Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers of 2018 & Buying Guide
Stomach sleepers get their chops busted pretty frequently: experts have long regarded stomach sleeping as the worst position a person can choose, due to its tendency to flatten the spine unnaturally and put strain on the neck. Yet for many people, flipping over onto their tummy is the only way they can get a good night’s sleep—or sleep at all.
Our buyer’s guide will explain which mattress features are best for this and why, look at the benefits and drawbacks of this position, and assess some of our favorite mattresses for stomach sleepers.
Tuft & Needle with Adaptive Foam
Casper Sleep Mattress
Olee Sleep 13
What are the pros and cons of stomach sleeping?
First—because there are quite a few of them—we’ll start with the cons. Stomach sleeping doesn’t allow your spine to rest in its natural curve, and instead flattens it. This can cause or worsen lower back pain, especially if your abdominal muscles aren’t strong (such as women who’ve had severe diastis recti after pregnancy, or a permanent separation of the abs that’s only fixed by surgery).
Stomach sleeping also requires turning your head to one side, which can strain the neck and cause muscle spasms. Finally, because your face and chest are largely covered by the mattress, ventilation isn’t ideal; stomach sleepers are prone to night sweating and overheating.
There are some advantages, though. Snoring is usually mitigated in this position, as are certain forms/severity of sleep apnea. The airways are allowed to open in a way other positions can’t exactly provide, so this might actually be the best option for some folks.
Should I switch to a new position?
This is a matter that’s half personal opinion, and half (or more) up to the discretion of your personal physician. We’re not here to dispense medical advice, especially not in a one-size-fits-all style!
Overall, your physician might recommend a new sleeping position if your current one is causing or worsening spinal problems, hip or knee pain, or breathing difficulties. If you’re pregnant, your doctor will likely tell you to avoid sleeping on your stomach as soon as you begin to show, so your baby has more room to move during the night, and you don’t suffer from unneeded spinal compression .
In either case, consider body pillows to help you stay on your side during the night, which experts and medical professionals widely regard as the second-best sleeping position (back sleeping is the first, but is difficult to maintain all night for some people, especially those who snore or suffer from apnea).
If you’re not pregnant, however, and sleeping comfortably—and your doctor isn’t worried—there might be no reason to switch it up at night. Overall, the best sleeping position is the one that leaves you well-rested and in good health during the day.
I’m actually a multi-positional sleeper—I start out on my back, then move to my side, and eventually end up on my stomach (or any combination/order). What kind of mattress should I get?
Combination sleeping is actually quite prevalent; few people sleep in one position throughout the entire night.
First, determine how many positions you sleep in, and research whether or not those are compatible with each other in terms of mattress requirements. For example, most back and stomach sleepers need firmer mattresses, so there’d be no issue there. On the other hand, side sleepers need more contouring (so their hips and shoulders can sink into the mattress, while the curve of their waist and their knees are supported properly), and a mattress ideal for that might be terrible when you flop over onto your stomach.
Next, figure out what “must-haves” you need for each position you sleep in, and which is a top priority. This partially depends on which position you spend the most time in overall (hint: the position you wake up in is likely your “natural” position, and the one you should shop for).
Nowadays, mattresses have multiple layers, which can help with combination sleeping because they respond to pressure. You can find a memory foam mattress with a transitional layer, so the bed feels firm when you’re on your back or stomach, but sinks sufficiently when you’re on your side.
For couples with different sleeping positions, the same process should be taken into consideration. You need a mattress to suit both your needs well, with firmness/support for each of you.
What features should I look for in a stomach-sleeper mattress?
Overall, you should look for a firm mattress. Memory foam can be suitable, but innerspring or hybrid models (a combination of innerspring and foam) are best.
Because stomach sleeping already puts the spine in a flat position (as opposed to its natural curve), a too-soft mattress with let the hips sink down further, curving the spine the wrong way.
Ventilation is also important, since stomach sleepers tend to overheat and sweat more easily; their chest and face, which are highly heat-sensitive areas, can’t “breathe” throughout the night, so body heat becomes trapped between them and the mattress. If you frequently encounter this problem, consider models with cooling gel technology, or air chambers that promote airflow.
I really prefer soft mattresses, though. Can I still get one?
Yes—within reason, and perhaps with certain modifications.
The softest mattress a stomach sleeper should get is a medium-firm one. This doesn’t mean you can’t have ultra-comfy memory foam, just that it can’t be too thick. A mattress that contours to your body is fine, but it should still have plenty of support beyond that fancy, light-as-a-cloud layer, so your pelvis doesn’t sink or tilt further than it already is in that position. This increases the strain on your back by hyper-flexing your spine.
There is a benefit of some softness, of course: a thin contour layer takes pressure off your knees and hipbones, especially if you sleep in a “climber’s” position, with one leg straight and one leg lifted higher. This helps increase ventilation to your chest and face, and takes a lot of strain off your neck—but it also puts extra pressure on the raised knee, and the straight leg’s hip (which are pushed into the mattress more than the others). A soft transitional layer can help these pressure points immensely.
If your mattress is still a little too soft (for instance, if your partner is a side sleeper, or you occasionally sleep on your side, as well), put a pillow or two under your hips when you sleep on your stomach. This will elevate your pelvic bones and put your spine closer to its natural curve. Of course, this is also a great idea even if your mattress is very firm.
Overall, most people prefer medium-firm mattresses for stomach sleeping, with some plushness for the pressure-relief they need—but plenty of support for the hips and spine. Below, you’ll find a few models with these exact needs in mind.
Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers Reviews
1. Alden 14” Memory Foam King by Sleep Innovations Review
While it’s a little on the softer side, the Alden might be ideal for stomach and combination sleepers who want some luxurious softness alongside their support. It’s best for side sleepers overall, but should suit many stomach sleepers (or couples where one is on their side, and the other partner is on their stomach) just fine.
If you like the look and feel of the Alden but want something just a bit firmer or cooler, consider the Skylar model from this brand, instead (but be warned: its support layer isn’t quite as deep). As for the Alden, we think it’s a viable option for combination sleepers/couples, and great for stomach sleepers who just can’t stand the thought of a very firm bed.
2. Olee Sleep 13” Box Top Hybrid, Memory Foam and Innerspring Combination Review
Hybrids are showing up in more and more homes, thanks in part to the dwindling popularity of all-foam mattresses (people are realizing how hot they sleep, and that they aren’t best for everyone, after all), and in part to improved technology in innerspring manufacturing. Gone are the days of creaky, uncomfortable all-spring models; coils are created for comfort and support, and most companies pocket each one to avoid that dreaded groan. Hybrid models use the best of both worlds. This one from Olee Sleep offers the contouring and pressure relief of foam, but the long-lasting support of innersprings, as well.
While any of the mattresses in this guide would suit stomach sleepers well, this hybrid from Olee is definitely a standout. It’s designed thoughtfully, and includes the benefits of both mattress types, yes—but it also mitigates the drawbacks of each, such as improved ventilation to counter memory foam’s tendency to “sleep hot,” and pockets to reduce the noise and motion transfer problems of springs. Factor in the oh-so-affordable price, and we’re sold.
3. Tuft & Needle with Adaptive Foam Review
Another all-foam model, one might expect this mattress from Tuft & Needle to trap body heat excessively—but thankfully, the company has carefully crafted this bed to fix that all-too-common issue. Their secret? It’s not memory foam at all, but rather a proprietary blend incorporating gel and graphite that provides a supportive contour with maximized airflow capabilities.
If the idea of memory foam still appeals to you, consider this improved substitution from Tuft & Needle. It’s very comfortable for most stomach sleepers, and especially good for combination sleepers/couples due to its adaptive design and mid-range firmness level.
4. Casper Sleep Mattress Review
With largely positive customer responses, Casper is a start-up company already garnering some big attention from the likes of Forbes and Time. This model includes four distinct layers: support foam, a transitional layer, memory foam, and an aerated open-cell layer for ventilation.
While still affordable, this mattress does come with a higher price you might not expect from a start-up company—but it seems justified, given the generous return period and attentive design. The only downside is its firmness/softness level, which is largely dependent on your weight; the heavier you are, the more you’ll sink…so the softer it will feel. For lighter to average weights, this should perform brilliantly.
While it’s recommended stomach sleepers switch to a new position, that’s not always possible or preferable. Fortunately, there are solutions to keep snoozing belly-down, without the spine or neck problems this position is so prone to. The proper mattress, along with artfully arranged pillows, can help you achieve comfort all night…and all day. We hope our buyer’s guide has provided an auspicious start to your search for such a mattress.