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What is a Zoned Support System?

During your search for the perfect mattress, you may have stumbled upon the phrase “zoned support.” We all know a mattress should be supportive, but what does it mean for it to be zoned? Just like people, no two mattresses are the same, and not all mattresses come with zoned support, or a zoned support system. Today, I’ll explain exactly what zoned support means, how it works, and if it could be right for you.

What is Zoned Support?

Zoned support is when a mattress has multiple firmness levels built into it, so it can support different areas of your body in different ways. The goal for every sleeping position is to keep the spine aligned to ensure good sleep posture. But in order to make that happen, different weight-bearing sections of your body, such as your hips, shoulder, and lumbar region, may require different levels of firmness to cater to their individual needs. To help with this, some mattresses are made up of different “zones,” with each zone having a different firmness level. 

An example of what a mattress with zoned support can look like. In the third layer down, you can see a layer that has both gray and blue foams. The gray foams are softer than the blue foam.

What Materials are Zoned Mattresses Made of?

Foam

Zoned mattresses are commonly made of foam (and there are several types of foam that can be used)! Even if it’s a hybrid mattress with different layers of various materials and coils, the layer designed for zoned support can be made of foam. The foam will have varying levels of firmness throughout different regions of the mattress. The all-foam Casper mattress is one of our favorites to recommend with this support.

Coils

Another material used for zoned support is coils. Similar to foam, the coils will vary in firmness throughout the mattress to help give your body perfect alignment. The Helix Luxe mattresses all have coiled zoned support and could be a good option for fans of this material. All Helix mattresses come in the standard model and luxe model.

Who Would Benefit From a Zoned Mattress?

This type of mattress could benefit anyone who tends to wake up with uncomfortable aches and pains, as it aims to help relieve muscle tension and pressure being placed on the joints. Below, I’ll go over how it could work with different sleeping positions.

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers benefit from soft mattresses that cushion the shoulder and hip, and alleviate pressure in those areas. Zoned mattresses have zones specifically designed to target your shoulders and hips. The region where your shoulders make contact with the mattress will typically be made of a softer foam that is less firm than the rest of the mattress. If the foam surrounding this area is too firm, your joints will feel like they’re jamming into the mattress.  A zoned mattress can cradle your shoulders while still providing enough sinkage at the hips to promote spinal alignment. 

Emma Shoulder Contour
A zoned support system in action. Notice how it allows the shoulders to sink in for pressure relief.

Stomach Sleepers

Just as the zones can benefit side sleepers, zoned mattresses can have zones that cater to your hip needs if they are firm enough. Unlike the shoulders, your hips tend to benefit more from a firmer mattress, especially when stomach sleeping. A firm zone can provide this area with the lift needed to achieve proper alignment all the way from your shoulders to your pelvis. The firmness in the hip region can prevent the hips from sinking in too much when you’re sleeping on your stomach and keep them aligned with the rest of your body. This will ultimately help prevent back pain.

Back Sleepers

Similar to stomach sleepers, back sleepers can benefit from zoned mattresses due to the firmness in the lumbar region. It’s imperative for back sleepers to maintain good spinal alignment and be supported throughout the night. This can help prevent lower back pain in the morning. Zoned mattresses will typically have a firmer material where your lower back lies to aid in this.

Combination Sleepers

Combination sleepers are people who switch between multiple sleeping positions throughout the night. A zoned mattress can be a great option for combination sleepers. With a zoned mattress, combo sleepers can get the best of both worlds and be comfortable and supported no matter what position they find themselves in. At the end of the day, zoned mattresses work to align the spine and relieve pressure off the joints, so many sleepers do well on this type of mattress. 

Body Weights And Heights

It’s important to note that depending on factors like your weight and height, a mattress can work differently for you than someone with a different body type. A mattress will typically feel firmer to people lighter in weight than it does to heavier people. Contrarily, a mattress will tend to feel softer to heavier people than it does to those who weigh less. 

Not all zoned mattresses have the same firmness level, so it’s important to know what firmness option works best for you. I recommend checking out our mattress buying guide for a complete breakdown of everything to consider before buying a mattress.

Zoned Mattress Recommendations

There are many mattresses that utilize a zoned support system on the market, but here are some of our favorites we’ve tested.

Leesa Legend

Leesa Legend Mattress

I love the soft zoned support the Leesa Legend offers. It should provide side sleepers just the right amount of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips. I think this soft feel might also work well for lighter back sleepers.

Sleepopolis Score 3.9/5
Read Leesa Legend Mattress Review

Material

Hybrid

Trial Period

100 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Soft: 6/10

Warranty

10-year warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight, average weight, and heavyweight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight, average weight, and heavyweight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.5/5
Watch Our Video Review

Leesa Legend Mattress

I love the soft zoned support the Leesa Legend offers. It should provide side sleepers just the right amount of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips. I think this soft feel might also work well for lighter back sleepers.

Sleepopolis Score 3.9/5
Read Leesa Legend Mattress Review

Material

Hybrid

Warranty

10-year warranty

Firmness

Soft: 6/10

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

100 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight, average weight, and heavyweight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight, average weight, and heavyweight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.5/5
Watch Our Video Review

Leesa Legend Mattress

I love the soft zoned support the Leesa Legend offers. It should provide side sleepers just the right amount of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips. I think this soft feel might also work well for lighter back sleepers.

Sleepopolis Score 3.9/5
Read Leesa Legend Mattress Review

Material

Hybrid

Firmness

Soft: 6/10

Trial Period

100 nights

Warranty

10-year warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight, average weight, and heavyweight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight, average weight, and heavyweight side sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.5/5
Watch Our Video Review

The Leesa Legend mattress is a great example of a zoned mattress that provides specialized support for all pressure points on the body. The zoned support layer on this mattress has three zones! The zones at the head and foot of the mattress contain more than 756 micro-pocket springs, providing mobility to the mattress and a bit of bounce. The middle zone is a firmer polyfoam that is great for keeping the spine aligned all night. The zoned layer on this mattress provides great pressure relief and stability for the sleeper. The zoned layer also provides some motion isolation, which would be great for anyone who shares their bed with a partner or pet. 

Check out our full Leesa Legend review and see our guide on the best mattresses for couples for more mattresses with strong motion isolation.

Bear Elite

Bear Elite Hybrid Mattress

The Bear Elite Hybrid is Bear's “ultra-luxurious” model with a traditional mattress feel, plus advanced cooling and support technology. It comes in three different firmness levels: Luxury Plush, Luxury Firm, and Extra Firm.

Sleepopolis Score 4.4/5
Read Bear Elite Hybrid Mattress Review

Material

Hybrid

Trial Period

120 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Multiple firmness options

Warranty

Lifetime Warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight, average weight, and heavyweight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for average weight side sleepers.
Average Customer Rating
/5

Bear Elite Hybrid Mattress

The Bear Elite Hybrid is Bear's “ultra-luxurious” model with a traditional mattress feel, plus advanced cooling and support technology. It comes in three different firmness levels: Luxury Plush, Luxury Firm, and Extra Firm.

Sleepopolis Score 4.4/5
Read Bear Elite Hybrid Mattress Review

Material

Hybrid

Warranty

Lifetime Warranty

Firmness

Multiple firmness options

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

120 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight, average weight, and heavyweight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for average weight side sleepers.
Average Customer Rating
/5

Bear Elite Hybrid Mattress

The Bear Elite Hybrid is Bear's “ultra-luxurious” model with a traditional mattress feel, plus advanced cooling and support technology. It comes in three different firmness levels: Luxury Plush, Luxury Firm, and Extra Firm.

Sleepopolis Score 4.4/5
Read Bear Elite Hybrid Mattress Review

Material

Hybrid

Firmness

Multiple firmness options

Trial Period

120 nights

Warranty

Lifetime Warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight, average weight, and heavyweight back sleepers.
Side Sleeping
Ideal for average weight side sleepers.
Average Customer Rating
/5

The Bear Elite Hybrid mattress is another example of a zoned mattress that’s perfect for different types of sleepers. Their zoned support system targets anyone with back, hip, or shoulder pain. Their “Zoned & Cut Comfort Foam” layer has five zones, which aim to alleviate pressure and pain on any area of the body. This layer also has cuts throughout it, which provides a good level of airflow. This could be a good option for hot sleepers looking for zoned support. 

Take a look at our full Bear Elite review. For more cooling options, check out our top picks for the best cooling mattresses.

Casper Nova Hybrid

Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress

I think this mattress could be a great fit for side sleepers. It’s super soft, so it provides plenty of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips. I also think combo sleepers could find a lot to love in this bouncy, hybrid bed!

Sleepopolis Score 3.9/5
Read Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress Review

Material

Hybrid

Trial Period

100 nights

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Firmness

Soft: 5.5/10

Warranty

10-year limited warranty

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from back pain.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.6/5
Watch Our Video Review

Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress

I think this mattress could be a great fit for side sleepers. It’s super soft, so it provides plenty of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips. I also think combo sleepers could find a lot to love in this bouncy, hybrid bed!

Sleepopolis Score 3.9/5
Read Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress Review

Material

Hybrid

Warranty

10-year limited warranty

Firmness

Soft: 5.5/10

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Trial Period

100 nights

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from back pain.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.6/5
Watch Our Video Review

Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress

I think this mattress could be a great fit for side sleepers. It’s super soft, so it provides plenty of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips. I also think combo sleepers could find a lot to love in this bouncy, hybrid bed!

Sleepopolis Score 3.9/5
Read Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress Review

Material

Hybrid

Firmness

Soft: 5.5/10

Trial Period

100 nights

Warranty

10-year limited warranty

Shipping Method

Free shipping

Price Range

$$$$$

We recommend this mattress for the following sleeper types:

Back Pain
This bed is perfect for anyone suffering from back pain.
Back Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight back sleepers.
Stomach Sleeping
Ideal for lightweight and average weight stomach sleepers.

Financing Options

Financing options are available for this mattress.

Average Customer Rating
4.6/5
Watch Our Video Review

My final zoned mattress recommendation is the Casper Nova Hybrid Snow mattress. This mattress has not one, but two layers containing zoned support! The first zoned layer is made of Casper’s AirScape™ foam with three ergonomic zones designed to relieve pressure while cooling you during the night. This layer is soft around the shoulders and firm around the lumbar area. The second zoned layer is made of Caper’s Zoned Support™ Pro foam. This layer has seven zones and is cut specifically to work with the zoned layer above it. It also targets your spine to make sure it’s properly aligned. 

For more information, read our full Casper Nova Hybrid review.

Final Thoughts

No matter what type of sleeper you are, proper spine alignment is a must. Zoned mattresses can be a great pick since they’re specifically designed to support every part of you while keeping that spine in perfect alignment. 

Remember not all mattresses have a layer specifically designed for zoned support, so it’s a good idea to check for it before purchasing a mattress if you’re interested. Most mattress websites will include a breakdown of the materials within each mattress, so that’s a good place to start. Some companies, like Casper, also have zoned support in all their available mattresses.

However, it’s important to keep in mind zoned mattresses can still vary with their firmness level and how they feel, so not every zoned mattress will work for every person. Luckily, there are a ton of beds out there. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite mattresses (with and without zoned support) to provide more options.

Riley Otis

Riley Otis

I’m Riley, the editorial intern here at Sleepopolis. I’m a firm believer that there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep, and I’m looking forward to helping everyone achieve just that! This Summer, I’ll be refreshing and updating our product reviews and working on a few articles of my own. I’m going into my junior year of college at Elon University and currently working towards a degree in journalism and creative writing. In my free time, I love to paint, cook, and spend time with family (especially my pets).