Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
Of all the sleeping positions, stomach-sleeping is the least common. Some of us may sleep on our stomachs periodically, but people who do so for the majority of the night are a rare breed. In fact, just 16% of us stomach-sleep on a routine basis.
As physical therapist and Sleepopolis Expert Network member Dr. Keith Poorbaugh tells us, stomach-sleeping can be tricky. We’ve outlined the pros and cons of this position so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers 2021 - Reviews & Buying Guide
Best Mattress for Back Pain
If you’re a stomach sleeper who suffers from back pain, I’d recommend taking a look at the Helix line of mattresses. Though the brand sells several different models, I think the ultra-firm Twilight or Dawn mattresses would be best for alleviating tension at the lumbar region. Not only are the beds firm enough to ensure sound stomach-sleeping, but they’re also supportive enough to set the spine in a healthy, neutral alignment.
In fact, proper support is perhaps the most important thing for back pain sufferers to consider. While support means different things for different styles of sleeping, for stomach sleepers, it means lifting the hips in line with the shoulders. When the hips dip, that’s when the aches and pains begin. It’s worth noting that Helix also sells luxury versions of the Twilight and Dawn mattresses, which come with extra foam for added comfort and support. AND there’s also the Helix Plus, a bed designed specifically for heavier sleepers.
Best Innerspring Mattress
For those interested in more of a traditional innerspring feel, I’d recommend taking a look at the Saatva mattress. What’s most notable about this bed is its special coil-on-coil construction in which two rows of coils are stacked on top of each other. This results in a resoundingly firm feel, which could be ideal for stomach sleepers in need of — you guessed it! — firm support.
It’s worth mentioning, too, that unlike other popular online models, the Saatva is not a bed-in-a-box mattress. This means that it won’t arrive compressed on your doorstep, which could be another plus for folks in search of a more traditional experience. And if you find that the Original Saatva (ranked at about a 7/10 on the firmness scale) isn’t quite firm enough for your needs, the brand also makes the Saatva HD, an ultra-firm model designed for heavy sleepers.
Best Mattress for Side/Stomach Sleepers
Stomach sleepers that switch between their side and stomach in the night need a bed that’s firm yet gentle, supportive yet deeply pressure-relieving at the shoulders and hips. It’s a tricky balance to strike, unless, of course, you’re stretching out on the Layla Hybrid.
This mattress offers a one-two punch of pressure relief and support by incorporating both gentle memory foam and sturdy pocketed coils into its design. So, you should get enough lift at the hips while dozing on your stomach and enough cozy comfort at your shoulders when turning onto your side, ensuring sound sleep in both positions. I should also add that the mattress is technically flippable with a “Soft” and “Firm” side, allowing sleepers to experiment with different comfort levels before landing on the one that’s right for them.
Best Hybrid Mattress
If you’re in the market for a bouncy hybrid that’ll make stomach sleeping a dream, then you’ve gotta check out the DreamCloud mattress. As with any hybrid model, this bed combines gentle foams with springy pocketed coils for a one-two punch of pressure relief and support.
While there are a ton of hybrids available online, I particularly like this one for stomach sleepers because its top layers of foam are soft, but not too soft. What I mean is that they provide plenty of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips without causing the lumbar region to dip out of alignment with the rest of the torso. This results in an even line from head to hoof, which is ideal for those who sleep in prone. Plus, the bed is a fantastic value given the high-quality materials used in its construction.
Best Cooling Mattress
Overheating when sleeping at night can be a problem for a lot of people. The Leesa mattress helps with this by providing features that keep you cool all evening long. Underneath its cover is a breathable poly foam comfort layer, which is the primary way the mattress keeps you from getting too warm. While less dense than latex, the foam responds to body pressure and creates a surface that’s just as cooling as latex.
This mattress is great for stomach sleepers since it helps keep the spine, hips, and shoulders properly aligned. And when it comes to support, the firm mattress offers plenty. For all these reasons, stomach sleepers concerned about getting too warm at night should consider going with the Leesa mattress.
Best Mattress for Heavy People
WinkBed Plus Mattress
Though all heavy sleepers need to pay attention to the support of their mattresses, firm support can be an especially important factor for plus-sized stomach sleepers. Why? Well, these dreamers need even more bolstering at the hips to ensure an even spine alignment as they snooze.
Enter the WinkBed Plus, a bed built to support the needs of exactly these kinds of sleepers. Not only does it have a sturdy coil section, but it’s also outfitted with a layer of zoned support, which provides extra lift to the hips. This combination of materials produces an exceedingly firm feel that should leave the sleeper positioned squarely on top of the structure. I should also mention that the WinkBed Plus features a cover made of Tencel, an all-natural material that’s breathable and cooling.
Best Firm Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
Idle Sleep Hybrid
As a stomach sleeper, you may have read that a firmer mattress will suit you better than a soft, plush bed. This is because if the mattress allows your hips to sink into the bed too much, it can cause some serious back pain when you wake up. If you don’t think a firm mattress sounds like a luxurious sleep surface, the Idle Sleep Hybrid is here to prove you wrong.
I love this mattress because it gives you a few firmness options (I recommend the luxury firm version for a stomach sleeper) and it has enough support to keep your spine aligned while keeping you comfortable.
Best Foam Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
If you love the feel of memory foam but are concerned an all-foam mattress may not give you the support you need, the Bear Original mattress may be the perfect option for you. Coming in at just above a 7 on the firmness scale (7.1 to be exact), this bed is firm enough to promote a healthy, straight spine, but has a little bit of give for that hug from memory foam that so many love.
Another concern stomach sleepers have is the breathability of a mattress. Memory foam has a bad reputation for trapping body heat, which may make it uncomfortable for people with their faces buried in the mattress. The Bear mattress works against that stigma and is one of the most cooling foam beds on the market.
Best Memory Foam Mattress
For stomach sleepers who want to sleep on memory foam, an Amerisleep mattress might be the best fit for you. Amerisleep mattresses range in firmness from AS1 (the firmest) to AS5 (the least firm). Each mattress is designed to comfortably distribute your weight by keeping your hips up and in line with your shoulders. This means you won’t hurt your back if you sleep on your stomach, due to the firm support the mattress provides.
If you’re concerned about overheating at night, you should know that all Amerisleep mattresses help keep the body cool due to a Celliant cover and a memory foam comfort layer. Each mattress also provides the right amount of firmness, depending on your preference, without detracting from the soft top. As such, Amerisleep mattresses provide the correct balance of firmness and comfort. So if you’re looking for a memory foam mattress that will keep you comfortable throughout the night, consider using an Amerisleep mattress.
Best Mattress Firmness for Stomach Sleepers
What does firmness mean when it comes to your mattress? Though firmness and support may sound similar, they have different definitions. Firmness refers to the initial feel when you first lie on a mattress. If the mattress immediately pushes back with a stiff sleeping surface, most people would consider it firm or very firm. Other mattresses have more of a cloud-like comfort with cushion that immediately contours around the body. This would be considered plush or soft. A balanced level of push-back, hug, and contour would be considered a medium feel.
Mattress firmness is described by a numerical one-to-ten scale, with one being the softest and ten being the firmest. Most soft mattresses measure around three on the scale, while extra firm mattresses measure around eight.
Mattresses that are considered appropriate for stomach sleepers generally come in at six to eight on the firmness scale. This level will prevent the back from arching out of alignment and keep the hips lifted in line with the shoulders. Anything softer could cause discomfort in the pelvis and lower back.
Body weight is also a factor when choosing a mattress. A stomach sleeper of average
weight might consider a medium mattress, about a five on the scale, or a medium firm mattress, around six to seven. Mattresses in this firmness range will be soft enough to conform to the body without sinking excessively.. A mattress that measures above a seven may help prevent heavier stomach-sleepers from sinking too deeply and exacerbating joint and muscle strain.
Though the firmness of your mattress is an important factor in how comfortably you sleep, Dr. Poorbaugh warns that it may not be enough to undo existing sleep posture issues. Put simply, if you already suffer from back pain, you should avoid sleeping on your stomach.
“I advise clients to avoid stomach sleeping if they are experiencing any type of spinal pain,” he says. “The primary area of concern for stomach sleepers is spinal alignment. Even with proper pillow placement [discussed below], it’s difficult to maintain a neutral spine position in prone.”
If you’re a dedicated stomach-sleeper and want to be as kind as possible to your muscles and joints, make sure you have the right mattress.
What About Mattress Support?
After firmness, support may be the most important concern for stomach sleepers. Support describes the uniformity of the mattress surface and the way it conforms to the body. Sound support will help to bolster the lumbar region, lift the hips, and reduce tension in the neck and shoulders.
To find a bed with solid support, consider the following:
- Firmness doesn’t always equal support, so pay attention to materials and construction. Hybrid beds utilize both foam and pocketed coils, and typically offer the most well-rounded support
- When you try out a bed, make sure your hips and shoulders aren’t sinking out of alignment. Give your body a few minutes to settle before deciding if the support feels right
- Focus less on the comfort layers and more on the support sections. Pillow-tops can be tantalizing, but stomach sleepers need to feel what’s going on underneath
Worst Mattresses for Stomach Sleepers
The worst mattresses for stomach sleepers are softer, less supportive, and more prone to sagging under the weight of the torso. Too much sinkage can throw the spine out of alignment and increase muscle and joint pain.
To help prevent poor alignment and discomfort, stomach-sleepers may want to avoid the following:
- A mattress with a deep pillow-top. A cushiony outer layer can feel plush and cozy to sink into, but is more likely to cause a painful curvature of the neck and spine. A thick pillow-top could also make breathing more difficult
- A mattress made of softer memory foam. Stomach-sleepers are more likely to shift and change position during the night, which could be more difficult on a less-firm memory foam
- A hyperelastic polymer mattress. These mattresses typically have open cells of relatively bouncy material and a resilient feel. Hyperelastic polymer is responsive, making it easier to change positions, but may not offer the pressure relief and firmness that most stomach sleepers need
The Right Pillows for Stomach-Sleepers
More than almost any other type of sleeper, those who sleep primarily on their stomachs have the most to gain from effective pillow use. As Dr. Poorbaugh points out, it’s not just about focusing on the pillow that goes under your head (though that’s important, too), but about getting creative with the ones you use along the rest of your body.
“To mitigate the risk of stomach sleeping for articular pain in the shoulder or spine, the best option is to utilize proper pillow support,” he says. “Pillows should be placed under the pelvis and shoulders to maintain neutral spine postures and avoid impingement of the shoulder.”
Research from the Mayo Clinic supports this idea, indicating that the only sure way to ensure proper support for stomach sleepers is to nestle a flat pillow directly under the pelvis. The goal is to manufacture a lift, creating a neutral position for sound sleeping.
Not exactly sure what kind of pillow to go with? Our bedding expert Sarah breaks it down like this:
- The goal is to find a pillow with a lower loft (shorter height) and an overall softer firmness level
- Stay on the lookout for soft, short, and compressible pillows that won’t exert too much control over your posture
How can I avoid sleeping on my stomach?
If stomach-sleeping is causing neck or back strain, you may want to break the habit. Try sewing a tennis ball into the front of your shirt or packing pillows around your body to keep you on your back or side. Try a supportive pillow that cradles your neck and head and makes it more difficult to sleep on your stomach.
What is considered the best position for sleeping?
Sleeping positions are a matter of personal preference, but most experts recommend back or side sleeping for optimal comfort, neck position, and spinal alignment.
Is it healthier to sleep on a firm mattress?
A mattress is a good fit for you if it’s comfortable, doesn’t cause or worsen aches and pains, and promotes a good night’s sleep. When sleeping on a firm mattress, the bones absorb most of the pressure and put less stress on joints and muscles. A firm mattress may be better for back and stomach-sleepers, while a slightly softer mattress might be the best choice if you sleep on your side.
Is it okay to sleep without a pillow?
Sleeping without a pillow or with a flatter pillow may actually be best if you sleep on your stomach. The less you lift your head while sleeping on your stomach, the less your arch your neck, which helps to lower the risk of back and neck strain.