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Buying guide for best mattresses for combination sleepers

While there are some people who fall asleep in their favored position and then remain put for the rest of the night, the majority of people are combination sleepers, meaning they switch between sleep positions — side, back, and stomach — throughout the night. If you generally fall asleep in one position but wake up in another, you’re a combination sleeper, and you might benefit from sleeping on a mattress designed for people like you.

And you’re in luck because combination sleepers have the most options when it comes to buying a new mattress. But because there are so many considerations when shopping, such as mattress type and firmness, narrowing your choices can be a bit overwhelming.

BestReviews is here to help. We’ve written this handy buying guide to choosing the perfect mattress for your own preferences and needs. It’s full of tips, price information, and answers to a few of the questions you might have. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at some of our favorite mattresses for combination sleepers.

Combination sleepers shift position throughout the night to the back, sides, and stomach.

Key considerations

The three most important things to consider when choosing a mattress for a combination sleeper are mattress type, mattress firmness, and favorite sleep position.

Mattress type

There are several types of mattress available today, but the most common are innerspring, memory foam, hybrid, and latex mattresses.

Innerspring: These mattresses are the most familiar type in the United States. They contain tightly coiled springs covered by padding, which allows the mattress to give a bit underneath the sleeper’s body weight yet still provide support. While innerspring mattresses used to be squeaky, today’s models typically have individually wrapped springs, greatly reducing the potential for squeaks and increasing durability.

As a general rule, the more springs, the more supportive the mattress is and the higher the quality. Look for an innerspring mattress with between 600 and 1,000 springs for the utmost in comfort. Another mark of a good innerspring mattress is the gauge of the spring wire: the thicker the wire, the more supportive the mattress.
 

Innerspring mattresses are a good choice for combination sleepers because they’re supportive in a wide range of sleeping positions, don’t create drag or make it difficult to turn over, and are widely available and often on sale. On the downside, these mattresses can start to sag after a few years, especially if the sleeper is heavy.

Memory foam: These mattresses have grown in popularity over the past couple of decades thanks to their excellent support and cushioning of sore joints and muscles. Made of visco-elastic foam, they gently mold to your contours as you sleep, like a comforting hug. You can demonstrate this characteristic by pressing a hand firmly down on the mattress and then removing your hand. The imprint of your hand will remain for several seconds as the foam returns to its former position. This makes memory foam an excellent choice for combination sleepers suffering with arthritis or other painful skeletal or muscular conditions.

However, there are some downsides to memory foam. It’s heavy and it can be hot. Some sleepers find it too firm. And its tendency to mold to your body can create drag when you try to turn over.

Hybrid: These mattresses are the new kids on the block. They are innerspring mattresses topped by a layer of memory foam. For the mattress to be a true hybrid, the layer of foam must be at least 2 inches thick — although many are thicker.

Hybrids provide the best of both worlds: the supportive cushioning of memory foam and the slight bounciness of springs. Because there is less foam, retaining body heat isn’t as much of an issue, and there’s also less drag when shifting positions. Hybrids are a great choice for combination sleepers because they work well for just about any sleep position while allowing easy movement through the night.

On the downside, hybrid mattresses can be more expensive than traditional innerspring or memory foam mattresses.

Latex: These mattresses divide sleepers into two camps: those who love them and those who hate them. Bouncier than other types of mattresses yet still quite firm, latex is very supportive, making it easy on sore joints and muscles.

The best latex mattresses are made from organic natural latex, not a synthetic substitute. Natural latex is antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and resistant to dust mites, making this a great choice for sleepers with allergies. It’s also very durable and doesn’t create drag when you turn over. Plus, natural latex is a renewable, biodegradable resource, unlike some other mattress materials.

However, latex doesn’t mold itself to your contours the way memory foam does. Latex can also retain body heat. Like memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses are very heavy. Latex is too firm for some sleepers and too bouncy for others. This is also generally the most expensive choice of mattress material.

"You spend a third of your life — almost 3,000 hours a year for most people — on your mattress, so it’s important to choose a good one."
STAFF
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Firmness

When it comes to sleeping comfort, the firmness of your mattress plays a major role. However, “firmness” is a rather subjective characteristic. What one person considers very firm might be too soft for another. Therefore, many manufacturers use a scale of 1 to 10 to rate their mattress firmness, making it a little easier to compare this quality from brand to brand.

1-2: The softest mattresses are at the lowest end of the scale. These mattresses have a lot of give, and hug your body while you sleep, but they can lead to back pain for many people because they aren’t very supportive.

3-4: If you like your bed soft but want to avoid back pain, a medium-soft mattress is a good choice. These are especially good for sleepers who have delicate skin or who spend a great deal of time in bed.

5-7: The majority of sleepers prefer a medium-firm mattress. These beds provide good support but also have enough give to prevent back pain. Typically, medium-firm is the “universal comfort” level of firmness.

8-10: The firmest mattresses are too firm for most sleepers, but they can be comfortable for those who weigh more than average.

Sleep position

By definition, a combination sleeper rotates through a variety of sleep positions throughout the night, but most people have a favored position, often the one they like to be in as they fall asleep.

Side sleepers typically do best on a mattress that’s in the medium-soft to medium range of firmness. Memory foam is a good choice for side sleepers.

Back sleepers need more support. A medium-firm latex, innerspring, or hybrid mattress is generally the most comfortable for these folks.

Stomach sleepers need a medium-firm to firm mattress to prevent excessive strain on the spine and neck. Memory foam, hybrid, and innerspring mattresses are all good choices.

Did you know?
A supportive mattress and pillow are two of the most important factors in a good night’s sleep.
STAFF
BestReviews

Mattresses for combination sleepers prices

Although a good mattress can be expensive, consider it an investment in your well-being and comfort. Still, there are mattresses to suit most budgets.

Inexpensive: For $600 or less, you’ll find lower-end mattresses. While some are quite comfortable, most are not as supportive as more expensive models, and the springs and foam won’t be as high quality.

Midrange: For most people, a mattress in the $700 to $1,200 range is the sweet spot. Here, you’ll find a wide range of mattress types, firmness, and materials. Generally, these beds have high-quality foam and springs.

Expensive: Pay more than $1,200 and you’re entering the luxury mattress level. Expect the thickest, most supportive mattresses made from the highest-quality materials at this price point.

Expert Tip
Most combination sleepers find a medium or medium-firm mattress to be just right.
STAFF
BestReviews

Tips

  • Rotate your mattress. Flipping over your innerspring mattress twice a year is no longer a requirement because today’s models don’t contain double-sided springs, but every mattress benefits from being rotated head to foot at least twice a year.
  • Use a mattress protector. A mattress protector is a must if you want to guard your investment against dust mites and other allergens, sweat, body oil, and other fluids.
  • Vacuum your mattress. Once per season, strip your bed of all coverings and thoroughly vacuum the mattress top and sides. Don’t forget to also vacuum underneath the bed, where dust bunnies tend to accumulate.
  • Don’t jump or stand on an innerspring mattress. Both can lead to sagging or broken springs.
  • Support your mattress. Your mattress requires some type of support. Most people use a mattress foundation, once called a box spring but today there are no springs inside it, for freestanding mattresses not supported by a frame. Platform beds, which are becoming much more common, have built-in slats to support the mattress, taking the place of a mattress foundation.
  • Wipe up any spills or accidents right away. Blot the fluid as much as possible with a towel, and then expose the mattress to fresh air until it dries completely. You can also use a blow dryer to help speed up the drying time.
  • Air the mattress occasionally. When you change the sheets, let your mattress sit exposed to fresh air and sunlight for a few hours. This helps cut down on the growth of mold spores and dust mites, both common allergens
While innerspring and memory foam mattresses are the best sellers, hybrid mattresses are quickly catching up.

FAQ

Q. How often should I replace my mattress?
A.
As a general rule, mattresses should be replaced every 5 to 10 years, or sooner if the mattress starts to sag in the middle or at the sides. Latex mattresses are the exception. They are more durable than other options and typically don’t need to be replaced for a decade or more.


Q. What about pillow-top or plush mattresses?
A.
If you like a firm mattress but also enjoy a bit of a cuddle, you’ll like a mattress with a pillow-top or plush-top layer of foam or down. While you’ll pay more for these options, they may take the place of a separate mattress topper, and they definitely add a feeling of luxurious comfort to your bed.


Q. Is it a good idea to buy a mattress online?
A.
Buying a mattress online can save you quite a bit of money, and there are excellent options available. However, before adding one to your shopping cart, take the time to check the manufacturer’s return policy, read the product description carefully, and look over customer reviews. Stay away from any brands that don’t allow free returns within a reasonable amount of time, often 30 days or more.

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