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Sleep experts consistently advocate for back sleeping, as it is believed to be the easiest on the spine and the least likely to lead to soreness or wrinkles. Despite consistent advocacy for back sleeping, this is by far the rarest sleep position, with the National Sleep Foundation reporting that just eight percent of adults sleep on their backs.
Downsides and Challenges of Back Sleeping
There are few personal downsides to back sleeping, but it can be aggravating for others if you share your room — and if you happen to snore. Unfortunately, back sleeping aggravates snoring, which can keep others awake. Some people believe that back sleeping is problematic for those with sleep apnea, but research actually indicates that the prone (stomach) position is more harmful for apnea sufferers.
Mattresses for Back Sleepers
Back sleepers need a nice mix between stiff coils and soft foam — they’re the Goldilocks of mattress requirements. An overly soft mattress does not provide the support back sleepers need, thereby causing the body to sink too much into the bed. Overly firm mattresses put too much pressure on the shoulders and back, causing aches and pains in the morning. Many people alternate between sleeping on their side and back, and if the mattress is too firm, the quality of sleep while in the fetal position can be negatively impacted. Ultimately, mattress selection depends not only on sleep position but also on whether that position changes over time and whether the bed is shared with another person. The following are the best mattresses for back sleepers:
Idle Sleep has the best trial period and warranty in the business. You get to try the Idle Hybrid for 18 months before deciding if you want to keep it. That’s more than enough time to get a sense of how it will feel so there’s no pressure in making a decision anytime soon. If you decide to keep it you get their Forever Warranty which basically means that as long as you own the mattress, Idle Sleep will work with you to address any warranty issues and make it right. This mattress has a medium-firm feel and because it has pocket coils, it is able to provide superior support. It is also one of the few 2 sided mattresses available online. With 2 sides, you can flip the mattress so it wears evenly and extends the lifespan of the mattress, this is how they used to make them but stopped when it became more expensive. The Idle Hybrid is an incredible value which makes it our top pick for back sleepers.
Purple is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a contouring mattress not constructed from memory foam. The no-pressure mattress features a polymer gel layer, which offers excellent pressure point relief and a unique floating sensation. A versatile mattress, it can accommodate all sleeping positions — including supine, which is notoriously difficult to shop for. Point elasticity is exceptional for the Purple, thereby making it perfect for sleeping with a partner (particularly a supine sleeping partner). The downside of Purple is that it is a one-size-fits-all mattress; adjustments can therefore only be made with toppers or mattress pads.
If you primarily sleep on your back, you can expect fewer aches and pains each morning — especially if you invest in a high-quality mattress. For the best sleep possible, aim for medium-firm mattresses that provide a mix of support and contouring. Keep your secondary sleep position in mind, as many back sleepers shift onto their sides or flip into a supine position. A versatile mattress can provide the support you need while also accommodating your partner. Choose carefully — the quality of your mattress can have a direct impact on your general health and wellbeing.
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Some back sleepers find it all but impossible to sleep on memory foam, as they feel as if they are sinking into the bed. Latex provides a far different feel; there is some contouring, but also a sensation of resting on top of the mattress, as opposed to sinking into it. Zen Haven mattresses can be flipped where one side is firmer and the other softer. Back sleepers tend to prefer Zen Haven’s firm side. The soft side is best for side sleepers. This is one of the few natural latex mattresses with a money-back trial period. If you’re new to latex and want to try it out without the risk. Zen Haven is an excellent choice.
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Specifically designed for the active individual, the Bear Mattress is intended to help athletes and exercise enthusiasts recover overnight so that they can get back up on their feet the next day. This means minimizing pressure points — the last thing active types need are lingering aches and pains from their overly firm mattresses. The medium firmness of the Bear accommodates most individuals, including back sleepers and combination back and side sleepers. The mattress has four layers of supportive foam, but its Celiant cover is most impressive, especially given Bear’s relatively low price point.
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The Novosbed comes in three firmness ratings. The medium and firm options (formerly known as the Aria and Classic) are best for back sleepers, as they minimize sinking. If, after ordering the Novosbed, you find that it isn’t as soft or firm as you desire, you can order a free kit that will help you adjust the mattress to your liking. This is a nice option for back sleepers, as it can be difficult to pinpoint the correct firmness. All of Novosbed’s firmness levels feature super soft top covers and elastic covers designed to protect the foam core.
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Hybrid mattresses are excellent for back sleepers, who sometimes require greater firmness than standard memory foam can provide. Winkbeds combine spring technology with foam, thereby ensuring both comfort and support. Tempered support springs promote localized relief for pressure points, while hypersoft foam offers the buoyancy that memory foam sometimes lacks. Winkbeds are compatible with adjustable frames, which many back sleepers prefer.
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