The most painful sleeping style is stomach sleeping. Luckily, the best mattress for stomach sleepers will alleviate some of that discomfort—and help you get a deeper night’s sleep.
“Stomach sleeping is the least ideal position (compared to back and side) when it comes to neck and low back pain,” Naimish Baxi, MD, physiatrist at Hospital for Special Surgery, tells SELF. SELF previously reported that you should try to maintain a neutral spine alignment while you sleep if your goal is to prevent lower and upper back pain. It’s much more difficult to achieve this kind of alignment if you sleep on your stomach with your head facing one direction.
This position can cause your midsection to arch and shoulders to hunch, so it’s not surprising that you feel uncomfortable pressure points when you wake up. Experts will tell that you can’t avoid back and neck pain by sleeping on your stomach. However the right mattress can reduce those aches and discomforts.
What firmness level should stomach-sleepers look for in a mattress
“For stomach sleepers, the firmer the better,” Dr. Baxi says. “A firm mattress will help with optimizing your spine position, keeping it as neutral as possible.” A softer mattress, by comparison, encourages sinkage around your shoulders, hips, and knees. If these points sink too low, it will cause your back to arch more. A mattress that’s on the firm side won’t let your body sink—rather, it’ll provide pressure relief through these parts of your body.
For those who are curious, back-sleepers will also benefit from firmer mattresses. Side sleepers should choose a medium-firm mattress.
What materials and features are best for stomach sleepers?
Dr. Baxi states that all types of mattresses can provide stomach sleepers with the right amount of relief. It is up to you to choose which one. If you’re concerned about motion transfer, then memory foam mattresses are a great choice. However, innerspring mattresses or ones with pocketed springs will provide more support.
Dr. Baxi also suggests that mattresses not be too thin are avoided as they can make them less supportive. “I recommend using a mattress that’s at least 10 inches or thicker for stomach sleepers,” he explains. Conversely, the best pillows for stomach sleepers are low and thin—again, to encourage alignment and reduce the pressure on your neck, shoulders, and back.
With these criteria in mind we have selected the best and most well-reviewed mattresses stomach sleepers can test right now (and thanks to many brands’ generous trial periods, we really mean). Try). Continue reading to discover the best mattress for you and your preferred sleeping position.