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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best mattresses for back sleepers

The proper mattress for your lifestyle and needs is an important investment. Not only does the right mattress help you sleep comfortably through the night so you feel energized in the morning, but it also helps to prevent injury or soreness. If you sleep on your back, you need a mattress that supports your spine while contouring to your body.

Understanding your sleeping habits is important if you’re to find the right mattress for you. Sleeping on one’s side is the most common position, but sleeping on one’s back is the next most popular position. While it’s comfortable for many people, sleeping on the back without adequate support may exacerbate or even cause back pain, particularly in the lower back. What’s more, the position can contribute to or aggravate sleep apnea. Still, it’s possible to alleviate these potential problems with a mattress that specifically caters to sleeping on the back.

Our buying guide looks at which mattresses are best suited for back sleepers, as well as the comfort and convenience they afford, so you can get a restful night’s sleep. We’ve included a few of our favorites, too.

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Depending on the quality, innerspring mattresses last up to a decade before needing to be replaced. High-end foam and hybrid mattresses last a few years longer.

Key considerations

Back sleeping benefits

There are some potential pitfalls of sleeping on one’s back, but there are also some important benefits. Sleeping on the back supports the neck and keeps the head, neck, and spine in a neutral, aligned position. It can relieve heartburn. It can also help prevent wrinkles, which can develop when sleeping with the face pressed against a pillow.

Type

There are three main mattress types, though each type includes slight variations.

Innerspring: These common and budget-friendly mattresses have metal coils to offer support. These mattresses are ideal for people who sleep on their back, particularly for those who have lower back pain. Heavier individuals will also find the necessary support with an innerspring mattress. Offset coils are the most durable and expensive option and provide impressive support.

On the downside, innerspring mattresses tend to wear out more quickly than other types. The metal coils may begin to squeak more over time, too.

Foam: This increasingly popular type of mattress has no springs but instead has layers of soft and responsive memory or other foam that contours to your body so you feel comfortable. These mattresses absorb motion, so if you’re a restless sleeper or get up in the night, you’re less likely to disturb your partner. The type and thickness of the foam varies in these mattresses.

On the downside, foam mattresses don’t offer the same level of support for heavier individuals, but others may enjoy sleeping on their back on these mattresses.

Hybrid: As the name suggests, these mattresses combine features of both innerspring and foam models. Hybrid mattresses offer more support by combining coils with a top layer of comfortable foam or latex. These generally offer more support for all back sleepers, particularly heavier individuals, because the coils can support more weight than foam alone. Coils also allow for better airflow and breathability.

On the downside, these mattresses are typically more expensive than other types. 

Firmness

Mattress firmness is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with soft mattresses ranging from 1 to 4, medium from 5 to 7, and firm from 8 to 10. Back sleepers are likely to favor a mattress whose firmness complements their body type. Individuals of average weight usually prefer a mattress of medium firmness, while heavier people prefer firmer options. Back sleepers need a firmness level that provides adequate support for the hips and shoulders but not so much that there is undue pressure on the joints. 

Size

Mattresses for back sleepers come in all standard sizes, ranging from twin to king and California king. The most popular choice for couples is a queen mattress, which provides enough space for two people to sleep comfortably while also fitting easily into most bedrooms. Twin mattresses are suitable for children and teens, while full mattresses are suitable for solo sleepers and couples.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintaining your new mattress to help it last as long as possible.

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Features

Waterbeds

Back sleepers are likely to find comfort and support in a waterbed. These have become fairly popular and can be an option for those suffering from back pain. However, note that waterbeds require more maintenance, are harder to move, and risk puncturing.

Pillow top

Some innerspring mattresses have a cushioning upper layer called a pillow top. These are somewhat similar to hybrid mattresses, but the pillow top is generally an inch or two thick, while hybrid mattresses have a thicker top layer. The pillow top may be made of foam, latex, cotton, wool, or other material. Pillow tops are designed to provide extra comfort to complement the firmness and support of an innerspring mattress. One of these mattresses would be a good investment for a back sleeper.

Warranty

Most mattresses come with a warranty, which can be anywhere from 5 to 20 years or “lifetime.” It’s important to read the fine print so you know what is and isn’t covered.

Sleep trial

Some companies give you the option of trying the mattress for a span of weeks or months, offering you a chance to assess the quality of your sleep on the new mattress. While a mattress may take some time to break in, particularly foam, a sleep trial should give you a reliable indication of its effectiveness.

Qualities

Breathability: Some mattresses trap heat, which can make you feel too warm while you sleep. You can find breathable mattresses — specifically gel foam mattresses — that help you feel cooler, which is particularly beneficial if you live in a warm climate and lack air conditioning.

Density: Foam mattresses come in different densities: the denser the foam, the more durable the mattress. Less dense foam can start to sag over time.

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Did You Know?
It’s possible to train yourself to sleep on your back by placing pillows on either side of your body to keep you from turning over in the night.
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Accessories

Sheets: Chateau Home Collection Sheet Set
High-end sheets can help make your sleep even more comfortable. We love this 100% Egyptian cotton set from Chateau Home Collection because the sheets are breathable, beautiful, and come in 18 colors.

Pillows: Beckham Luxury Linens Gel Pillows
Another important element for quality sleep is the pillow. These gel pillows from Beckham Luxury Linens are exceptionally comfortable and support all sleeping positions.

Weighted blanket: Gravity Weighted Blanket
A weighted blanket can be useful to help ease anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia and get a better night’s sleep. We love this generously sized and cozy option from Gravity. It comes in five different weights so you can choose the one that’s right for your body weight.

Essential oil diffuser: ZAQ LiteMist Diffuser
Diffusers are useful at all times of the day but especially at night. This option by ZAQ offers a quiet glow, soothing sound, and runs for up to 15 hours to help you wind down and sleep peacefully.

Clear a path to your bedroom before your new mattress arrives. Any time you move the mattress, wrap it up to protect it from dirt, dust, and potential damage.

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Mattresses for back sleepers prices

Inexpensive: You can find a decent, supportive innerspring or foam mattress for back sleepers for under $500. These are primarily twin or full, but you may find some queen mattresses, too.

Mid-range: Most quality mattresses for back sleepers cost between $500 and $1,000 and include foam and hybrid selections and some higher-end innerspring mattresses.

Expensive: The largest, most supportive mattresses for back sleepers cost over $1,000 and include the most durable foam and hybrid models

Tips

  • Support your knees. If you experience back or hip pain while sleeping, it may help to place a pillow or other soft support under your knees.
  • Track your sleep. The quality of your sleep is in part determined by how comfortably you’re positioned and supported. Invest in a sleep tracker to monitor and analyze your sleep cycle so you can make the necessary adjustments to improve it.
  • Do not sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy. It’s generally agreed by doctors that women should avoid sleeping on their back during the third trimester of pregnancy because it can reduce blood flow to the fetus.
  • Invest in your health. Most people spend anywhere from a quarter to a third of their day in bed. A quality mattress that provides supportive, comfortable sleep is always worth the cost.
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Most mattresses are suitable for most bed frames, but it’s worth double checking. The wrong frame can shorten the lifespan and decrease the benefits of your mattress.

FAQ

Q. How do I best maintain my mattress?

A. In order to get the most out of your mattress, it’s advised that you invest in a waterproof mattress protector, which will keep any liquids, sweat, oil, and some allergens from reaching the mattress. What’s more, wash and change your sheets regularly to keep the mattress from absorbing dust and dirt. Also rotate the mattress every few months to provide adequate support.

Q. Will the right mattress help me sleep better?

A. There are a number of factors that contribute to a good night’s sleep, and while a mattress is important, it’s only one factor. In addition to the quality of your bed (including sheets and pillows), lifestyle plays a big role in how well you sleep. It’s advised that you avoid device screens, food, alcohol, and caffeine for up to an hour before you go to bed. A sound machine and blackout curtains may also help you stay asleep through the night.

Q. What’s the best mattress if I change positions a lot during the night?

A. Few people sleep in one position all through the night. A hybrid mattress provides a good balance of comfort and support. However, it doesn’t absorb motion the way foam mattresses do, so if you’re sleeping with a partner, you might prefer a memory foam mattress, which does a better job of reducing motion transfer.

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