The Best Mattress for Every Kind of Sleeper

Updated: Jan. 08, 2020

A restful night sleep is possible—if your mattress accommodates your natural sleep style. Here's how to find the right bed for you.

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For the back sleeper

If you’re looking for doctor-approved sleep advice, one tip is to sleep on your back, though only 8 percent of people are back sleepers, according to “By far the healthiest option for most people is sleeping on your back because it allows your head, neck, and spine to rest in a neutral position,” according to the website. “This means that there’s no extra pressure on those areas, so you’re less likely to experience pain.” Sunni Goodman, SVP of Communications and tulo ambassador, recommends the tulo Firm, a memory foam bed-in-a-box for back sleepers. “It’s the perfect mattress for back sleepers as it was created and designed to provide head-to-toe and edge-to-edge firmness throughout the mattress to account for total body support,” she says. As a bonus, low-motion transfer technology means you won’t wake your partner when you crawl back to bed after a midnight snack.


For the side sleeper

If you tend to sleep on one side with your arms and legs straight out in front of you, you most likely need a softer mattress. “Since side sleepers tend to put a lot of pressure on one side of their body, a softer mattress is specifically designed to relieve pressure on one’s shoulders and hips to minimize tossing and turning throughout the night,” says Goodman, who recommends a Tulo Soft mattress. On the plus side, sleeping on your side, rather than on your back or stomach, may be the best position for a healthy brain. Are you in the market for a new mattress? Make sure you try before you by. Checking out the mattresses in a showroom is your best bet. Here’s everything you need to know when buying a mattress.


For the fetal position sleeper

The majority of the population—a whopping 41 percent of adults—sleep in the fetal position, in which you’re on your side, curled up into a ball. According to, the fetal position on your left side is great for pregnant woman (because it improves circulation) and snorers. “But resting in a fetal position that’s curled up too tightly can restrict breathing in your diaphragm. And it can leave you feeling a bit sore in the morning, particularly if you have arthritis in your joints or back,” the website warns. If you sleep in a fetal position, a soft mattress will help relieve pressure on your joints. Find out what your sleep position reveals about your relationship.

Dima Sidelnikov/Shutterstock

For the stomach sleeper

Yes, sleeping on your stomach may help with snoring, but it also wreaks havoc on your body and can cause horrible neck and back pain. “Stomach sleepers often have a hard time staying asleep, as this specific position often disrupts the natural curve of our spine and can ultimately lead to lower back pain,” Goodman says. If you sleep on your stomach, look for a mattress with a medium firmness. And when it comes to spring vs. foam, go with foam, as they tend to have the most give. For medium-firmness, consider a DreamCloud mattress because it’s a hybrid, so it’s got the comfort of a high-density memory foam but also the supportive infrastructure of a traditional box spring mattress. “This unique combination makes it a perfect solution for all sleepers, especially those who sleep on their stomach, as it provides the optimal back support,” says Craig Schmeizer, Co-Founder of DreamCloud. Bonus features of the DreamCloud mattress are a cooling-gel foam to help prevent overheating and a plush cashmere-blend top for softness. This is what your go-to sleeping position reveals about your personality.


For the starfish sleeper

The starfish is a fabulous sleep position—if you sleep alone. It means you’re most likely on your back (the healthiest sleep position for your body) and your arms and legs are stretched out. You’re not cramped, and you have plenty of room to get a great night’s sleep. (Just be mindful if you sleep with a partner that you’re not resting an arm on his or her face at 3 a.m.). Since you’re probably sleeping on your back in the starfish position, a firm mattress is likely what you’ll find most comfortable because it will provide support to your entire body. Find out the best sleeping position for back pain—and ten other health problems.

Dima Sidelnikov/Shutterstock

For the non-sleeper

Sleep is critical to your life. Without adequate sleep, your body will not function properly and you certainly won’t live up to your full potential. “Sleep is also when our muscles get a chance to relax,” says Erin Berman, Sleep Expert at NECTAR Sleep. “If your mattress is too soft or too hard, those muscles will actually tighten further as they fight the mattress. This can be a main reason why many people find they toss and turn all night.” Berman recommends a NECTAR mattress as a great universal mattress option as it’s “sturdy while still being soft, giving your back the support it so desperately craves.” In fact, it’s a firm gel-foam bed with a pillow top. As a bonus, it’s CertiPUR-US certified, which means it’s made without chemicals such as ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, mercury, and lead. Don’t forget to follow these 13 secrets that sleep doctors want you to know.


For partners with different sleep styles

Sharing a bed is fraught with issues at the outset—you have to constantly worry about taking up too much of the bed and stealing all the covers, or getting them stolen. And having two people with completely different sleep styles only makes it more challenging. “While there are some couples who prefer extremes—very firm for back sleepers or very soft for side sleepers, the best compromise is a mattress that can support sleepers of all positions,” says Berman. And in that case, medium firm may be your best bet. On the other hand, if you need super soft and your partner needs super firm, try KUTSON, a mattress-in-a-box brand with gel foam technology that allows you to adjust the comfort level on each side of the bed individually.

Next, find out the 11 weird tricks that really do help you sleep.