Of all the sleeping positions, stomach-sleeping is the least common. Some of us may sleep on our stomachs periodically, but people who do so for the majority of the night are a rare breed. In fact, just 16% of us stomach-sleep on a routine basis.
As physical therapist and Sleepopolis Expert Network member Dr. Keith Poorbaugh tells us, stomach-sleeping can be tricky. We’ve outlined the pros and cons of this position so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Best Mattresses for Stomach Sleepers of 2021
- Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers with Back Pain – Helix Dusk
- Best Innerspring Mattress – Saatva
- Best Mattress for Side and Stomach Sleepers – Layla Hybrid
- Best Hybrid Mattress – Dreamcloud
- Best Latex Mattress – GhostBed Original
- Best for Back and Stomach Sleepers – Brooklyn Bedding Plank
- Best Foam Mattress for Stomach Sleepers – Bear Mattress
- Best Cooling Mattress – Leesa
- Best Mattress for Heavy People – WinkBed
- Best Memory Foam Mattress – Amerisleep
Top 9 Mattresses for Stomach Sleepers!
Best Mattress for Back Pain
If you’re a stomach sleeper who suffers from back pain, I’d recommend taking a look at the Helix line of mattresses. Though the brand sells several different models, I think the ultra-firm Twilight or Dawn mattresses would be best for alleviating tension at the lumbar region. Not only are the beds firm enough to ensure sound stomach-sleeping, but they’re also supportive enough to set the spine in a healthy, neutral alignment.
In fact, proper support is perhaps the most important thing for back pain sufferers to consider. While support means different things for different styles of sleeping, for stomach sleepers, it means lifting the hips in line with the shoulders. When the hips dip, that’s when the aches and pains begin. It’s worth noting that Helix also sells luxury versions of the Twilight and Dawn mattresses, which come with extra foam for added comfort and support. AND there’s also the Helix Plus, a bed designed specifically for heavier sleepers.
If you're a stomach sleeper looking for a hybrid mattress, the Helix Midnight offers nice support to keep your hips from sinking into the mattress!
Best Innerspring Mattress
For those interested in more of a traditional innerspring feel, I’d recommend taking a look at the Saatva mattress. What’s most notable about this bed is its special coil-on-coil construction in which two rows of coils are stacked on top of each other. This results in a resoundingly firm feel, which could be ideal for stomach sleepers in need of — you guessed it! — firm support.
It’s worth mentioning, too, that unlike other popular online models, the Saatva is not a bed-in-a-box mattress. This means that it won’t arrive compressed on your doorstep, which could be another plus for folks in search of a more traditional experience. And if you find that the Classic Saatva isn’t quite firm enough for your needs, the brand also makes the Saatva HD, an ultra-firm model designed for heavy sleepers.
The Saatva mattress combines a luxurious pillow-top layer with two sections of coils for that classic innerspring feel. We recommend the firm model for strict stomach sleepers.
Best Mattress for Side/Stomach Sleepers
Stomach sleepers that switch between their side and stomach in the night need a bed that’s firm yet gentle, supportive yet deeply pressure-relieving at the shoulders and hips. It’s a tricky balance to strike, unless, of course, you’re stretching out on the Layla Hybrid.
This mattress offers a one-two punch of pressure relief and support by incorporating both gentle memory foam and sturdy pocketed coils into its design. So, you should get enough lift at the hips while dozing on your stomach and enough cozy comfort at your shoulders when turning onto your side, ensuring sound sleep in both positions. I should also add that the mattress is technically flippable with a “Soft” and “Firm” side, allowing sleepers to experiment with different comfort levels before landing on the one that’s right for them.
Interested? Then read my full Layla Hybrid mattress review for all the details!
The Layla Hybrid uses foam and coil layers for two firmness options so you can choose the right support level for your sleep style.
Best Hybrid Mattress
If you’re in the market for a bouncy hybrid that’ll make stomach sleeping a dream, then you’ve gotta check out the DreamCloud mattress. As with any hybrid model, this bed combines gentle foams with springy pocketed coils for a one-two punch of pressure relief and support.
While there are a ton of hybrids available online, I particularly like this one for stomach sleepers because its top layers of foam are soft, but not too soft. What I mean is that they provide plenty of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips without causing the lumbar region to dip out of alignment with the rest of the torso. This results in an even line from head to hoof, which is ideal for those who sleep in prone. Plus, the bed is a fantastic value given the high-quality materials used in its construction.
Does this mattress sound like a dream? Then you better head on over to my full DreamCloud mattress review.
The DreamCloud has firm enough support for spinal alignment, the DreamCloud is a great hybrid option for all sleeping positions, including stomach sleepers. Get $200 off a DreamCloud mattress plus free pillows, a mattress protector and a set of luxury sheets ($399 value) with your purchase!
Best Latex Mattress
I’m willing to bet you’ve never slept on a mattress that feels quite like the GhostBed. It combines latex with gel memory foam to give sleepers a slightly bouncy and supportive, yet hugging feel when they sleep. I should also note that while I like this mattress for light to average weight sleepers, it may be slightly too soft for a heavier sleeper on their stomach (or any position for that matter).
This mattress is available at a great value considering the materials that it is constructed with. It is also a solid option for those who change positions at night (combo sleepers), and I could see couples who have different preferences finding that this mattress suits both their needs pretty well. However, if you and your partner move around a lot at night, this mattress may not absorb as much motion as some other beds do.
Wanna know more about this mattress? Read my full GhostBed mattress review.
- Sleeps cool
- Medium firmness
- Good value
Best for Stomach and Back Sleepers
Brooklyn Bedding Plank
The Plank by Brooklyn Bedding is one of the firmest mattresses on the market, meaning there is very little room for the sinking of the hips when you lie on your back or stomach. That is always the main thing I look for when recommending a mattress to stomach sleepers, how aligned are the spine and hips? This mattress gives extra support around those delicate areas making it ideal for those who want to maintain “perfect” sleep posture. If you are very lightweight, you may find this mattress doesn’t have enough cushion for you to get comfortable at night.
This is not the mattress for you if you spend any time sleeping on your side. Because it is so firm, it does not have any give for the hips and shoulders and as they dig into the mattress it can become very uncomfortable. This mattress also sleeps cool, making it attractive for those who tend to get hot at night.
Read more in my full Plank by Brooklyn Bedding mattress review.
The Plank is a great choice for the back and side sleepers that want super firm support.
Best Foam Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
If you love the feel of memory foam but are concerned an all-foam mattress may not give you the support you need, the Bear Original mattress may be the perfect option for you. Coming in at just above a 7 on the firmness scale (7.1 to be exact), this bed is firm enough to promote a healthy, straight spine, but has a little bit of give for that hug from memory foam that so many love.
Another concern stomach sleepers have is the breathability of a mattress. Memory foam has a bad reputation for trapping body heat, which may make it uncomfortable for people with their faces buried in the mattress. The Bear mattress works against that stigma and is one of the most cooling foam beds on the market.
Thinking about trying this cool foam bed? Check out my full Bear Mattress Review!
Bear mattress covers use celliant, which some studies suggest may help those with active lifestyles recover faster!
Best Cooling Mattress
Overheating when sleeping at night can be a problem for a lot of people. The Leesa mattress helps with this by providing features that keep you cool all evening long. Underneath its cover is a breathable poly foam comfort layer, which is the primary way the mattress keeps you from getting too warm. While less dense than latex, the foam responds to body pressure and creates a surface that’s just as cooling as latex.
This mattress is great for stomach sleepers since it helps keep the spine, hips, and shoulders properly aligned. And when it comes to support, the firm mattress offers plenty. For all these reasons, stomach sleepers concerned about getting too warm at night should consider going with the Leesa mattress.
You can find more information at my full Leesa mattress review.
- Great for Back Sleepers
- Sleeps Cool
Best for Heavy People
Though all heavy sleepers need to pay attention to the support of their mattresses, firm support can be an especially important factor for plus-sized stomach sleepers. Why? Well, these dreamers need even more bolstering at the hips to ensure an even spine alignment as they snooze.
Enter the WinkBed, a bed built to support the needs of exactly these kinds of sleepers. The WinkBed also has a Plus option, which makes this mattress even more ideal for heavy sleepers. Not only does it have a sturdy coil section, but it’s also outfitted with a layer of zoned support, which provides extra lift to the hips. This combination of materials produces an exceedingly firm feel that should leave the sleeper positioned squarely on top of the structure. I should also mention that the WinkBed features a cover made of Tencel, an all-natural material that’s breathable and cooling.
- Innerspring like support
- Pressure relieving pillow top
Best Memory Foam Mattress
For stomach sleepers who want to sleep on memory foam, an Amerisleep mattress might be the best fit for you. Amerisleep mattresses range in firmness from AS1 (the firmest) to AS5 (the least firm). Each mattress is designed to comfortably distribute your weight by keeping your hips up and in line with your shoulders. This means you won’t hurt your back if you sleep on your stomach, due to the firm support the mattress provides.
If you’re concerned about overheating at night, you should know that all Amerisleep mattresses help keep the body cool due to a Celliant cover and a memory foam comfort layer. Each mattress also provides the right amount of firmness, depending on your preference, without detracting from the soft top. As such, Amerisleep mattresses provide the correct balance of firmness and comfort. So if you’re looking for a memory foam mattress that will keep you comfortable throughout the night, consider using an Amerisleep mattress.
To learn more, take a peek at my main Amerisleep mattress page.
Amerisleep offers a range of memory foam mattresses so you can find the right support level for your sleep style. Use code SLEEPOPOLIS to save 30% with our exclusive discount!
Basics of Stomach Sleeping
- Comfort. Many stomach sleepers find lying on their stomachs comfortable, and may fall asleep more easily in this position
- Reduced risk of breathing-related sleep disorders. Sleeping on the stomach can help lower the risk of snoring and sleep apnea due to the position of the throat and tongue
- Less heartburn. Stomach-sleeping may decrease the likelihood of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Spinal alignment. Sleeping on the stomach can contort and put pressure on the spine due to the concentration of weight in the middle of the body and the effects of gravity
- Muscle and joint strain. Reports of neck, shoulder, and back strain are common among stomach sleepers, especially those who sleep with both arms raised. One study found that using a computer or watching TV in the prone position can cause tension in the lumbar region of the back, while another showed that stomach-sleeping may disrupt breathing (1) (2)
- Interrupted sleep. Muscle and joint strain caused by stomach-sleeping can result in repeated awakenings during the night. This can lead to sleep deprivation, which may trigger fatigue, irritability, trouble with learning and memory, and weight gain
The right mattress can help mitigate some of the cons of stomach-sleeping, but may not relieve them entirely. Proper firmness and support are key to sleeping with minimal tension on the neck and spine.
Best Mattress Firmness for Stomach Sleepers
What does firmness mean when it comes to your mattress? Though firmness and support may sound similar, they have different definitions. Firmness refers to the initial feel when you first lie on a mattress. If the mattress immediately pushes back with a stiff sleeping surface, most people would consider it firm or very firm. Other mattresses have more of a cloud-like comfort with cushion that immediately contours around the body. This would be considered plush or soft. A balanced level of push-back, hug, and contour would be considered a medium feel.
Mattress firmness is described by a numerical one-to-ten scale, with one being the softest and ten being the firmest. Most soft mattresses measure around three on the scale, while extra firm mattresses measure around eight.
Mattresses that are considered appropriate for stomach sleepers generally come in at six to eight on the firmness scale. This level will prevent the back from arching out of alignment and keep the hips lifted in line with the shoulders. Anything softer could cause discomfort in the pelvis and lower back.
Body weight is also a factor when choosing a mattress. A stomach sleeper of average
weight might consider a medium mattress, about a five on the scale, or a medium firm mattress, around six to seven. Mattresses in this firmness range will be soft enough to conform to the body without sinking excessively.. A mattress that measures above a seven may help prevent heavier stomach-sleepers from sinking too deeply and exacerbating joint and muscle strain.
Though the firmness of your mattress is an important factor in how comfortably you sleep, Dr. Poorbaugh warns that it may not be enough to undo existing sleep posture issues. Put simply, if you already suffer from back pain, you should avoid sleeping on your stomach.
“I advise clients to avoid stomach sleeping if they are experiencing any type of spinal pain,” he says. “The primary area of concern for stomach sleepers is spinal alignment. Even with proper pillow placement [discussed below], it’s difficult to maintain a neutral spine position in prone.”
If you’re a dedicated stomach-sleeper and want to be as kind as possible to your muscles and joints, make sure you have the right mattress.
What About Mattress Support?
After firmness, support may be the most important concern for stomach sleepers. Support describes the uniformity of the mattress surface and the way it conforms to the body. Sound support will help to bolster the lumbar region, lift the hips, and reduce tension in the neck and shoulders.
To find a bed with solid support, consider the following:
- Firmness doesn’t always equal support, so pay attention to materials and construction. Hybrid beds utilize both foam and pocketed coils, and typically offer the most well-rounded support
- When you try out a bed, make sure your hips and shoulders aren’t sinking out of alignment. Give your body a few minutes to settle before deciding if the support feels right
- Focus less on the comfort layers and more on the support sections. Pillow-tops can be tantalizing, but stomach sleepers need to feel what’s going on underneath
Best Type of Mattress for Stomach Sleeping
A firmer, more supportive mattress can help reduce the discomfort and joint strain of stomach-sleeping. But which type of mattress is best for you? Mattress options for people who sleep on their stomachs include the following:
- Latex is a responsive material with a slightly spongy feel. The responsiveness of latex can help reduce the “stuck” feeling that may occur with memory foam, making switching positions easier. Latex is known as a cooler material, making it a great choice for stomach-sleepers who tend to perspire or wake up hot. Latex is a natural material made from the sap of the rubber tree, and may be a good option for people with respiratory allergies or concerns about the environmental impact of their mattress.
- Memory foam mattresses conform to the body and offer solid support and pressure relief. Though memory foam is known for sleeping hot, recent, more advanced memory foams sleep cooler due to their larger cellular structure. The thickness, density, and firmness of memory foam varies by mattress, brand, and price. In general, changing sleeping positions on memory foam is not as easy as it is with some other mattress materials. Memory foam is durable and typically makes for a very supportive mattress
- A traditional coil mattress is made with a structure of steel springs throughout the bed. Coils usually make for a bouncy bed that transfers motion easily. Pocketed coils are less likely to transfer motion due to the material that encases each individual coil
- Hybrid mattresses are crafted from a combination of latex, memory, other polyurethane foams, coils, or other materials. Hybrids achieve support and firmness using a variety of materials rather than one. Hybrid mattress are available in any firmness level, from soft to very firm
- Pillow-top mattresses may be made of latex, memory foam, hybrid materials, or other mattress materials. “Pillow-top” describes the layer of plush material either filling or affixed to the cover
- Tri-zone construction utilizes three different levels of comfort to support the lumbar region of the back and align the spine. The upper section of a tri-zone mattress is typically made of a softer layer that cushions and cradles the head and shoulders. A firmer foam is used for the middle zone to support the heavier torso and prevent it from sinking too deeply into the mattress. Making up the lower zone is a medium foam that supports the hips, glutes, and legs
Worst Mattresses for Stomach Sleepers
The worst mattresses for stomach sleepers are softer, less supportive, and more prone to sagging under the weight of the torso. Too much sinkage can throw the spine out of alignment and increase muscle and joint pain.
To help prevent poor alignment and discomfort, stomach-sleepers may want to avoid the following:
- A mattress with a deep pillow-top. A cushiony outer layer can feel plush and cozy to sink into, but is more likely to cause a painful curvature of the neck and spine. A thick pillow-top could also make breathing more difficult
- A mattress made of softer memory foam. Stomach-sleepers are more likely to shift and change position during the night, which could be more difficult on a less-firm memory foam
- A hyperelastic polymer mattress. These mattresses typically have open cells of relatively bouncy material and a resilient feel. Hyperelastic polymer is responsive, making it easier to change positions, but may not offer the pressure relief and firmness that most stomach sleepers need
The Right Pillows for Stomach-Sleepers
More than almost any other type of sleeper, those who sleep primarily on their stomachs have the most to gain from effective pillow use. As Dr. Poorbaugh points out, it’s not just about focusing on the pillow that goes under your head (though that’s important, too), but about getting creative with the ones you use along the rest of your body.
“To mitigate the risk of stomach sleeping for articular pain in the shoulder or spine, the best option is to utilize proper pillow support,” he says. “Pillows should be placed under the pelvis and shoulders to maintain neutral spine postures and avoid impingement of the shoulder.”
Research from the Mayo Clinic supports this idea, indicating that the only sure way to ensure proper support for stomach sleepers is to nestle a flat pillow directly under the pelvis. (3) The goal is to manufacture a lift, creating a neutral position for sound sleeping.
Not exactly sure what kind of pillow to go with? Our bedding expert Sarah breaks it down like this:
- The goal is to find a pillow with a lower loft (shorter height) and an overall softer firmness level
- Stay on the lookout for soft, short, and compressible pillows that won’t exert too much control over your posture
Learn more by checking out her round-up of the absolute best pillows for stomach sleepers.
How can I avoid sleeping on my stomach?
If stomach-sleeping is causing neck or back strain, you may want to break the habit. Try sewing a tennis ball into the front of your shirt or packing pillows around your body to keep you on your back or side. Try a supportive pillow that cradles your neck and head and makes it more difficult to sleep on your stomach.
What is considered the best position for sleeping?
Sleeping positions are a matter of personal preference, but most experts recommend back or side sleeping for optimal comfort, neck position, and spinal alignment.
Is it healthier to sleep on a firm mattress?
A mattress is a good fit for you if it’s comfortable, doesn’t cause or worsen aches and pains, and promotes a good night’s sleep. When sleeping on a firm mattress, the bones absorb most of the pressure and put less stress on joints and muscles. A firm mattress may be better for back and stomach-sleepers, while a slightly softer mattress might be the best choice if you sleep on your side.
Is it okay to sleep without a pillow?
Sleeping without a pillow or with a flatter pillow may actually be best if you sleep on your stomach. The less you lift your head while sleeping on your stomach, the less your arch your neck, which helps to lower the risk of back and neck strain.
Summary: Best Mattresses for Stomach Sleepers
|Mattress||Best For||Price (Queen)||Coupon||Review|
|Helix Dusk||Back Pain||$1,099||Helix Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Saatva||Innerspring||$1,499||Saatva Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Layla Hybrid||Side & Stomach Sleepers||$1,649||Layla Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|DreamCloud||Hybrid||$1,099||DreamCloud Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|GhostBed||Latex||$1,140||Ghostbed Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Brooklyn Bedding Plank||Back & Stomach Sleepers||$1,249||Brooklyn Bedding Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Bear||Foam Mattress||$995||Bear Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Leesa||Cooling||$899||Leesa Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|WinkBeds||Heavy People||$1,599||WinkBed Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Amerisleep||Memory Foam||$1,499||Amerisleep Coupon||Read Our Review!|