has a different internal composition. All of the options have at least 3” of high-density memory foam in the comfort layer. Open-cell memory foam permits airflow, and a breathable polyfoam layer may be included as well to increase resilience and temperature regulation. The support core is 7” of high-density polyfoam.
The arrangement of the foam layers gives the Novosbed excellent pressure point relief without the “quicksand” feeling that can plague some memory foam beds. This balance of contouring and resilience is vital for back sleepers who need responsiveness but without too much sink.
To let you try the bed out at home, the Novosbed comes with a 120-night sleep trial. The trial has a break-in period of 60 nights that must elapse before you can make a return; however, after 30 nights, you can request a Comfort+ adjustment to fine-tune the firmness of your mattress.
Why we like it:
- Restorative Celliant material in the cover
- Combination of responsive and bouncy foams
- 8” thick innerspring support core adds stability, edge support, and durability
For back sleepers looking for an innovative mattress to take their sleep to the next level, the Bear Hybrid is a top choice.
The quilted cover of the Bear Hybrid is woven with Celliant fabric. Celliant is a textile that converts body heat to far infrared rays (FIR), and studies point to this infrared energy as having restorative effects on the muscles and tissues of the body. The cover also includes a gel-infused foam that offers pressure point relief and resists heat retention.
It’s not just the cover that makes the Bear Hybrid a supportive mattress for back sleepers. The mattress has a layer of responsive polyfoam, a layer of transition polyfoam, an 8” layer of innerspring coils, and a bottom layer of base polyfoam. Each of these layers plays a part in offering back sleepers a mix of contouring, stability, and resilience.
The Bear Hybrid has a medium-firm feel that is around a 6 on the typical firmness scale. This is firm enough for most back sleepers but works best for those under 230 pounds who will not sink as deeply into the bed.
The Bear Hybrid comes with a 100-night sleep trial during which you can try out the mattress in your own bedroom. You are required to keep the mattress for 30 nights as break-in period. Bear backs the mattress over the long-term with a 20-year warranty.
About Back Sleeping
It is estimated that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of people regularly sleep on their backs. Within the general category of back sleeping, there are two main positions. The “Soldier” position involves the legs being mostly straight and the arms pointing down toward the legs. The “Starfish” position involves having the legs slightly further apart and the arms up above the head.
There are benefits and downsides to sleeping on your back. One benefit is that there tends to be less contorting of the body or limbs, even in the Starfish position. Another benefit is that back-sleeping can reduce the risk of facial wrinkles since there is not direct pressure on the face from being pressed against the pillow or mattress. Lastly, because the head and esophagus can be slightly elevated relative to the stomach, back sleeping can sometimes reduce acid reflux.
The major drawback to back sleeping is an increase in snoring and a greater risk of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When on your back, the base of the tongue can sink toward the back of the throat, narrowing the airway. This narrowing can produce snoring, which can be disruptive both to the sleeper and to a partner. If the narrowing becomes a full obstruction, it inhibits breathing and can contribute to OSA. OSA is related to a host of health problems including an elevated risk of several cardiovascular conditions.
If you are a back sleeper and find yourself with serious issues related to snoring or breathing in the night, it is important to talk with your doctor. In some cases, lifestyle changes (such as weight loss) can reduce sleep apnea. In other cases, a doctor or sleep specialist may prescribe a machine – a continuous positive airway pressure device, often called CPAP for short – to help keep your airway open through the night.
What Are the Most Important Mattress Considerations For Back Sleepers?
If you sleep on your back, you’ll want to make sure that you select a mattress that contributes to a restful night’s sleep and that doesn’t induce back pain. As you start shopping for mattresses, these are the key factors that you’ll want to look for:
Every sleeper should aim to have a mattress that promotes proper spinal alignment. A supportive mattress is one that contours to the body so that cushioning is provided in the places where it is most needed.
For back sleepers, it’s important to have a mattress that is highly responsive or else the natural curve in the lower back can be exaggerated. On the flip side, though, if there is too much hug or sink in the mattress, the pelvis can push too deeply into the mattress, which can also cause misalignment.
For most sleepers, the best firmness level is medium-firm, and this remains true for people who sleep on their backs. A mattress that is extra plush will be too soft to keep the body in a straight line. A mattress that is too rigid will typically be both uncomfortable and will put undue pressure on the neck and the small of the back.
Medium-firm mattresses fall between 4-7 on the typical firmness scale, and back sleepers typically do better with mattresses toward the higher end of this range. This is especially true for back sleepers who weigh over 200 pounds.
A track record of success with real-world customers is one of the best indicators of the performance of a mattress. Back sleepers should look for reviews that are only from verified purchases and ideally that come from other back sleepers.
A mattress is a big investment, and part of that investment is wanting to have a product that lasts. There’s not much worse than a sagging mattress, especially for people whose sleeping position requires proper support.
If you want a mattress that stands the test of time then avoid mattresses with cheap components that have a greater propensity to wear out quickly.
When you buy a new mattress, it is a great opportunity to take a hard look at your pillow(s). Since you are counting on both the mattress and your pillow to offer comfort and support, you need to know that they are working in concert to meet that goal.
Back sleepers typically benefit from a pillow of medium height and firmness with light contouring so that it keeps the head flat and in line with the spine.
What Mattress Features Should You Look For?
While the characteristics of the mattress — like its support, firmness, and durability — are primary themes that you should keep in mind, it can be confusing at times to know what specific features to analyze when comparing mattresses.
This section reviews the most important things to evaluate as you look at potential mattress options.
The materials used in building a mattress have the biggest impact on how well that mattress will hold up over time and how well it will deliver on its promise of a great night’s sleep.
When you look at the construction of a mattress, consider how many layers are included, what type of material is in those layers, and the thickness of each layer. Be on the lookout for any layers that seem weaker or that could be the “weak link” in the construction of the mattress.
Robust comfort layer
Another important element to consider when looking at mattress specifications is the design of the comfort layer. As the part of the mattress that most immediately supports your body, a strong comfort layer is essential.
The comfort layer, which can be made up of multiple thinner layers, should be no less than 3” thick. High-density foams (generally greater than 3.5 pounds per cubic foot of density) in the comfort layer have a much better track record when it comes to durability and support.
With all of the mattress options on the market, you can get a great mattress at a great price. Before making any final purchase, make sure that you look for any coupons or discounts that may be available. You can also help judge value by comparing your top mattress choices with similarly-designed mattresses from other manufacturers.
Simple return policy
If you buy a mattress online, then you don’t have the opportunity to test it out as you would if buying in a store. However, most online mattress sellers have customer-friendly return policies that allow you to get a full refund if you aren’t satisfied.
This sleep trial time period can vary in length, but 100 nights is an industry standard. We suggest looking for a sleep trial of 100 nights or more and with free return shipping or pickup if you decide to make a return. This kind of no-hassle return policy can help protect your investment and make sure that you wind up with a mattress that works for you.
Most mattresses are delivered without any additional cost for shipping, especially if you’re buying online. However, there are exceptions, and some companies also do not refund shipping charges if you make a return.
We advise that you carefully look at the terms for shipping and if free shipping is not included, to make sure that you budget for this extra cost when assessing the value of the mattress.
What Types of Mattresses Are Available?
Foam mattresses use layered foams to achieve a particular level of responsiveness and firmness. Typically, there is a thicker layer of support foam at the bottom of the mattress with thinner layers of softer, more supportive foams, such as memory foam, in the comfort layer. When a person puts pressure on the foam, it compresses in response.
Which Mattress Types Are Best For Back Sleepers?
Best: Foam, Latex
Foam and latex mattresses are the best for providing contouring that back sleepers need. While too much contouring can be counterproductive, most medium-firm latex or foam mattresses will have a positive effect on spinal alignment for back sleepers.
Honorable Mention: Hybrid
Because they have a thicker comfort layer, most hybrids are able to offer more contouring than traditional innersprings while also having a bounce that some customers find to be beneficial.
Proceed With Caution: Innerspring, Airbed
Because of the less robust comfort layers in these mattress types, back sleepers should approach them with caution. Unless they have very well-designed comfort layers, these mattresses are unlikely to offer adequate support for the lower back, hips, and shoulders.