Best Mattress for Back Sleepers (2022): Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
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Back sleeping is known for how well it aligns the spine and prevents back and neck pain. Compared to stomach or side sleeping, back sleeping also puts less pressure on the internal organs. If you already sleep on your back or want to try it, start by using the best mattress for back sleepers.
The right mattress for back sleepers should maintain the spine’s neutral position without sagging or creating new pressure points. The exact mattress firmness to achieve this level of comfort is based on size. For example, a petite sleeper typically needs a softer mattress than a large sleeper. Sleeping on the wrong mattress for your size and sleeping position can lead to achiness and tender pressure points.
Our guide makes shopping a little easier by laying out the best mattresses for back sleepers and things to consider before you buy a new bed.
|Amerisleep AS2||Responsive foam relieves pressure without making you feel “stuck”||$1199|
|AS3 Hybrid||A pocketed-coil support system ensures you sleep cool||$1349|
|Zoma Mattress||Three-zoned support keeps your body aligned while you sleep||$799|
|Vaya Mattress||A simple yet supportive mattress available at an affordable price||$599|
|Vaya Hybrid||Foam comfort layer with a slight bounce to prevent excess sinking||$699|
|Avocado Green Mattress||Hybrid mattress with two comfort options to meet various needs||$1399|
|Brentwood Home Cypress||Eco-friendly foam with the benefits of memory foam||$599|
|Bear Pro Mattress||Copper-infused foam for an antimicrobial sleep surface||$890|
“The Amerisleep AS2 is the best overall mattress for back sleepers looking to reduce aches and pains, provide support to their spine and help improve the overall quality of their sleep,” says Dr. Jordan Burns.
The 12-inch mattress has three layers and is encased in a soft and breathable cover.
The comfort layer is 2 inches of a breathable memory foam known as Bio-Pur®. The foam is made using plant-based oils and with only a fraction of petroleum found in traditional memory foam. This way, not only is the foam better for the environment, but it’s also safer for you. Bio-Pur® is highly responsive to your movements while still cradling your body. The foam may also relieve pressure points, namely in the lower back.
The mattress features 3 inches of Affinity foam to keep your spine aligned. It’s a transition layer with HIVE®, an adaptive technology with zoned support for your different body parts.
Under the comfort layers of the mattress are 7 inches of Bio-Core®. It reinforces the upper layers and prevents sinking.
Amerisleep mattresses are made in the USA and CertiPUR-US® certified. This certification means the foam was created without ozone depleters, flame retardants, heavy metals, formaldehyde, and phthalates. It must also have low emissions to meet CertiPUR-US® standards for content, emissions, and durability.
“Research has shown that memory foam mattresses, like the Amerisleep AS2, provide pressure relief and support for back sleepers to help to reduce overall back pain,” says Dr. Burns.
Every Amerisleep mattress comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty to protect your bed from premature wear and sagging. Amerisleep also offers free shipping and returns for all of their mattresses.
The AS3 Hybrid has 3 inches of comfort foam for a gentler, medium, sleeping surface.
The AS3 Hybrid has an 8-inch pocketed coil support system. It provides zoned support and aligns your body correctly—the coils reinforce your back and spine, while the coils under your shoulders and legs are softer. Plus, because of the coils, your mattress has extra airflow to minimize the risk of sleeping hot.
Around the coils is a sturdy perimeter so getting in and out of bed is easy, even for people with limited mobility.
Beneath the pocketed coils is a 1-inch transition foam to support the upper layers and add extra durability to your bed.
Just like the Amerisleep AS2, the AS3 Hybrid comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
The bed’s first layer is 2 inches of gel memory foam with Triangulex™ technology. It has three support zones to support different areas of the body, ensuring your spine stays aligned. The technology also alleviates pressure, which is common around your lumbar spine if you’re a back sleeper.
“Research has shown that cooler body temperatures provide better overall quality of sleep and comfort for back sleepers,” notes Dr. Burns. Gels infused inside the Zoma Mattress’s comfort layer wicks away body heat to minimize sleep disruptions.
Next is the transition layer, or 2 inches of Reactiv™ foam. It’s bouncier than traditional memory foam to prevent sinking or feeling trapped in bed. Since the foam is so responsive, getting out of bed or switching positions is that much easier.
At the base of the mattress is 7 inches of Support+ foam, a poly-foam built to prevent sagging and to keep your spine aligned.
Zoma uses CertiPUR-US® certified foam for all their mattresses so their beds don’t off-gas or have a chemical “new mattress” scent. Zoma mattresses come with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
The bed is wrapped in a soft and breathable cover to keep you cool, something helpful if you frequently wake up feeling hot and sweaty.
The Vaya Comfort Foam is the top layer of the bed. It’s 3 inches thick and cradles your curves while still keeping your back aligned. As a back sleeper, your hips won’t sag and you won’t feel stuck when lying on this mattress.
The bottom foam layer is the 9-inch Vaya Base Foam. The base is built to withstand wear and premature sagging so your mattress can support you for years to come.
“Studies have shown that medium-firm mattresses like the Vaya mattress are optimal for back sleepers looking to reduce pain and improve overall quality of sleep,” says Dr. Burns.
Vaya backs their mattresses with a 10-year warranty and offers a 100-night risk-free trial to make sure you’re happy with your purchase. If you have a tighter budget, the Vaya mattress might just be the option for you.
SEE ALSO: Most Comfortable Mattress
This mattress feature Vaya’s comfort foam in the top layer and a base of individually wrapped spring coils.
The plush comfort foam contours to the joints for instant pressure relief. The elasticity ensures the hips don’t sink too far into the mattress and force the spine to bow. This material is also backed by a CertiPUR-US® certification, ensuring it is free of harmful chemicals and additives.
The coils in the base of the Vaya Hybrid are triple wrapped in a soft, durable material for added comfort. Each coil moves separately from one another, allowing for more accurate contouring and pressure relief. Reinforced edge support around the perimeter of the Vaya Hybrid also helps reduce motion transfer, perfect for couples and light sleepers.
Like their original all-foam model, the Vaya Hybrid comes with a 100-night sleep trial, giving you plenty of time to test out this mattress and make sure it’s right for you. It also comes with a 10-year warranty covering sagging and indentations before .75 inches.
The Avocado Green Mattress is made using non-toxic and sustainably-sourced materials. Its wool, latex, and cotton are all Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified.
The Avocado Green is a hybrid mattress and available in two firmness options. The standard option is 11 inches thick and medium-firm. If you add the 2-inch pillow top, the mattress has a medium feel. If you’re a back sleeper, the standard option is ideal.
The standard mattress’s top layer is 3 inches of latex rubber foam and the pillow top mattress version has 5 inches of foam. The foam minimizes motion transfer and is naturally cooling so you sleep undisturbed. The mattress also has a steel perimeter under the comfort layer to ensure the support is consistent and makes getting in and out of bed easier.
The Avocado’s base is 8 inches of pocketed coils. The coils are designed with five zones of support to distribute your weight evenly, alleviate your pressure points, and keep your back and spine aligned.
If you prefer plant-based products, Avocado offers a vegan mattress in addition to the standard model. You can trial your mattress for 365 nights and it comes with a 25-year warranty.
The Brentwood Home Cypress mattress is an affordable memory foam bed. The Classic model is 11 inches thick, but for added cushioning and pressure relief, the Luxe model is 13 inches thick.
The mattress’s comfort layer is a 1-inch, charcoal-infused foam called BioFoam®. It’s a plant-based foam with the same comfort and support as traditional memory foam while having a smaller environmental impact. It also wicks away heat and moisture from your body so you stay cool and dry.
Next is 2 inches of transition foam to relieve pressure and keep your spine aligned.
The mattress’s foundation layer is 8 inches of polyurethane foam. Not only does the base support your body’s natural alignment, but it also extends the lifespan of your mattress.
With every mattress sold, Brentwood Home plants three trees. Their beds have a 365-night risk-free sleep trial and a 25-year warranty to protect them from premature wear.
The Bear Pro Mattress is a medium mattress made of eco-friendly and hypoallergenic foam. The 12-inch mattress is wrapped in a Celliant® cover, an FDA-determined fabric designed to help muscle recovery and improve blood flow while you sleep. It recycles body heat into infrared energy, which is then emitted back to the body’s muscles to help them heal.
The bed’s comfort layer is made using a copper-infused foam. The copper technology draws heat away from the body and creates a naturally antimicrobial sleeping environment. If you struggle with sleeping hot, this mattress has you covered.
Under the copper foam is a gel memory foam to cushion your body’s natural curves and reduce pain from your pressure points, such as your back and hips.
The third layer is a responsive transition foam to aid in pressure relief and provide even more support for your spine while on your back.
Under the upper layers is a high-density support foam. It promotes durability, prevents sagging, and protects you from sinking or feeling “stuck” in your mattress.
The Bear Pro mattress has CertiPUR-US® certified foam and all the beds are made in the USA. The company offers free shipping and returns and the bed comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
Choosing the Best Mattress for Back Sleeping
While steering towards mattresses designed for back sleepers is a good starting point, look into other specifications before investing in a mattress. Consider mattress type, firmness, your body type, and the sleep trials and warranties offered by companies to help you choose your next bed.
Mattress Types for Back Sleepers
When shopping for a mattress, consider what mattress type appeals to you. Every mattress type offers something different, such as a hybrid’s responsiveness or memory foam’s pressure relief. Once you decide what type of mattress you want, mattress-hunting becomes much easier.
Latex is a durable and responsive mattress material. It’s similar to memory foam as it cradles your body and has excellent motion isolation. However, it generally has more airflow and bounce. Some latex mattresses are entirely latex, while others only have latex as the top layer and substitute foam for the support and base layers.
There are three different latex mattress types: natural, synthetic, and blended latex. Natural latex is harnessed from the sap of rubber trees. It’s hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, but can be expensive. Synthetic and blended latex are made using petroleum compounds. While they’re cheaper than natural latex, they may release toxic gases and are best avoided. Synthetic latex actually contains no latex at all—it just mimics the feel.
Hybrid mattresses provide an outstanding balance of bounce and cradling to sleepers. They’re crafted using a pocketed coil support system, a poly-foam base, and a memory foam, latex, or gel comfort layer.
Coils provide great breathability and support so your spine stays aligned and you don’t sleep hot, while the comfort layers provide needed cushioning and pressure relief. While hybrid mattresses sleep cooler than foam mattresses, they’re not as breathable as innerspring mattresses. Unlike innersprings, hybrid beds have solid edge support, a factor especially useful for sleepers with low mobility.
Memory foam mattresses are a popular mattress choice due to their contouring and pressure relief capabilities. Memory foam feels like a hug while you still get proper spinal support. Memory foam mattresses are durable and often have a poly-foam base.
Memory foam is known for isolating motion and noise incredibly well. If you’re a light sleeper or share a bed, motion isolation is particularly important to ensure you and your bed partner sleep comfortably.
The main variations of memory foam are traditional, gel, and plant-based. What sets gel foam apart from standard memory foam? Our Memory Foam vs. Gel Memory Foam guide highlights the pros and cons of each.
Memory foam mattresses require consistent support to prevent sagging. We strongly recommend against keeping a memory foam mattress on a box spring. Instead, look for a solid or slatted platform bed or foundation. Slats should be no more than 3 inches apart.
Mattress Firmness for Back Sleeping
With any sleeping position, your mattress’s firmness can make or break your sleeping experience. As a back sleeper, look for a mattress with just enough firmness and support to keep your spine aligned, but with a bit of cushioning so your hips and back aren’t agitated.
Consider Support Technologies
Support refers to how well a mattress keeps your spine in a neutral position. People often confuse support and firmness, though they differ. A soft mattress can provide great support and a firm mattress can be so stiff it misaligns your spine.
A neutral spine refers to how your spine, shoulders, and hips naturally align. Good alignment prevents pressure build-up in your back, neck, and spine. Poor alignment can cause you to wake up feeling sore or develop chronic achiness, as well as make it difficult to sleep comfortably.
Lots of new mattresses are built with multi-zoned support to align your spine. Mattresses have three to five zones of various firmnesses designed to provide extra support where needed (mainly around your back) and extra softness to other body parts (such as your shoulders and legs). The intention is for your body to be as level as possible when in bed.
Look for Contouring Materials
A bed’s contouring is how it curves to your body’s shape and promotes spinal alignment. A mattress should have just enough contour for your body to be comfortable, but not so much for it to feel as though you’re sinking or stuck in your mattress. If it has too little contour, your mattress can feel like sleeping on a rock, especially as a petite sleeper.
Check the Firmness Rating
Mattress firmness is the immediate feel of your mattress when you lie on it. A softer mattress has more give, while a firmer mattress is stiffer. A mattress’s feel is somewhat subjective, though there’s a numerical scale from 1 to 10 to characterize mattress firmness options. On the scale, 1 is the softest and 10 is the firmest, though most mattresses sit in the 3 to 8 range.
Using the wrong firmness for your body can cause or exacerbate back and lumbar spine pain. An overly soft mattress can cause you to sink and throw your body out of alignment, while an overly firm mattress can put too much pressure on your lower back.
It used to be that people considered soft mattresses the best for back pain, but research has found a medium to medium-firm mattress is best when sleeping on your back. However, the optimal firmness for back sleeping also depends on your body type.
Remember Body Type
Your weight determines the amount of pressure on the mattress and how different firmness levels feel beneath you.
Sleepers who weigh over 230 pounds should use a medium-firm to firm mattress, or a 5 to an 8 on the firmness scale. Heavier individuals might also consider using a thicker mattress for a larger comfort layer and to prevent the bed from bottoming out.
Back sleepers who weigh between 130 to 230 pounds will likely be most comfortable on a medium to medium-firm mattress (5 to 7 on the firmness scale).
Back sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds should use a medium-soft mattress, or between 3 to 5 on the firmness scale. As a lighter individual, all mattresses feel a bit firmer.
Sleep Trials and Warranties
Along with comparing mattress models, always read a company’s policies regarding their warranties and sleep trials so you know what to expect when making a purchase.
Sleep trials allow you to take your mattress home for an extended period to test it out, and they usually last from 90 to 365 days. At that time, if you decide the mattress does not suit your needs, the company will take it back and fully refund you.
Sleep trials are useful as they allow you to fully decide if a mattress is right for you and take the guesswork out of shopping, especially since online mattresses are so popular now.
Warranties guarantee manufacturers protect your purchase if it sags or is defective. However, they don’t cover general wear and tear. There are two types of warranties, limited or full.
A limited warranty either only protects certain parts of your mattress or requires you to pay a small fee to repair or replace damaged mattress parts. Still, limited warranty fees are cheaper than paying for a new mattress.
A full warranty means your mattress is entirely covered and will be replaced or repaired for free by the company.
Some companies offer just limited or full warranties, while others will offer a mix of the two. For instance, your mattress warranty might be 15 years long: The first 5 years will have full coverage, but the following 10 years will only have limited coverage.
Additionally, companies have specific guidelines for a warranty to stay intact. Certain conditions void a warranty, such as staining your mattress (always use a mattress protector to avoid this), not using a proper mattress foundation, or ripping off your mattress’s law tag.
Other Considerations When Shopping
Choosing a mattress based on its firmness, support, and contouring is the baseline for shopping. However, bear in mind these other factors to narrow down options and help you pick the bed right for you.
Do You Share a Bed?
If you share a bed with a heaver person, you might benefit from a bed with proper motion isolation. So, when you shift in bed or get up in the middle of the night, it won’t disrupt your partner. Foam and latex mattresses for couples typically work best for motion isolation.
When sharing a bed, you and your partner may also need a large surface area so you can both spread out and sleep in your favorite positions comfortably. A queen size mattress or larger is recommended for adults sharing a bed.
If you and your bed partner have mismatched firmness needs (due to having different body weights or sleep positions), consider using a split king bed so you can have two different firmnesses.
Do You Sleep Hot?
Sleepers who tend to get hot at night may look for a mattress engineered to keep you cool. Cooling mattresses for hot sleepers contain technologies such as ventilation holes, gel infusions, and covers with simple breathable fabrics like cotton or more high-tech phase-change materials.
Traditional memory foam is known to sleep hot, though newer memory foam mattresses typically have technologies—such as infusing gel or charcoal to the foam—to regulate your temperature. Hybrid mattresses are another popular cooling mattress choice as they’re exceptionally breathable while still being as comfortable as a foam or latex mattress.
Most brands use breathable covers for their mattresses, too, to further ensure the mattress stays cool.
Do You Have Back Pain?
Back pain can be a sign of an underlying condition, such as osteoporosis or a bulging disc. Though, bad posture and awkward sleeping positions also frequently cause back pain. A mattress may not completely eliminate your pain, but it can help reduce it.
Look for a mattress built to alleviate tension, primarily along your lumbar spine and hips. Pressure relief technologies refer to how well a bed distributes your weight and ensures the heaviest parts of your body aren’t strained. Memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses for back pain all provide needed pressure point relief.
Sleeping on your back is a healthy position for reducing back and lower back pain. However, there’s no best position for relieving back pain, and what works for some people might not work for you.
If traditional back sleeping is not relieving your discomfort, some other sleeping positions you can try include:
- Back sleeping at an incline (using a wedge pillow or adjustable bed base)
- Back sleeping with a pillow under your knees
- Side sleeping with a pillow between your knees
- The fetal position
Should You Sleep On Your Back?
While sleeping on your back isn’t super common, especially compared to side sleeping, it’s one of the best sleeping positions for promoting natural spinal alignment and reducing back pain. Still, as with any sleeping position, it has its disadvantages, particularly for pregnant women or for people with sleep apnea.
Pros of Back Sleeping
- Healthy spinal alignment
- Promotes better posture
- Decreased likelihood of developing facial wrinkles or acne
- Minimizes chronic back, hip, and neck pain
- Comfortable sleeping position for individuals with preexisting back and spinal issues
Cons of Back Sleeping
- Worsens acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Increases back pain for pregnant women
- Can cause or intensify snoring and sleep apnea
Tips for Better Back Sleeping
Back sleeping has excellent benefits, though it’s not the most popular sleeping position as it can feel stiff compared to other positions. If you’re looking to make back sleeping more comfortable or are just trying out the position, here are a few things you can do:
- Try different positions: Sleeping on your back doesn’t have to be rigid. Mess around with other sleeping positions on your back to see what works best for you in your body. You can try spreading your arms and legs, crossing your arms, keeping your arms at your side or over your head.
- Place a pillow under your knees: For additional support and pressure relief, try placing a pillow under your knees while you sleep. If you suffer from lower back pain, this puts less pressure on your lumbar spine and hips, potentially reducing your pain. If you don’t have an extra pillow, use a rolled-up towel instead.
- Sleep at an incline: If you struggle with conditions such as sleep apnea, acid reflux, or heartburn, sleeping with your upper body elevated can lessen your symptoms. Also, this reduces compression and pain in your lower back. Sleep with a wedge pillow or on an adjustable base and see if it improves your symptoms.
- Create a pillow barrier: If you constantly roll onto your side or stomach when you’re asleep, try surrounding yourself with body pillows to keep yourself in place. This way, you can train your body to remain on its back for the duration of your sleep.
Saving on a Mattress for Back Sleepers
Want to find a high-quality mattress for back sleepers at a reduced price? We suggest keeping an eye out for the best mattress sales that crop up throughout the year.
- Presidents Day Mattress Sales
- Memorial Day Mattress Sales
- 4th of July Mattress Sales
- Labor Day Mattress Sales
- Columbus Day Mattress Sales
- Black Friday Mattress Sales
- Cyber Monday Mattress Sales
What are the best pillows for back sleepers?
Pillows are equally as important as mattresses for restorative and pain-free sleep. A bad pillow can strain your neck and take your spine out of alignment, while a good pillow can improve your sleep and help you wake up feeling refreshed.
Pillows are available with various fillings, such as down, foam, latex, or gel. For back sleepers, a foam or latex pillow is a good option as they keep your head in place and prevent your neck from being sore in the morning.
A medium loft (or how thick your pillow is) pillow is best for back sleepers, so your head and neck are adequately supported but not overextending or curving backward.
If you prefer to sleep at an incline or need to do so to relieve medical conditions, such as acid reflux, try using a wedge pillow.
Are expensive mattresses worth it?
The price of a mattress does not always dictate the quality and support it provides. Most mattresses costing over $3000 use luxury materials, such as special fabrics, which raises the price. However, it’s unlikely the bed is much more supportive or comfortable than a moderately-priced mattress.
Still, price does matter to an extent. A mattress under $500 likely provides little in regards to comfort and support. While the bed is more affordable, it’s likely made using poor quality materials and will wear out quickly, so you’ll need to replace it more frequently than a moderately-priced mattress.
Does coil count matter in a mattress?
Coils are curved pieces of steel used as the support systems in hybrid or innerspring mattresses. There are often hundreds of coils in one bed, and they help distribute your body weight evenly across your sleep surface. A high coil count increases the longevity of your mattress and improves its support.
A full mattress should have at least 300 coils, a queen mattress should have at least 400 coils, and a king size mattress should have at least 480 coils.
Why does my back hurt after sleeping on a new mattress?
With any new mattress, there’s an adjustment period to get used to your new sleeping surface. If you’ve been sleeping on an old or unsupportive mattress for years, it can be uncomfortable when you first switch to a new and supportive bed, even though it’s better for your body.
It can take 30 to 90 days before your body adjusts to a new mattress and this is partially why mattress companies offer sleep trials. If this adjustment period ends and you are still uncomfortable on your mattress, you can return it without a problem.
How often should I replace my mattress?
Generally, you should replace your mattress every 7 to 10 years. Some signs of an old mattress include lumps or bumps, sagging, or yellow stains on your mattress. You may also feel achy or fatigued when waking up if your mattress is old and no longer supportive.
Mattresses are a big investment most people plan to use theirs for at least 10 years, so take your time and find a mattress built for your needs—choosing one based on your size and sleeping position is always a good start. Look for a bed that will support your body and keep your spine neutral when sleeping on your back. A mattress too soft or too firm for your body type can affect your sleep quality and cause aches and pains.
While the best mattress varies from person to person, we hope our guide takes the stress out of mattress shopping and helps you get a good night’s sleep. Remember, mattress companies almost always have sleep trials so you can shop confidently and, even if the mattress doesn’t quite meet the mark, you can send it back without a problem.