If people sleep on their side, it’s not too difficult to find a soft, comfortable mattress that provides tremendous pressure relief. If people sleep on their stomach, a firm mattress will give them the support you need, but what if people sleep primarily on their back?
Out of the many mattresses I have reviewed, I think there are six standouts that should be a great match for back sleepers. This article will go over everything back sleepers need to look out for if they are trying to find a new mattress and highlight the details and takeaways of each mattress.
GREAT FOR MULTIPLE POSITIONS
The Casper features something called zoned construction, meaning it will be firmer and more supportive when sleeping on one's 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.
Studio by Leesa
Studio by Leesa
The Leesa is an all-foam mattress that features an excellent balance of comfort and support - it should be a great match for back sleepers.
The Saatva is an innerspring mattress with a pillow top that is both supportive and comfortable.
The GhostBed is a firmer all foam mattress that 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 and is also designed specifically to prevent and alleviate back pain.
BEST LUXURY MATTRESS
The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress with a luxury hotel feel that 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 features a zoned construction, meaning the middle part of the mattress is firmer and more supportive and the shoulder area is going to be softer. That makes it an especially excellent fit for back sleepers overall. If people happen to switch to their side, the mattress will feel softer and they will get more pressure relief. That smart construction makes the mattress a great fit for people sleeping in really any position, and it is especially great for back sleepers.
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 and supportive no matter what position people sleep in at night.
- The Casper is a great value, because 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 breakdown and Casper mattress review here.
Casper is a great value that is also a great fit for all three sleeping positions. You can get 10% Off a Casper mattress simply by clicking the link below.
The Purple is a very unique mattress that 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, making it ideal for all three sleeping positions.
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 people are lying in this position, the gel grid collapses under their hips and butt and the 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 the body and holds it up.
The hyper-elastic gel polymer is also a very durable material, so even though the mattress may cost a bit up front, it is an excellent, 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, so people shouldn’t be overheating on the Purple.
- The gel grid is also very durable and should stand up to years of use, so the Purple mattress should be a longer-lasting mattress.
- The mattress is very responsive and has a fair amount of bounce, so people should be able to move around on the mattress without feeling stuck.
Read the full Purple mattress review.
As we’ve seen with some of these other options, mattresses with a good balance of comfort and support are usually the best for back sleepers. Those who want a foam mattress with that excellent balance are going to want to consider the Leesa mattress.
The Leesa is an all-foam mattress that contains memory foam and a proprietary foam called LSA200. The combination of these layers makes the Leesa a medium-firm mattress that should work perfectly for back sleepers. They should feel their hips sink in just the right amount while the mattress conforms to the curves of their body.
What’s more, LSA200 is more responsive and breathable than standard memory foam. Those back sleepers who sometimes switch positions should find this easy to do on the Leesa mattress. Also, most sleepers should no be sleeping hot on the cool Leesa mattress.
What Makes The Leesa Stand Out?
- The Leesa boasts a great balance of comfort and support that should please most back sleepers.
- Side sleepers should also experience nice pressure relief on the Leesa.
- The Leesa’s LSA200 foam is a responsive, breathable alternative to standard memory foam.
Read the Leesa mattress review
The Saatva is an innerspring mattress with a pillow-top that 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 the 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 an excellent fit.
The mattress also contains a memory foam layer to help with contouring, so the mattress should take the shape of the body and also fill in gaps such as the lumbar area.
What Makes The Saatva Mattress Stand Out?
- The pillow-top and coils provide an awesome 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 and can help alleviate back pain issues.
- The two layers of coils allow for a good amount of airflow, so hot sleepers should be sleeping comfortably on the Saatva.
- The coils and other materials are high-quality and durable, so the mattress is quite a good value overall.
Check out the full breakdown and Saatva mattress review here.
Saatva is a great value that happens to be both comfortable and supportive at the same time. You can save $100 on a Saatva mattress simply by clicking the link below.
The GhostBed is a firmer, all-foam mattress that 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 that allows the 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, which contours to the shape of the 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 Mattress Stand Out?
- It is a very supportive mattress that could be a great fit for back sleepers. While it is on the firm side, the hips still sink in the right amount, and a layer of memory foam also helps with contouring.
- The top latex foam layer is open-celled, so this is a breathable mattress and people 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 and how durable they are.
- 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 rundown and GhostBed mattress review here.
Best For Back Pain
The Level Sleep is a foam mattress with a TriSupport zoned construction, which 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 overall support for back sleepers. The firm lumbar area ensures the lower back gets the support that it needs, while the 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 because of the three-zone construction.
This is probably because the mattress was actually designed to alleviate and prevent back pain. If you struggle with back issues or want to prevent any future issues from arising, the Level Sleep is a great choice.
What Makes The Level Sleep Mattress Stand Out?
- It features a zoned construction where the lumbar area is firmer than the rest of the mattress, providing fantastic lumbar support while allowing the hips to sink in the right amount.
- At the same time, if people do change positions somewhat, they should feel comfortable on their side and supported on their stomach.
- The Level Sleep is a good option for those who have back pain, because 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 breakdown and Level Sleep review here.
Level Sleep is a smartly designed mattress that is an excellent choice for those with back pain and is comfortable in any sleeping position. You can get 20% off a Level Sleep mattress by clicking the link below and using code CLARITY20.
Best Luxury Mattress
The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress comprised of a pillow-top, memory foam, and coils that has a medium-firm mattress with a good balance of comfort and support.
While back sleeping, the hips should sink into the pillow-top, but only a bit, and the pillow-top and foam layers conform to the curves of the body and support the lumbar area. The pocketed coils beneath offer more support, so people should feel held up everywhere else. Even heavier back sleepers should feel properly supported by the DreamCloud.
In addition, this is perhaps the most luxury mattress on this list, because it has a cashmere cover with a pillow-top, which gives it that hotel mattress feel.
What Makes The DreamCloud Mattress Stand Out?
- It is a hybrid mattress with a luxury hotel feel and features a cashmere cover and pillow-top that give it a soft-to-the-touch, high-end feel.
- The hybrid construction offers an awesome balance of comfort and support. The pillow-top and top foam layers let the hips sink in while supporting the lumbar area.
- The pocketed coils are very supportive and should hold up back sleepers of many sizes, even heavier sleepers.
- The coils promote airflow throughout the mattress, so people shouldn’t be overheating on the DreamCloud mattress.
- The coils and high-density foams make this a very durable mattress. It should be longer-lasting and a good long-term investment overall.
Check out the full breakdown and DreamCloud mattress review here.
DreamCloud is a high-quality, luxury mattress that a lot of people are going to like. You can get $200 off the DreamCloud mattress simply by clicking the link below.
Marten is a staff writer for us and 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 and how appropriate they are for back sleepers:
First, we have the DreamCloud, which has a nice pillow-top over coils. This gives the mattress a nice overall 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. The result of this construction is that I feel great support overall.
With the Saatva, you also get a pillow-top over coils, and there is also 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, which 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 and it conforms very well to the curves of my body.
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, and overall you will want to make sure to find a mattress that will support extra weight while still allowing the hips to sink in.
RELATED: Best Mattress
What People Should Think About When Buying A Mattress For Back Sleeping
- Mattress firmness- If someone looking for a mattress that is an excellent fit for back sleeping, they are going to want to find a mattress somewhere in the medium-firm range. At Mattress Clarity, we always rate on a scale of 1 to 10. Back sleepers will want to find something in the 6.5 to 7/10 range based on our rating scale. If the mattress is too soft, people might not get the support you need, and their hips could sink in too far (potentially leading to back pain). If the mattress is too firm, people won’t sink in far enough and get the contouring that they need.
- A mattress too soft may cause people to sink in too much and reduce the natural motion they 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 consumers are looking at the design of the mattress, they should pay close attention to the thickness of the comfort layer. While a thick comfort layer can be nice when people are sleeping on their side, they don’t want it to be too thick when they are back sleeping. They 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, sleepers could sink too far into the mattress and not get enough support on their back, which could lead to potential back pain and other issues. So, typically sleepers should look for a mattress with a comfort layer between 2″ and 4″ if they sleep primarily on their back.
- Your weight- As with any mattress purchase, people will want to consider their overall size and weight. A mattress that is supportive enough for a lighter-weight sleeper oftentimes 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 possibly find it too firm. Consumers should definitely keep their size in mind when they are attempting to find that perfect balance between comfort and support.
If someone is primarily a back sleeper, one of these six mattresses should be an excellent match for them. People should read through this article in detail, consider their own needs and preferences, and then make a more informed purchasing decision.
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.