best mattress for back sleepers

Best Mattress For Back Sleepers

A comprehensive rundown of the top rated beds for anyone that is a back sleeper

Back sleepers need a mattress on the firmer side to provide support for their hips, shoulders, and trunk. But having a firm bed doesn't mean you should have to sacrifice comfort. We’ve compiled a list of the best type of mattresses for people that sleep on their back.
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Great AirflowFree Gift

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Very unique mattress with support coils and Purple’s proprietary Hyper-Elastic Polymer material. The bed does not heat up and offers plenty of support and pressure relief.
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Heavy PeopleFree Gift

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An affordable mattress from a big-name brand. Comes in multiple firmness levels and with/without a pillow top. It’s durable, thick, and very comfortable.
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Newcomer$200 Off

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A newer mattress brand, but DreamCloud is very comfortable and very supportive. Comes with an "Everlong" warranty and 365-night trial period.
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Neutral Foam15% Off

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Popular 10" all-foam bed that strikes a nice balance between comfort and support. It has a soft, neutral-foam feel that a lot of people really enjoy.
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Latex Foam See Zenhaven DealIf you know you want an entirely latex foam bed, Zenhaven is a seriously great option. It also happens to be flippable and very luxurious.
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Memory Foam$100 Off

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Want an affordable memory foam bed? Cocoon Classic is a great bed to check out. It also happens to be backed by Sealy, one of the largest mattress brands in the world.
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Cooling Memory FoamUp To $200 Off

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A cooling memory foam mattress that sits at about a medium-firm on the soft/firm spectrum.

HOW WE DECIDED

  • Mattresses Considered100+

    Mattresses Considered

  • Brands 40+

    Brands

  • Made the List 8

    Made
    the List

  • Number of Contributors 7

    Number of Contributors

Best Mattress For Back Sleepers: Overview

When it comes to finding a mattress, we almost always tell consumers to first identify which type of sleeper they are. Looks like you’ve already done that, so that’s good. Now comes the hard part. You need to figure out the other elements that are important to you and start trying out beds. Fortunately, we have tested and reviewed a lot of mattresses out there, including beds from Casper, Purple, Tuft & Needle, and many others.

In today’s post, however, we are going to go over our hand-selected list of the best mattresses for back sleepers in particular. I should point out that we are constantly testing new mattresses and that we’ll update this list whenever we find what we consider to be a better mattress. With that in mind, if you check back after nine months or a year, there could be some changes and it might not be the same list in its entirety.

Also, just so you know, we are not doctors or chiropractors and this is not an offering of health advice (our lawyers make sure we put that). We did, however, work closely with a chiropractor to help us identify key features of a mattress that would make it better or worse for a back sleeper. Still, we suggest that you do plenty of research and possibly even test out a few beds before you make your ultimate decision. With that out of the way, let’s talk mattresses!

Purple 2

BEST FOR:

  • People that want a unique feeling mattress
  • All body types (small, medium, and large)
  • All sleeper types (back, stomach, or side)
  • Anyone that likes a bouncy bed
  • Sleepers that warm up at night (great airflow)

NOT BEST FOR:

  • People that want a traditional foam feeling mattress
  • If you want a cheap mattress
  • Anyone that moves frequently (it’s heavy and hard to move and lacks handles)

If you’re familiar with Purple, you know their mattresses have a different feel. Their new models (Purple 2, 3, 4) are constructed with poly foam, pocketed coils, and then the top layer is a Hyper-Elastic Polymer material that you really have to try to know what it’s like. It almost feels like a gel material, but we find it very comfortable.

purple hyper elastic polymer
Purple’s Hyper-Elastic Polymer is extremely responsive and supportive

We selected Purple 2 for this list, as it is the firmest bed that Purple makes. It’s supportive and also offers plenty of support. The bed is around a medium-firm on the firmness scale. However, because the Hyper-Elastic Polymer top layer is so flexible and responsive, we also think this mattress is fine for stomach and side sleepers if you happen to roll around at night.

purple 2 mattress review back sleeper
The Purple 2.0 mattress works for all types of sleepers

While we wouldn’t recommend that everyone get a Purple 2 mattress, if you’re open to something new, chances are you’ll really like it, especially if you favor sleeping on your back.

Stearns & Foster Estate Line

BEST FOR:

  • People that want a choice between multiple firmness levels
  • All sleeper types (a model for everyone)
  • Folks that want to buy from a well-known, trusted brand
  • Heavy individuals that need plenty of support

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Anyone looking for a budget-tier mattress
  • Memory foam lovers

Stearns & Foster is a well-known luxury mattress brand. They offer several different lines, but their Estate line is their most affordable. Their most popular model within the Estate line is the Addison Grace model, which comes in several different feels, including Luxury-Firm, Luxury-Plush, Luxury-Cushion Firm, Luxury-Plush Pillow Top, and Luxury-Cushion Firm Pillow Top.

While having too many choices can sometimes be a hassle, we like that the Addison Grace mattress is available in so many options so that every type of sleeper can find exactly what they’re looking for.

In general, the Addison Grace is going to feel like a soft pillow top on top of an innerspring support system. The best way we can describe this type of feel is that it’s like laying on a dense patch of soft grass—it’s immediately soft under your body (the grass), but you can definitely feel the support of the coil system (the dense earth).

stearns and foster estate addison grace mattress review edge support
Multiple options available within the Stearns & Foster Estate line

The Luxury Cushion Firm Pillow Top model seems to be the most popular and it sits at about a medium-firm to firm on the firmness scale. It provides a good amount of support and helps to keep your spine properly aligned, even for heavy people. Overall, it is a really nice, highly supportive bed at a fairly affordable price point. You can compare this to a lot of bed-in-a-box mattresses and there’s no real comparison—at least not in terms of aesthetics and build quality.

DreamCloud

BEST FOR:

  • Heavy folks that need a thick, durable, supportive bed
  • Hot sleepers
  • If you want a bed with an "Everlong" warranty

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Sensitive sleepers (the deep texture of the cover can be irritating)

DreamCloud has a firmer memory foam feel without any of that stuck-in-the-mud feeling. Coming in at 15” thick, this is a beast of a mattress able to handle petite, medium, and heavy individuals. It’s constructed with a combination of micro-coils, memory foam, and latex foam.

dreamcloud mattress review
The DreamCloud mattress has a firmer memory foam feel

Given the construction of the bed and its firmness level, this bed is most ideal for primary back sleepers, but if you sometimes find yourself sleeping on your side, the pillow top should provide adequate pressure relief at least for a little bit. Also, although this mattress does contain a ton of memory foam, it’s actually quite responsive, so changing positions shouldn’t be a hassle, which lets you sleep more soundly throughout the night.

Leesa

BEST FOR:

  • Anyone looking for a neutral, soft foam feel
  • Those who want a bed from a well-known, popular brand
  • Medium and petite individuals
  • Those who hate that stuck-in-the-mud feeling
  • All types of sleepers (including back)

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Heavy individuals that need more support
  • Memory foam or latex foam lovers (it’s more of a neutral-foam feel)
  • Folks looking for a hybrid/coil mattress

The original Leesa is a neutral all-foam mattress that is a great choice for petite to medium sized body types. Overall, we think this bed finds a nice blend between support and pressure relief, but it is a tad bit firmer than the likes of Tuft and Needle or Casper.

Overall, we think this bed is good for all types of sleepers. However, we’d say it’s slightly more preferable for back sleepers (as compared to Tuft & Needle and Casper) given its firmness level.

leesa adjustable base bed frame review
Leesa is one of the most accomodating mattresses

All in all, we view Leesa as a safe pick for medium/petite back sleepers. It’s affordable, comfortable, and we think most sleepers will enjoy its neutral-foam feel. It also happens to be wildly popular.

Zenhaven

BEST FOR:

  • If you know you want a latex mattress
  • Those who want a flippable bed with two different firmness levels
  • People that want a super responsive bed
  • Anyone looking for a natural, eco-friendly mattress

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Really heavy people (it’s a 10” thick, all-foam bed)
  • Memory foam enthusiasts
  • Budget mattress shoppers
  • Those who are opposed to a $99 return fee

The Zenhaven mattress has a lot going for it. It’s made entirely of latex foam, which is great for eco-friendly consumers or anyone with allergies. And it’s not comprised of just any latex foam, it’s actually made with Talalay, which is a super high quality form of latex. For those of you who aren’t familiar with latex foam, it sort of has a bouncy feel, as if the bed has coils (which it doesn’t), yet it’s still nice and soft.

What’s also cool about this mattress is that it’s flippable, with a softer side and a firmer side. Not only is it nice to have multiple firmness options to choose from, but flippable mattresses also tend to be more durable and have a longer lifespan than traditional mattresses.

We’d say the firmer side ranges around a medium-firm to firm level on our scale and is about 15-20% firmer than the softer side, which is closer to a medium firmness. If all that’s confusing, just know this is a great bed for back sleepers that are small to average in size.

Zenhaven Mattress review
Dillon getting in some serious ZZZs

When it comes to temperature regulation, Zenhaven is a pretty good choice for hot sleepers. We think this bed will sleep on the cooler side for two primary reasons. First, it’s on the firmer end of the spectrum, which means you’ll sleep more on top of the mattress rather in it. Also, latex foam generally sleeps cooler than most polyurethane foams since it has more of an open cell structure and it’s more responsive.

Cocoon Classic by Sealy

BEST FOR:

  • Budget shoppers
  • Fans of memory foam
  • People that want a bed from a big-name brand
  • People looking for firmness options
  • Active sleepers (good at deadening movement)

NOT BEST FOR:

  • Hot sleepers (check out the Chill model instead)
  • Those who are looking for a luxury bed
  • People who hate that stuck-in-the-mud feeling
  • Folks that want coils or a little bounce in their bed

Cocoon Classic is a pretty nice budget mattress, especially if you’re looking for a dense memory foam feel. And Cocoon is actually owned by Sealy, which is one of the largest mattress brands in the world, so you know this bed is constructed well.

What’s also nice is that this bed is available in two different firmness options. However, we’ve tested both and they’re actually both on the firmer side of the spectrum, so keep that in mind.

cocoon classic mattress review back and stomach sleepers
The Cocoon Classic is available in multiple firmness options

If you’re really concerned with sleeping cool, you should check out the Cocoon Chill model, which has phase change material in the cover. This model is a little more expensive, but it does a good job of keeping you cool. Still, for the price, the Cocoon Classic is a great bed for back sleepers on a budget who like memory foam.

GhostBed Luxe

BEST FOR:

  • Hot sleepers
  • People that like memory foam
  • Heavy folks that need extra support, but want an all-foam bed

NOT BEST FOR:

  • If you want a bed with bounce
  • Budget shoppers
  • Individuals that don't like memory foam

The GhostBed Luxe is one of few cooling, memory foam mattresses. It has a dense, firm memory foam feel, but what sets the Luxe apart is that it’s thicker than most foam beds (13” compared to the average 10″) and has cooling fibers woven into the top layer and cover. As a result, this bed is literally cool to the touch.

ghostbed luxe review back sleepers
GhostBed Luxe has several cooling layers

In terms of firmness, the Luxe comes in around a medium-firm on the firmness scale. And because it’s so firm, you won’t find yourself sinking into this bed as much as you would with a typical memory foam mattress—this helps limit that stuck-in-the-mud feeling as well.

Review Team

Jeff Rizzo

Jeff Rizzo

Combo Sleeper

kenzie

McKenzie Dillon

Combo Sleeper

Matt

Matt Ross

Back Sleeper

Kaite

Kaite Johnston

Combo Sleeper

Putting Together This Mattress List

As I mentioned before, we aren’t doctors or chiropractors—we’re just a team of normal people trying to do good work. We spend hundreds of hours researching and testing these mattresses, not to mention the countless hours invested in producing our written and video reviews. We’ve tested everything from high-end luxury mattresses to beds that cost us $200 on Amazon. And we also have team members of different heights, weight, age, and gender, which helps to give us a well-rounded perspective of the mattress the we review. For example, our director of production is a big dog, weighing in at over 200 lb. He’s an ex-high school lineman that loves memory foam and sleeps like a bear. He helps give us that “larger person” perspective. Our director of content, Kaite, on the other hand, is barely 100 lb soaking wet. She can sleep on pretty much any mattress given how light she is. Now, in addition to compiling several opinions about softness/firmness, we also perform tests related to motion transfer, edge support, temperature regulation, and more. We might not touch on each of those points in the short comparison write-ups above, but we make an effort to go through each one in our individual reviews. Therefore, if you want all of the info about one of these beds, please consult our full reviews.

The Best Type Of Mattress For Back Sleepers

Like stomach sleepers, back sleepers generally prefer firmer mattresses in order to keep proper spinal alignment. If the mattress is too soft, you’ll experience excess compression under your hips in particular, but possibly under your trunk and shoulders, as well. Basically, wherever you carry the majority of your weight, you need the mattress to keep its shape. We should be clear that a mattress being supportive does not necessarily meant that it will be firm. Support refers to the density and thickness of the materials within a mattress. Firmness/softness refers to the Indentation Load Deflection (ILD) rating for the materials. Picture a thin slab of foam that’s extremely firm. The firmness doesn’t counteract the fact that you have a thinner piece of foam. We’ll cover support here in a moment, but let’s stay focused on the firmness level of the mattress.

In general, side sleepers require a bed that is softer and offers ample pressure relief for their shoulders and hips. If you picture it from a side view, it makes a lot of sense in order to keep a straight spine.

For back sleepers, you still want to keep a straight spine, but if your hips sag down too much it could cause lower back pain. Therefore, the bed probably shouldn’t be rock solid, but it should be firm enough to keep your spine straight. Of course, a lot of this has to do with your own preferences, but, in general, you should be looking for a slightly firmer mattress in the range of medium to firm, depending on your weight and preferences.

Your Weight Affects Which Mattress Is Best

Not only does your weight impact how firm or soft you interpret the bed to be, but it also impacts the level of support that you require. Allow me to explain. Let’s unpack the softness/firmness concept first. If you’re a lighter individual, most beds in the medium range in terms of firmness will seem firmer to you. That’s because you don’t provide that much downward pressure on the bed and therefore you end up sleeping more on the mattress rather than in the mattress. For someone that’s heavier, the bed will seem softer. That’s because softness/firmness, while possible to quantify, is a subjective element when you’re testing beds. So don’t think of the bed as being a certain firmness rating, think of how firm it will feel to you.

Your weight also dictates how supportive the mattress should be. In general, spring and hybrid mattresses tend to provide more long-term support. That’s not always true, but if you’re especially heavier, you might want to first consider a coil mattress. Certain all-foam beds will work, as well, but they should be thick and dense. For someone that’s more average (under 200 lb) you can usually get by with a coil or all-foam mattress. Just make sure that the bed is at least 9” thick. If it’s thinner, it just won’t have the requisite support after 5-10 years.

Which Materials Should You Look For

I already covered the support systems—typically you’ll see all-foam beds or hybrid mattresses (i.e. have coils). In terms of the middle and top layers, there are five main material. The most popular is memory foam, which comes in varying thicknesses and densities. Memory foam is a touchy subject for people. If you’ve never tried it before, it has a lot of positive properties and then some elements that really turn off consumers. For example, if softens where pressure and heat are applied, which can cradle your body and be very comfortable. However, it’s not very responsive and therefore can leave you feeling stuck in the mattress. We calls this the stuck-in-the-mud feeling. With a firmer mattress, however, you’ll typically get less sinkage and therefore remain more on top of the mattress, so it won’t heat up as much as a softer memory foam bed. That said, memory foam is loathed for being a warmer material. To get around this, though, there are plenty of gel memory foams that seek to increase the airflow in the bed and keep you cooler. They do a good job, but aren’t the coolest materials out there. Still, if you sleep hotter, you’ll definitely prefer gel memory foam to standard memory foam.

Latex foam is another popular middle and top layer. It can offer ample pressure relief, but is also very responsive and supportive. It also has the added benefit of allowing for a lot of airflow, so if you sleep especially hot, latex is a good option for you. Latex is less common than memory foam, but it’s often a natural material (there’s also synthetic latex) with plenty of advantages, so don’t count it out.

We also sometimes see beds with proprietary foams, but there’s no rule of thumb for these. Don’t exclude beds with proprietary foams, but test them for yourself to see what you think. Similar story for a gel material mattress. There are only a few beds that use a gel-like material and we’ve been very happy with them.

Proper Mattress Foundation

This is often overlooked, but it’s very important with your mattress. If you don’t get the right foundation, you could potentially void the mattress warranty and even possibly damage the mattress. You should also check the FAQ section of the mattress brand’s website to find more information on approved foundations. For example, often you’ll see that a slatted bed frame, platform bed, box spring, or even the floor will do just fine, but some brands are especially strict and they require the bed to be placed on a solid surface with absolutely no flex. That eliminates some slatted bed frames, particularly those with wood slats as opposed to metal ones. Additionally, adjustable bed frames aren’t universally accepted either. If you want an adjustable bed frame, (a) I don’t blame you, they’re awesome, and (b) you should specifically ask the company if their mattress works with adjustable bed frames. You may also see that certain brands sell their own foundation system. If you don’t already have a foundation, it might be smart to get the one from the brand itself, so that you don’t have any issues.

What About Side And Back Sleepers

The majority of this list has been centered around strict back sleepers, but what if you split time between your back and side? If this is the case, you want to play to your dominant sleeping position. In other words, if you’re 73% a side sleeper, you’ll likely need a bed that’s about a medium on the firmness spectrum. If you’re 73% a back sleeper, you will want something in the medium-firm tier. In either case, you need the bed to be firm enough that you feel well supported when sleeping on your back, but pressure relieving enough when you’re sleeping on your side.

The impetus for us saying that you should play to your dominant sleeping position is that you don’t want the exception to dictate the rule. You want to program around what is most likely going to happen while you’re sleeping.

Best Mattress For Lower Back Pain

We’ve heard time and time again that back sleepers suffer from lower back pain—not so much upper back, shoulder, or neck pain, though. If you’re dealing with lower back pain and you spend the majority of the night on your back, the fix is fairly straight forward. You need a firmer bed, but not so firm that it doesn’t contour to the shape of your body. More specifically, you need a bed with better support.

Why Firmer Beds Sleep Cooler (Generally)

If you’ve read any of our other reviews, you’ll know that temperature regulation isn’t a straightforward, cut and dry subject. Materials, sleeping position, weight, and room temperature all affect how cool or warm a bed sleeps. What often goes overlooked, however, is that firmness plays a role as well. The firmer the bed, generally speaking, the cooler that bed will sleep. This is because the sleeper will rest on top of the bed with less of the materials coming in contact with their body. Softer beds, by design, allow for more give and necessitate that more of the surface of the bed will come in contact with their body. As an example, a firmer bed such as Plank will naturally tend sleep cooler than a plush mattress like Zinus.

How Much You Should Spend

The average queen size bed is about $1,000 online. You will typically see coil mattresses just above the $1,000 mark and foam beds just below it. There’s almost a mental barrier at $1,000 for queen size beds. That’s not to say that you should spend no more than $1,000. In fact, there are plenty of fantastic beds that we hold in high regard that are over $1,000—here’s our list of the best mattresses under $2,000. We just use the $1,000 mark to say that you can get some really nice beds for not much more than $1,000. At the end of the day, you should spend however much you want on a bed.

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