How to Choose a Mattress Based on Your Preferred Sleep Position

Posted by Emma Carlton - Buying and Merchandising Manager on 6th Oct 2023

How to Choose a Mattress Based on Your Preferred Sleep Position

How do you sleep at night? If your answer is ‘not all that well actually, but thanks for asking’ you might just be sleeping on the wrong mattress for your sleep style. Worry not though. Depending on the position you prefer to sleep in – on your front, back or side, and even if you can’t commit to one –there really is a mattress out there that’s perfect for you. As experts in all things bedtime we absolutely guarantee it.

Here we investigate a whole host of available beds, from the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers to the best mattress for back pain, beds for couples who can’t agree and the best mattress for heavy people.

The Best Mattress for Everyone: Things to Consider

When selecting a new mattress, there are some things to bear in mind:

  • Your sleep position: your sleep posture is one of the most important things to consider when it comes to picking a new mattress
  • Your weight: while those with slight frames can tolerate a soft mattress, a heavier person will require a firmer mattress that offers reliable support
  • Your aches and pains: struggling with a bad back or dodgy neck? The best mattress for back pain, or for just about any pain, is one that offers reliable support and great pressure relief
  • Allergies: do you suffer with allergies? If so a hypoallergenic mattress could well help you to sleep easier
  • Your body temperature: if you get especially hot at night – a real problem for those going through the menopause – a temperature regulating mattress like those in the iGel range could be just the thing
  • Who you’re sharing with: when you share a bed, you’ll need a mattress that suits both of your needs, even if they’re very different

The Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

If, like most people, you sleep on your side you’re in luck! Most mattresses are suitable for you and you should be able to tolerate a softer comfort level. These soft mattresses contour to the body, supporting your spine and providing pressure relief for knees and other sore joints. Memory foam, pocket sprung and hybrid mattresses can help give you a dreamy night’s sleep.

The pros and cons of side sleeping

Sleeping on your side is generally considered to be the safest and healthiest way to sleep. Good for digestion (particularly if you sleep on your left side), side sleeping can help to reduce the issues of indigestion and acid reflux (1). In addition, side sleepers are less likely to snore than back sleepers (2) meaning they’resafer from the sharp elbows of their sleeping partner. Side sleeping, particularly left side sleeping, is recommended for pregnant people too, particularly in the third trimester (3).

Although side sleeping may be supportive for your spine it can, unfortunately, cause some aches and pains, especially in the knees, shoulders and hips – the points at which your weight is concentrated when you sleep on one side without the proper support.

How to sleep on your side

To sleep comfortably and safely on your side, you should align your body with your head facing forward. Your neck shouldn’t be twisted and your chin shouldn’t tilt up or down. Bending your knees into a (not too tight) foetal position supports the spine and placing a pillow between the knees can help to reduce the risk of knee and lower back pain.

Side sleepers should choose a mattress for pressure relief.

eve sleep hybrid duo plus mattress

A hybrid like the eve Hybrid Duo Plus mattress is made using pressure relieving foam, ideal for keeping joints cradled and pain-free. The cool airflow foam is coupled with pocket springs for reliable support right up to the very edge, meaning that you’re held in place even if you’re a night-time roller.

Heavier side sleepers can choose a medium mattress for support

The best mattress for heavier people offers reliable support so look out for a medium comfort level bed with pocket springs. We like the Slumberland Airstream Memory 2000 mattress which offers 800 premium pocket springs for long lasting durabilityplus, 30mm of soft memory foam for pressure relief and minimised transfer of movement. A bed offering support of this kind can also be the best mattress for side sleepers with lower back pain.

Slumberland Airstream Memory Mattress

Best Mattress for Back Sleepers

The next most common sleeping position after side sleeping, lying on your back at night can be a comfortable choice provided you’re set up with a bed that’s good and supportive for your neck and back. For back sleepers like you, spinal alignment is absolutely paramount, making sure that you won’t wake achy and you don’t drive your other half crazy with snoring.

The pros and cons of back sleeping

That’s right, back sleeping is most usually associated with snorers, allowing your mouth to slacken and sometimes causing your tongue or epiglottis to relax a little too much! In addition, those who sleep on their backs can find that heartburn is worsened due to their position. Back sleeping is not recommended during pregnancy either – if you tend to roll onto your back consider wedging yourself in place on your side with pillows.

On the plus side, sleeping on your back can be a real help if you’re dealing with back pain as it promotes good spinal alignment. And if you’re worried about premature aging roll on over! Because your face isn’t pressed into a pillow while you sleep, experts reckon that you’re less likely to develop wrinkles and fine lines than stomach and side sleepers (4).

How to sleep on your back

To sleep safely and comfortably on your back you may find it useful to add some extra pillows into the mix. In addition to a supportive, medium to firm mattress, using pillows strategically – under the knees or under the lower back can help to relieve aches and keep you comfortable. Elevating your head with an extra pillow, as long as this doesn’t put pressure on your neck, may help to reduce both reflux and snoring.

Pocket springs provide personalised support for back sleepers

Slumberland Duo 1400 2-in-1 Mattress

Constructed using springs that respond individually to pressure and movement, pocket sprung mattresses like the Slumberland Duo 1400 2-in-1 mattress conform to your body, even as you move. This ensures support for every inch of your spine. A medium to firm mattress prevents sinking and holds you gently in place, even if a partner fidgets through the night. For added comfort, the Slumberland Duo has a winter and a summer side, letting you flip your mattress for cooler or warmer comfort as you need it.

Orthopaedic mattresses help to combat back pain

Silentnight ortho frim orthopaedic mattress

If you sleep on your back because you need to relieve pressure on your spine, an orthopaedic mattress may be right for you. Mattresses like the Silentnight Ortho Firm mattress provide extra firm, zoned pocket sprung support for problem spines.

Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers

If you sleep on your front congratulations! You’re a real rare bird. Unfortunatelyyou’re also likely to be experiencing a whole bunch of aches and pains and probably find it pretty tough to sleep anywhere but your own bed too. If you’re a committed front sleeper, however, there are things you can do to make your nights easier.

The pros and cons of front sleeping

Unfortunately when it comes to sleeping on your stomach, the drawbacks far outweigh the benefits, which is why experts encourage front sleepers to find a way to sleep on their side or backs instead. Putting a strain on your neck, shoulders and spine, sleeping on your front can lead to ongoing discomfort and often means you simply won’t sleep as well as you struggle to find a pain-free position. Front sleeping is strongly advised against during pregnancy too.

Though there aren’t many pros when it comes to sleeping on your front at least you can rest assured that you’re far less likely to snore than back or side sleepers.

How to sleep on your stomach

If you’re a committed front sleeper there are a few things you can do to help make sleeping a little less uncomfortable. Using the thinnest pillow you can lay hands on is one of the best ways to protect your neck. Meanwhile, placing another thin pillow underneath your pelvis can contribute to improved spinal alignment. Sleep experts also advocate for morning stretches, helping your body to find realignment and reduce discomfort.

A firm mattress helps to support front sleepers

As a stomach sleeper, you’ll need all the support you can get. And while lighter weight bodies can tolerate a softer mattress, f or most front sleepers a firm or extra firm mattress is a good idea. The Staples & Co Classic Artisan mattress provides you with individualised spring support and a Posture Plus edge support system along with a soft tufted pillowtop layer that provides you with a touch of luxe.

Staples and Co Artisan Classic Mattress

Latex mattresses are a firm alternative to foam

Naturally hypoallergenic and cool, latex mattresses provide reliable support that’s generally firmer than that found in memory foam. The Slumberland Clima Control Back-care mattress harnesses all that’s good about latex to keep front sleepers comfortable all year round.

Slumberland Clima Control Latex Backcare Mattress

Best Mattress for Couples and People Who Change Position

Nothing’s ever easy, especially when it comes to choosing a mattress. What do you do if you’re a slight side sleeper who shares a bed with a heavier back sleeper? Or what if you sleep alone but tend to shift from front sleeping to side overnight? Whatever your quandary there’s a solution out there!

Is sleeping together good for you?

If sleeping together is causing you both problems – perhaps one of you snores or fidgets or you can’t find a bed that suits you both – you might be tempted to head for separate beds (and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you’re both happy with this compromise!). However, it’s good to share if you can, with potential benefits including reduced stress (5), better quality sleep (6) and even improved self-esteem (7) if you opt to leave those PJs off.

Zip and link for co-sleeping that benefits you both

However each of you sleeps, a zip and link mattress can make sharing a bed simple. Allowing you to combine different comfort levels so you’re each cosy and well supported, a zip and link might just be the best bed for side and stomach sleepers or back and side sleepers who share.

Choosing the best mattress for side and stomach sleepers

Sealy Orwell Posturepedic Mattress

If you tend to move around a lot at night, changing positions from side to back to front, you’ll want to opt for a mattress that quickly adapts to your body and provides reliable support however you sleep. We like the Sealy Orwell Posturpedic mattress in a medium comfort level for its light but reliable spinal support and combination of responsive springs and adaptable latex.

Motion isolation is a mattress must if you move around at night

If you’re a midnight mover and shaker then motion isolation is the bed buzz word you should look out for. Simply put, a mattress that offers motion isolation, like the Staples & Co Artisan Grand, reduces bounce, meaning that even if you roll your partner won’t. Other features like edge support, mini springs and a pillowtop help you to stay comfortable in any position, whether sleeping alone or with someone else.

Staples and Co Artisan Grand Mattress

Get a Great Night’s Sleep In Any Position with Bensons For Beds

From starfish shaped front sleepers to foetal side sleepers and spread eagled back snorers, when it comes to sleep styles, here at Bensons for Beds we’ve seen the lot. Which means we know just what we’re talking about when it comes to your slumber comfort, however you might sleep. Using in-depth knowledge andclever technology like our sleeppro®system, we can help you to find the ideal mattress comfort level to ensure a better night’s sleep with less disturbance and discomfort. In fact, so sure are we that you’ll love your new bed, we offer a 40 night comfort guarantee.

To find our more simply step into your local Bensons for Beds store, or give us a ring on 0808 144 6160.


authors profile
Emma Carlton
Buying and Merchandising Manager
Emma has worked at Bensons for Beds for 10 years and is a fundamental part of the Bensons’ team, her wealth of breadth and knowledge is invaluable. Emma’s drive, determination, and tenacity ensures we provide our customers with the market leading products to suit our customer individual needs, at great value prices.
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