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Best Mattress for Motion Isolation & Light Sleepers

Best Mattress for Motion Isolation & Light Sleepers

Looking for a bed that limits motion transfer? Here’s our list of the top rated mattresses!

Last Updated: September 28, 2020

Jeff Rizzo

If you’re a particularly light sleeper or just someone that’s worried about motion isolation, the good news is that there are plenty of great beds to choose from. We’ve posted dozens of individual mattress reviews and sifted through each of them to discuss which are best for minimal partner disturbance.

HOW WE DECIDED

  • Mattresses Reviewed

    150+

  • Brands

    60+

  • Made the List

    5

  • Number of Contributors

    8

Outline For This Best Mattress For Light Sleepers List

Best Mattress For Motion Isolation Overview

Finding a mattress that’s effective at limiting motion transfer is critical for couples and light sleepers in particular. Once you fall asleep, the last thing you want is your partner waking you up every time they switch sleeping positions. Here’s our top rated list of mattresses that isolate motion extremely well.

Here at the Slumber Yard, we’ve reviewed dozens of mattress, including some that are great in terms of motion isolation and others that are just dreadful in that department. In creating this list, we went back through all of the beds that we’ve tested and hand-picked only those that are the best for light sleepers, couples, and folks seriously interested in finding a bed that limits motion transfer.

Best Mattress For Motion Isolation Video Review

Before we dig into each bed, here’s a video review where JD covers all of the mattresses included in our list.

If you’re more in the reading mood, check below for all the details about the beds we thought were the best at isolating movement.

Top 5 Mattresses For Light Sleepers

The five brands below are the ones that we’ve found to be best at limiting motion transfer, making them ideal for light sleepers. In addition, we’ve also added a budget-friendly pick, and a mattress that’s good for light sleepers and for cooling.

Why Is Motion Isolation Important?

When we say motion transfer or motion isolation, we are referring to how well a bed deadens motion. For example, if you were to roll on a bed, how much will your motion affect points on the other side of the bed. Motion isolation is particularly important for couples. If you’re a light sleeper or sleep with someone that moves around a lot in their sleep, motion isolation is something that you should definitely investigate before you get a new bed. Let’s get into the list of beds now.

Layla Mattress — Best Memory Foam Mattress For Motion Isolation

What truly makes this bed interesting, is that it’s flippable with a Soft and Firm side. If you want a medium-soft mattress, check out the “Soft” side. If you want a bed that’s somewhere between medium and medium-firm in terms of firmness, you can check out the “Firm” side. Price wise, a queen size will cost around $850-$900 after discounts.

layla mattress review cover soft and firm side
The Layla mattress is flippable with a Soft side and a Firm side

Why we added Layla to our list — There are a lot of quality memory foam mattresses out there and it’s difficult to narrow it down to just one, but if you twisted our arms, we’d pick Layla thanks to its comfortable feel and versatile design.

Tuft And Needle Mint — Best Soft Foam Mattress For Light Sleepers

Mint is Tuft & Needle’s more premium mattress. The flagship Tuft & Needle mattress was (and still is) incredibly popular, but it’s only 10” thick, which alienated certain heavier individuals. T&N Mint adds an extra layer and an additional 2” of support.

tuft and needle mint mattress review side sleepers
The Tuft & Needle Mint mattress is ideal for side sleepers

It also happens to be quite soft, and is therefore mostly ideal for side sleepers. And since it’s an all-foam bed with mostly softer poly foam, it does a pretty good job of limiting motion transfer.

Why we chose Tuft and Needle Mint — This is a thicker all-foam mattress and provides more support than the average 10” bed like Layla, but it’s right around the same price. We think you’re getting a pretty great value with this bed.

Brentwood Home Oceano — Best Hybrid Mattress For Motion Isolation

The Oceano mattress is one of those beds that you lay on and say “OMG this is comfortable.” It’s possibly too comfortable. You could very easily sleep through your alarm clock on this bed.

In terms of construction, it actually uses coils, but they’re individually-wrapped—as opposed to typical interconnected innersprings—which allows the bed to isolate motion much better than you’d expect.

brentwood home oceano mattress review profile image
The Brentwood Oceano mattress is extremely comfortable

Why we chose Brentwood Home — Hybrid beds tend to be decent when it comes to motion isolation, but we think Brentwood Home Oceano does a great job at limiting motion transfer. Overall, it’s a supremely comfortable bed at a fair price (even if that price isn’t exactly cheap).

Brooklyn Bedding Bowery — Best Budget Bed For Motion Isolation

Brooklyn Bedding Bowery is the ultimate budget mattress because not only does it deaden movement across a mattress well thanks to its neutral feeling 3-foam layer design, but it’s also only $650 for a queen mattress without discounts included.

brooklyn bedding bowery mattress review
The affordable Brooklyn Bedding Bowery mattress

It’s made with 3″ of the brand’s Energex foam in the top layer of the bed, which gives the mattress a soft foam feel that’s more responsive than memory foam, but more contouring than latex foam. On our scale from soft to firm, we rated it right in the middle at a medium or 5 out of 10.

Why we picked Brooklyn Bowery — Bowery is a comfortable, soft foam mattress with great motion isolation, a real reasonable price tag, and an accommodating firmness level. It’s an ideal bed for almost all sleeper types (back, side, stomach, and combo) who love the feel of neutral-foam.

WinkBeds EcoCloud — Best Natural Latex Mattress

If you’re in the market for a natural and organic mattress that’ll isolate movement on your bed, we think WinkBeds’ EcoCloud mattress is a great option. Usually, latex hybrid mattresses like this one are extra bouncy and responsive, but this is one of the softest latex beds we’ve tested.

ecocloud hybrid mattress review winkbeds
The natural latex EcoCloud Mattress

We rated it a medium on the firmness scale, making it suitable for any sleeper type. It also has a supportive coil base, so any body type will also be accommodated on this bed.

Though, it retails higher than your average online mattress, as a queen has an MSRP of about $1,800.

Why We picked EcoCloud — It’s made with premium, eco-friendly materials like natural Talalay latex and organic cotton, and it’s one of the best latex mattresses for isolating motion. We also love how accommodating it is for any type of sleeper, regardless of body or sleeper type.

Review team

  • dillon lopez slumber yard
    Dillon Lopez

    Combo Sleeper

  • reynoso
    Jack Reynoso

    Combo Sleeper

  • Tharon
    Tharon Green

    Stomach Sleeper

  • wesley-ott
    Wesley Ott

    Combo Sleeper

What Is Motion Isolation?

The motion isolation of a bed refers to how well it deadens movement, and it’s a measure of how well movement is absorbed by the mattress.

This is very important for couples because a mattress with good motion isolation will keep you from bothering your partner when you get up in the middle of the night or move positions.

What Is Motion Transfer?

Motion transfer is the opposite to motion isolation. It is the occurrence of motion energy spreading across a mattress, and often leads to a disturbance if more than one person is lying on the mattress. This can be especially troubling for light sleepers, and in some cases, a light sleeper could even disturb themselves when moving in a bed where the motion transfer properties are high.

Considerations For Couples

The potential downside to this motion isolation for couples is that mattresses with good motion isolation properties tend to have little bounciness. Some people feel this makes the mattress less suitable for sex.

Couples also need to consider the edge support of the mattress, which can be particularly important in smaller mattresses, as it keeps you feeling supported and safe from rolling off the edge because it gives in easily to pressure. 

Best Materials For Motion Isolation

There are many different types of mattresses available, as you know if you’ve spent any time already searching and reading on SlumberYard. Here is what we’ve determined to be the best mattress materials for motion isolation.

Memory foam — Memory foam molds to the sleeper’s body to varying degrees, and then slowly springs back to shape once you remove pressure. Memory foam mattresses tend to have good motion isolation properties because they’re so viscous and good at absorbing motion energy.

Pocketed Coils — Many traditional spring-based mattresses will have some degree of motion transfer, but that can be minimized through the use of pocketed spring coils. This way, the springs move independently from one another as opposed to moving all together as one system. 

Polyurethane Foam — While it’s not as viscous and slow-responding as memory foam, it’s still a good mattress material for motion isolation. Polyurethane foam, also known as neutral-foam here at the Slumber Yard, absorbs movement while still being responsive to pressure. 

Air mattress — Many people recognize these as the sleep number mattresses. This mattress has internal air bladders and electric pumps that fill and drain air from sections of the mattress to adjust it to different levels of firmness. Another feature of the adjustable air mattress is its ability to effectively isolate motion, at least as good as memory foam, and even better in some models.

Common Mattress Materials And Constructions

Below you will find a table illustrating the different types of mattress materials, their weight limits, if they’re good for motion isolation, and what kind of person they’re best for. For weight limit, the numbers represent the highest weight you can be before the mattress is unsupportive for you. 

MattressMaterialWeight LimitGood For motion isolation?Best For
All-FoamMemory Foam
Poly Foam
Latex Foam
~250 lbsYesMotion Isolation
Budget Buyers
InnerspringSteel coils or innersprings~800 lbsNoTraditional feel
DurabilityCool

HybridMemory foam, latex, or polyfoam in addition to coils/innersprings. ~800 lbsBetter than innerspring alone.Supportive
Good bounce
Durable
More breathable than all-foam

How About Edge Support?

Since we’re already discussing elements that are important to couples in particular, edge support is another factor that you should think about. Edge support refers to how well the bed keeps you on the bed. If you’re sharing a smaller bed (queen or full, usually) space will be tight and you’ll probably find yourself along the edges of the mattress sometimes. If a bed has poor edge support it will compress a lot along the perimeter, giving you a roll-off sensation, which can be uncomfortable and unnerving. Luckily, there are a lot of beds that are now designed to have less motion transfer and great edge support. Usually, this involves adding a perimeter edge of dense foam. Also, in general, foam beds tend to have worse edge support than their coil counterparts. That doesn’t always hold true, but for the most part, coil beds will be better here.

Material Preferences To Help A Restless Partner

When it comes to motion transfer specifically, all-foam beds are usually the king. Having said that, some hybrid mattresses with pocketed coils or micro-coils do a great job of limiting motion transfer, as well. That’s because the coils are individually-wrapped rather than being part of a larger innerspring system. Pocketed coils tend to do a much better job (than innersprings) of localizing pressure relief and support, while also isolating motion. Therefore, if you see that a bed has coils, don’t run for the hills. If it has pocketed coils, it will still likely be very good in terms of deadening motion.

Creating Minimal Partner Disturbance

Typically motion isolation is something you only worry about (or think of) if you sleep with a partner. Otherwise, why would you care if the bed allows motion transfer? You wouldn’t.

But what if the partners have a difference of opinion in terms of firmness and feel of the mattress? In this case, we would say there are two interesting fixes. First, you could get a bed like Nest Alexander Hybrid or the Helix mattress that allows you to split the bed down the center with one side being firmer and the other, softer. Alternatively, you could opt for the nuclear option and get a split king or split California king mattress. We’ve noticed that fewer and fewer brands are offering split options, but if you search around you can find a few.

FAQs

What is motion isolation?

Motion isolation refers to how well, or not well, a bed deadens movement. For instance, if one partner was to move on the mattress, how much of that motion transfers to the other side of the bed.

What type of bed is best for minimal partner disturbance?

In general, softer foam beds deaden movement the best. Having said that, a lot of the modern coil mattresses are really good at motion isolation as well.

Is edge support important?

Edge support comes into play when you have two people on a smaller size mattress. If space is limited, you need a bed with strong edge support.

Do I need a soft or firm mattress?

Usually the softer beds will absorb motion better, so all things being equal, if you’re worried about partner disturbance, a softer bed is better.

How long will my Mattress last?

The longevity of your bed depends on the type of mattress you get. An all-foam mattress may last around 7-8 years, while a hybrid or innerspring bed can last around 10 years or more.

Will I get a trial period for my mattress?

If you purchase your bed online, you will receive a risk-free trial period. Depending on the brand, it can range from around 90 days to a full year.

How does shipping work?

You will get free shipping right to your doorstep, and your mattress will show up in a box about the size of a set of golf clubs. Some brands, however, offer free while glove delivery and will also complete the set-up process for you.

How often do online beds offer discount codes?

Often, and we mean very often — not just holidays. Check the Slumber Yard’s Deal Page for all the up-to-date online mattress promotions.