If you sleep on your back, you probably already know the horrors of sleeping on a mattress that’s too soft. You sink into it, there’s no support for your lower back, and you end up the next morning feeling as if someone tied a knot into your spine. Most back sleepers prefer firmer mattresses – but it’s important that they’re still soft enough to provide a comfortable night’s sleep.
And of course, you’ll also want a mattress that’s durable, and comes with a good warranty, protecting your investment. We’ve tested several mattresses of varying specifications and have found five that we feel represent the best mattresses for those who sleep on their back.
Best Mattress For Back Sleepers In 2020
Nectar Mattress – Best Overall
The Nectar is a memory foam mattress which includes an extra gel layer to diffuse heat away from your body, so that it sleeps cool. It’s particularly strong where motion isolation is concerned, so a restless partner won’t disturb your sleep.
It comes in at medium firm, around a 6 on the firmness scale, and it affords impressive support. Stability is better than many foam beds, while the foam helps cushion your body. This mattress receives very good reviews from customers with chronic pain conditions, who have found their lives transformed by finally getting a good night’s sleep with no aches and pains. Back sleepers with arthritis should certainly try out the Nectar.
This mattress does have that memory foam feeling of being ‘hugged’ by your mattress, so if you find this sensation a little claustrophobic, the Nectar might not be for you.
The price for Nectar’s mattresses is competitive, and a feature we particularly like is that they include two pillows as part of the offer. The sleep trial and warranty package are impressive too, with a 180 night trial and a Nectar Forever Warranty that runs as long as you own the mattress.
A worthy winner and our top pick.
Nest Bedding FLIP Mattress – Best Hybrid Option
This Amazon exclusive mattress is dual-sided offering both firm and medium options. It’s a 10″ hybrid coil and foam mattress, which uses gel foam to help diffuse heat away from the sleeper and also, benefits from the air flow of the coil base. For back sleepers who wake up hot and bothered, this is definitely a good choice.
The firm side is a medium firm coming in around 8 on the scale; the medium side is rather softer than medium, so most back sleepers will probably find they’re using the firmer side. This mattress does conform to the body quite well, but those who want a little more comfort could consider adding a mattress topper to provide more softness while retaining the mattress’ strong support.
The foam is Certipur-US certified, so no harmful chemicals to worry about.
Nest offers its customers a 30 night sleep trial and a 10 year warranty. Rather than return the mattress if you decide during the sleep trial it’s not for you, Nest asks you to gift it to charity, and simply send Nest the receipt to get your money refunded.
Leesa Mattress – Alternative Memory Foam Option
This memory foam “mattress in a box” comes with CertiPUR-US certification and uses three layers of high-performance foam. This provides medium support for back sleepers who like a softer sleep experience. Six inches of high-density foam provide firm support, while a 2″ layer of memory foam molds itself round your body as you sleep to ensure your lower back and neck get the support they need. A further 2″ comfort layer helps sleepers stay cool as well as giving a softer feel to the mattress.
It’s good at motion isolation, so it’s great for light sleepers who are easily woken. It’s one of the cooler all-foam mattresses available due to the quality of foam used. It uses an open microcell structure which is designed to flow air and breathe much better than standard memory foam.
We wouldn’t recommend this mattress to heavier sleepers, though. If you weigh in at more than 230lbs, this mattress might not offer you enough support.
Completed by a 100 night sleep trial with a no hassle full refund policy.
Brooklyn Bedding Bloom Mattress – Best Latex Option
This latex hybrid mattress comes in three levels of firmness – most back sleepers will want to pick ‘firm’ which comes in at 7-8 on the firmness scale.
This is a really cool-sleeping mattress as the inherent airflow and breathability of a pocketed coil layer is reinforced by the natural coolness of the latex. A EuroTop layer of organic wool and cotton also helps stop sleepers from overheating during the night.
A high-density foam base helps support the pocketed coils to form an even sleeping surface, while the latex allows a little ‘give’ just where you need it. This is also a mattress that has good edge support to minimize sinking in when you sit on the side of your bed. However, we wouldn’t recommend this mattress to heavier (230lb plus) sleepers as it may not offer enough overall support.
The mattress contains a high percentage of organic materials including Talalay latex and comes with CertiPUR-US certification. A good choice for those who prefer the feel of latex or the eco-friendly properties of this material.
The Leesa comes with a 10 year warranty against defects and premature failure.
Read our full review of the Leesa Mattress.
LUCID Mattress – Best Budget Option
Lucid is another latex hybrid mattress with a nice medium firm feel. It uses both latex and foam to provide the best of both worlds – the coolness of latex and the contouring and motion isolation qualities of memory foam.
The 12 inch mattress includes a 6 1/2″ pocket coil layer, plus 2″ support foam and 3.5″ latex and gel-infused memory foam layers. There’s also 5″ of edge support, making this a great bed if you often use your bed for sitting on as well as sleeping.
We found the level of support available to be good enough for most back sleepers while still providing adequate pressure relief.
The mattress breathes well due to the pocketed coil core which is further enhanced by the use of gel infused foam. Combined with the latex top layer, this mattress sleeps cool and shouldn’t give you any problems with night sweats.
Lucid comes as a ‘mattress in a box’, so you shouldn’t have an issue getting it up narrow stairs or into an elevator. Once in your bedroom of choice, it will decompress as soon as you open the box and pull it out.
Lucid offers a 100 night free sleep trial with a full refund if you’re not happy with the mattress as well as a 10 year warranty.
Read our full review of the Lucid Mattress.
Back Sleeper Mattress Buyer’s Guide
Confirmed back sleepers often think what they really want is a nice super firm mattress. So do some mattress stores. Unfortunately, that’s not quite right. Most back sleepers are best served by a medium firm mattress. Why? Because if your mattress is too firm, it won’t support your lower back properly – leading to sleeping with a badly aligned spine and eventually to back pain.
If you’re much heavier than average (250 lbs +), you are the sort of sleeper who will be better served by an extra firm mattress.
You’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of mattress types. Before you start looking at the mattresses available, spend a little while thinking about how, and how well, you sleep.
Do you ‘sleep hot’ – that is, wake up feeling overheated or sweaty? Do you enjoy a mattress with a little more give, or do you like to feel really well supported? Are you a light or a heavy sleeper? Do you sleep with a partner or have pets who jump on the bed? Light sleepers with partners who are active sleepers might prefer a mattress giving better motion isolation.
If your partner has a different sleeping style or different firmness preference, you might need to talk about what kind of mattress suits you both.
The purpose of this guide is to inform you about exactly what to look for when shopping for a mattress for back sleepers. Buying a mattress with good reviews and a long track record is your best bet – even if it costs a bit more. A mattress is an investment – it should last for years – so give it some thought before you click on ‘buy’.
Are you a side sleeper? Take a look at our side sleeper mattress buying guide.
What Features Are Important for Back Sleepers?
A medium firm mattress is going to give you the best support. Too soft, and you’ll sink in, which means you’ll have your back arched all night; too firm, and your shoulders and hips won’t sink in at all, so your spine will be bent the other way.
You need a mattress that allows just the right amount of compression for you to maintain your spine in a neutral alignment. That means, on the ten point scale, you should be looking for 5-6-7 – slightly higher if you are a heavier person (over 230lbs) – perhaps lower if you’re of particularly slight build.
Most couples will need at least a queen sized mattress to provide enough sleeping space. If you need more width, a king sized mattress is your best choice.
There are several other mattress sizes available so be sure to choose according to your needs.
Innerspring mattresses can be good for back sleepers who sleep hot, since the coil construction gives adequate support while also ensuring good airflow.
Memory foam mattresses conform closely to the body, and let your hips and shoulders sink in to ensure your spine is adequately supported. However, they tend to sleep hot, and not everyone loves the feel of being ‘hugged’ by their mattress.
Latex mattresses conform to the body like memory foam, but sleep much cooler, and have a bounciness that memory foam mattresses don’t.
Innerspring mattresses are often a good choice for back sleepers, but they can be noisy. The old-style continuous spring mattresses that squeak and grate have largely been superseded, but if you don’t want noise you’ll want to look for a mattress with pocketed springs. They’re each individually wrapped in fabric, so they don’t rub against each other and make noise.
Have you ever slept in a bed that tips you up and down every time the other person moves? Good motion isolation mattresses are the opposite – if your partner turns over, or your dog jumps on the bed, you won’t get woken up.
Memory foam mattresses are the best for motion isolation, but some hybrid mattresses work well too.
Make sure you choose a mattress that is durable. The moment a mattress starts to sag, it stops providing you the support that you need.
Some mattresses have a good record of lasting for years – others start to sag after just a few months. We’ve picked mattresses that passed our tests and have good reviews from long term users – some other mattresses failed our tests.
You’ll want a good warranty for your mattress just in case something goes wrong. The better companies usually offer a 10 year warranty but watch out for “pro-rated” warranties. After the first couple of years they’ll only pay you back a percentage of the value of the mattress. Some companies offer a warranty that’s good for as long as you own the mattress.
A sleep trial is a great way of finding out whether a mattress is right for you. Some manufacturers will let you try out your mattress for up to six months. It’s a much better way of testing a mattress than just lying on it for five minutes in the store.
If after sleeping on your new mattress for 100 nights you feel it isn’t for you, simply send it back and request a refund.
You obviously need to pick a mattress that suits your budget – but remember to consider factors such as sales tax and shipping before you choose.
When it comes to heavy and bulky mattresses, free shipping is a real money saver – and free shipping on returns is even better. Shipping costs will vary by retailer so be sure to compare before you buy.
Larger mattresses such as queen and king sizes typically cost more to buy, but can also represent better value for money then smaller mattresses.
Back sleepers are quite fortunate in that they’re probably the sleepers who make the least demands on their mattresses. However, if you’ve ever woken up feeling less than 100% – perhaps a little ache in the shoulders or a feeling you need to stretch yourself to get the kinks out – then you’re not sleeping on the optimal mattress for your body.
We believe that this selection offers the best mattress for back sleepers so pick the one that best matches your requirements and preferences.
A mattress is a big investment, but now that so many vendors offer a sleep trial, you can make absolutely sure you get things right before you’re committed. Look forward to the difference between just getting eight hours and getting a really good night’s sleep.