If you sleep on your side, it’s not too difficult to find a soft, comfortable mattress. If you sleep on your stomach, a firm mattress will give you the support you need. But what if you sleep on your back?
Finding the right mattress for back sleeping is not quite so easy. You need to find a mattress that is both comfortable and supportive at the same time. So, which mattresses are best for you?
Out of the many mattresses I have reviewed, I think there are six standouts that should be a great match for back sleepers. Read below to find the perfect back sleeping mattress for you.
GREAT FOR MULTIPLE POSITIONS
The Casper is zoned, meaning it will be firmer and more supportive when sleeping on your back.
The Helix Dusk offers excellent support for back sleepers.
The Purple features a unique hyper-elastic gel polymer that is firm and pressure relieving at the same time. It is durable, breathable, and a great fit for back sleepers.
The Saatva is an innerspring mattress with a pillow top. It is both supportive and comfortable.
The GhostBed is a firmer all foam mattress. It should offer enough support for back sleepers of many sizes.
BEST FOR BACK PAIN
The Level Sleep features a zoned construction that offers great lumbar support. The mattress is also designed to prevent and alleviate back pain.
BEST LUXURY MATTRESS
The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress with a luxury hotel feel. It is a great match for back sleepers, even those of a larger size.
Top Picks Explained
Great For Multiple Positions
Casper’s unique construction makes it stand out from the other mattresses in this list. It is zoned, meaning the middle part of the mattress is firmer and more supportive. That makes it an excellent fit for back sleepers. If you happen to switch to your side, the mattress will feel softer and you will get more pressure relief. That smart construction makes the mattress a great fit for people sleeping in really any position.
What Makes The Casper Stand Out?
- The mattress features a zoned construction, making it both supportive and pressure-relieving at the same time. This makes it an excellent fit for back sleepers because it feels firmer and more supportive when sleeping in that position.
- The mattress is very comfortable no matter what position you sleep in at night.
- The Casper is a great value. It should last you a long time and it has some extra touches that other mattresses in its price range simply do not have.
Read the full Casper mattress review.
The Purple is a very unique mattress. It contains a hyper-elastic gel polymer in its comfort layer. The polymer creates a gel grid that is both firm and pressure-relieving at the same time.
Unlike many other mattress materials, this gel grid stays firm and supportive until you apply enough pressure. When this happens, the grid collapses in that area, while the rest of the mattress continues to support you.
Because of this technology, the Purple mattress is a great choice for back sleepers. When you are lying in this position, the gel grid collapses under your hips and butt. Your hips sink in just the right amount, and the gel grid supports your lumbar area. At the same time, the mattress supports the rest of your body.
The hyper-elastic gel polymer is also a very durable material. The mattress may cost a bit up front, but it is a good, long-term investment.
What Makes The Purple Stand Out?
- It features a hyper-elastic gel polymer that is designed to stay firm and supportive until you apply enough pressure. It is a great pick for back sleepers because the mattress collapses under your hips and butt while supporting your lower back.
- The Purple is a temperature-neutral mattress. The gel grid promotes airflow throughout the mattress. You shouldn’t be overheating on the Purple.
- The gel grid is also very durable. It should stand up to years of use, so the Purple should be a longer-lasting mattress.
- The mattress is very responsive and has a fair amount of bounce. You should be able to move around on the mattress without feeling stuck.
Read the full Purple mattress review.
The Saatva is an innerspring mattress with a pillow-top. It offers a great balance of comfort and support and should be a good match for back sleepers.
The mattress feels to me like a 7/10 in terms of firmness, which is right in the firmness range back sleepers should be looking for. The pillow-top allows your hips to sink in, while the two layers of coils stop them from sinking in too far. These coils are very supportive, and even heavier back sleepers should find the Saatva to be a good fit.
The mattress also contains a memory foam layer to help with contouring. The mattress should take the shape of your body and also fill in gaps such as the lumbar area.
What Makes The Saatva Stand Out?
- The pillow-top and coils provide a balance of comfort and support. They create a medium-firm sleeping surface that should be the perfect match for back sleepers.
- The mattress contains memory foam, which helps with contouring.
- The two layers of coils allow for a good amount of airflow. Hot sleepers should be sleeping comfortably on the Saatva.
- The coils and other materials are high-quality and durable. When you consider this, the mattress is quite a good value.
Check out the full Saatva mattress review.
The GhostBed is a firmer, all-foam mattress. It felt like a 7.5/10, which is at the high end of the ideal back sleeping firmness range.
That being said, it should still be a great match for most back sleepers. The top layer consists of latex foam. It allows your hips to sink in just the right amount and also presses up into the lumbar area for support. Below that, there is a 2″ layer of memory foam. This contours to the shape of your body and also helps support the lumbar area.
The GhostBed is a great choice for back sleepers who prefer a firmer mattress or need extra support. Heavier back sleepers should also feel properly supported on the GhostBed.
What Makes The GhostBed Stand Out?
- It is a very supportive mattress that could be a great fit for back sleepers. While it is on the firm side, your hips still sink in the right amount. A layer of memory foam also helps with contouring.
- The top latex foam layer is open-celled, so this is a breathable mattress. You shouldn’t be overheating on the GhostBed.
- The mattress contains very durable materials, so it should be a longer-lasting mattress. It is a great value when you think about these high-quality materials.
- The GhostBed should also be a good match for heavier-weight back sleepers and those who require more support. It is the firmest mattress on this list, but it should still provide a balance of comfort and support.
Take a look at the full GhostBed mattress review.
Best For Back Pain
The Level Sleep is a foam mattress with a TriSupport zoned construction. This TriSupport system means the shoulder area is soft, the area near the knees is medium-firm, and the lumbar area is very firm.
Because of this, the mattress offers great support for back sleepers. The firm lumbar area ensures your lower back gets the support that it needs, while your hips and butt can sink into the mattress just a bit. Out of all these mattresses, the Level Sleep probably has the best lumbar support.
This is probably because the mattress was actually designed to alleviate and prevent back pain. If you struggle with back issues, the Level Sleep is a great choice.
What Makes The Level Sleep Stand Out?
- It features a zoned construction where the lumbar area is firmer than the rest of the mattress. This provides fantastic lumbar support while allowing your hips to sink in.
- At the same time, if you do change positions somewhat, you should feel comfortable on your side and supported on your stomach.
- The Level Sleep is a good option for those who have back pain. The TriSupport zoned construction is designed to prevent and lessen back pain.
- Hot sleepers should sleep comfortably on the Level Sleep. The top foam layers are breathable and should dissipate heat, making for a cooler night of sleep.
Read the full Level Sleep review.
Marten is a staff writer for us. He has a much different body type than me: He is 6’7″ and weighs about 230 lb; I am 5’9″ and 160 lb. Here is what he thought about these mattresses:
First, we have the DreamCloud. You have a nice pillow-top over coils. This gives the mattress a nice balance of comfort and support. When I am on my back, my hips sink in just the right amount, and the top layer presses into my lumbar area. I feel great support overall.
With the Saatva, you also get a pillow-top over coils. Again, there is a nice balance of comfort and support. My hips sink in but not too far, and the coils support me as well.
The Purple mattress is great in all three sleeping positions. When I am on my back, the gel grid collapses under my hips, while the rest of the mattress stays flat and supportive.
Finally, we have the GhostBed. The GhostBed is definitely the firmest option out of these mattresses. While it is too firm for side sleeping, it is a great fit when I am on my back. My hips sink into the top layer just the right amount.
As Marten said, these four mattresses should be best for larger sleepers like him. If you are a larger back sleeper, it is worth considering how far you will sink into the mattress. You want to make sure to find a mattress that will support extra weight while still allowing your hips to sink in.
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What You Should Think About When Buying A Mattress For Back Sleeping
- Mattress firmness. If you are looking for a back sleeping mattress, you are going to want to find a mattress somewhere in the medium-firm range. At Mattress Clarity, we rate on a scale of 1 to 10. You want to find something in the 6.5 to 7/10 range. If the mattress is too soft, you might not get the support you need, and your hips could sink in too far. If the mattress is too firm, you won’t sink in far enough.
- A mattress too soft may cause you to sink in too much and reduce the natural motion we require during sleep says Dr. Daniel Davids, a DPT, and Mattress Clarity Expert Network Member. Unlike standing, walking, or other upright activities, Davids says actions like lying down and sleeping allow our muscles to be in a relatively off position. Similarly, because our muscles provide stability to our joints when they are relaxed, our joints also relax. However, he says that if we maintain a position for too long that push the limits of our joint range, we may wake up with pain or stiffness.
- A mattress too stiff puts undue pressure on certain areas of our body with “bony prominences”, areas where the bone is not as covered with soft tissue (muscle and fat), says Davids. This issue can even lead to skin breakdown as we see with seniors and bedsores.
- Comfort layer thickness. When you are looking at the design of the mattress, pay close attention to the thickness of the comfort layer. While a thick comfort layer can be nice when you are on your side, you don’t want it too thick when you are back sleeping. You want enough of a comfort layer for contouring and enough to fill gaps like the lumbar area. However, if the comfort layer is too thick, you could sink too far into the mattress and not get enough support on your back. This could lead to back pain and other issues. So, look for a mattress with a comfort layer between 2″ and 4″.
- Your weight. As with any mattress purchase, you want to consider your size and weight. A mattress that is supportive enough for a lighter-weight sleeper might not support a heavier-weight sleeper. Likewise, a larger person might think a mattress is perfect for back sleeping, while a lighter person could find it too firm. Keep your size in mind when you are trying to find that balance of comfort and support.
If you are a back sleeper, one of these six mattresses should be a great match for you. Just keep these points in mind, and you should be able to find that perfect back sleeping mattress. So lie back and rest easy.
Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.
He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.
Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.
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