On a mission to create “tomorrow’s mattress,” Nolah decided to ditch the standbys of yore (namely memory foam & latex) and develop a new substance that would best them both. Their solution? Nolah AirFoam™, a material that mimics the body contouring principles of memory foam without overheating.
In this review, I’ll explore how this proprietary foam feels to see if it makes for a comfortable mattress. I’ll also test the bed for firmness, pressure relief, bounce, and motion transfer, so you’ll know 100% without a doubt if it’s the mattress for you!
Keep reading below for my full review of the Nolah original 10” mattress. Or skip to my review summary to save time.
Is the Nolah a Good Mattress for You?
Before we get in too deep I want to let you know who I do and don’t recommend the Nolah mattress for. Take a look below to learn if this mattress might be a good fit for your sleep needs.
Who I recommend the Nolah mattress for
- Back sleepers looking for some body-contouring at the lower back should really like the Nolah Original. It offers great pressure relief in the lumbar region.
- Hot sleepers will appreciate the cooling foams in this mattress.
- If you sleep with a restless partner I’d recommend checking out the Nolah. You shouldn’t feel too disturbed by a bedmate’s tossing and turning on this mattress.
- The Nolah was designed for side sleepers, so many of those folks should find this mattress very comfortable.
Who I don’t recommend the Nolah mattress for
- Stomach sleepers need a firmer mattress. I’d recommend they check out some of our best mattresses for stomach sleepers instead.
- Similarly, heavier sleepers (above 230lbs) might fare better on a mattress with some innerspring support. They can find a few options on our best mattress for heavy people page.
- Sleepers looking for an “on top of the bed” feel won’t be happy on the Nolah, which features pressure-relieving sinkage instead.
How Firm is the Nolah Mattress?
The first thing I test in a mattress is its firmness, or feel. Firmness is one of the most important metrics in a mattress, but it is also quite subjective! A mattress will feel different depending on your body weight, shape, and preferred sleeping position. For reference, I’m 5’9”, about 125 lbs, and prefer to sleep on my side.
Below, you’ll see me rate the Nolah on the mattress firmness scale, which ranges from 1 (softest) to 10 (firmest). For reference, the industry standard for medium firmness is 6.5 out of 10.
I rated the Nolah as a 6.5 out of 10, meaning this is a true medium-firm mattress. I tend to find mattresses that feature memory-foam like materials a bit firmer than the average sleeper, so someone a little heavier than me might think the Nolah feels more medium-soft. If you weigh 150 lbs or more, I’d keep that in mind when purchasing a Nolah. My height-weight ratio is a bit lighter than average, and that can affect how I experience a bed!
Nolah’s cooling AirFoam™ comfort layer contributes to its medium-firm feel. It has a slow response to pressure like traditional memory foam, but feels just a little bit bouncier.
While I don’t think this mattress has enough responsiveness for combination sleepers looking for a super bouncy feel, combo sleepers who don’t mind a bit of sinkage could like the Nolah. I didn’t find it too difficult to change positions on this bed.
In general, I think the Nolah could work for a lot of sleepers. Back and side sleepers especially might appreciate the body-contouring hug this mattress offers.
Nolah Mattress Performance
To give you a more objective look at this bed I ran it through a few additional tests. Below, I’ll describe how the Nolah performs for sleepers of different body weights, sleepers with pain, and sleepers who share a bed.
Testing the Nolah Mattress in Different Sleeping Positions
Depending on your body type and preferred sleeping positions, you’ll have different sleep needs. Take a look below to see how the Nolah might feel to you.
Is the Nolah a Good Mattress for Light Sleepers (Under 130 lbs)?
- Light Back Sleepers – Lightweight back sleepers should feel comfortable on the Nolah. Its foams will do a nice job contouring to their lower backs to offer some pressure relief.
- Light Side Sleepers – Light side sleepers might actually find the Nolah a little too firm for their needs, since they won’t sink as deeply into its foam layers. I’d recommend they try one of our best soft mattresses instead.
- Light Stomach Sleepers – The Nolah is too soft for these sleepers. Their hips will sink into this mattress, throwing their spines out of alignment and leading to pain.
Is the Nolah a Good Mattress for Average Weight Sleepers (130 – 250 lbs)?
- Average Weight Back Sleepers – Average weight back sleepers who enjoy a soft feel should like the Nolah, which will offer plush cushioning in this position.
- Average Weight Side Sleepers – These sleepers should like the Nolah best! It was designed to offer pressure-relief and body-contouring to side sleepers with average body weights.
- Average Weight Stomach Sleepers – I’d recommend these sleepers check out one of our best firm mattresses instead. The Nolah will allow their hips to sink too far into its top layers, which can cause back pain over time.
Is the Nolah a Good Mattress for Heavy Sleepers (over 250 lbs)?
The all-foam Nolah is not supportive enough for heavy sleepers in any position. These folks need a mattress with steel coil support to prevent premature sagging and promote a healthy spinal alignment. I’d recommend one of our best mattresses for heavy sleepers instead.
Nolah Mattress Pain Relief Performance
I use a pressure relief test to determine how well a mattress will relieve pain in different areas. My pressure relief test includes a color-coded pressure map that I spread on top of the Nolah. This map uses blue, green, yellow, and red to showcase the pressure that different areas of my body feel when lying down on the mattress in whatever position I choose. Blue is low pressure, green and yellow are in the middle, and red is high pressure.
Ideally, I would love to see blue across my entire body in all positions. A mattress that doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your shoulders, hips, or lower back will help you avoid pain and stiffness.
Back Pain – Though the pressure map is all blue in the back area, I think the Nolah is a bit too soft to help sleepers with back pain. They need a slightly more supportive bed to help combat pain. If this is something that you suffer from, I recommend taking a look at our best mattresses for back pain roundup.
Shoulder Pain – Based on these pressure map results, the Nolah should do an all right job relieving shoulder pain, especially if you only spend part of the night on your side.
Hip Pain – Looking at the yellow on the pressure map, I don’t think the Nolah is a great fit for sleepers with hip pain. I’d recommend the softer Nolah Evolution mattress instead.
Other Pain Concerns – Memory foam mattresses like the Nolah are often good solutions for joint pain and arthritis. Personally, I think the Nolah could do a nice job cushioning sensitive joints, especially for back sleepers.
Nolah Mattress Performance for Couples
The best mattress for couples features a mix of motion isolation and responsiveness, has great edge support, and sleeps cool. Read on below to learn more about those terms and see how the Nolah stacks up.
Motion Transfer helps me understand how a bed will feel to a sleeper with a restless partner. I am looking for a good motion isolation score, which means that someone sleeping restlessly on one side of the bed won’t bother their partner.
In this test, I place a seismometer on one side of the Nolah and drop a steel ball from varying heights. Let’s see what kind of motion the seismometer picked up:
I was happy with these motion transfer results. The Nolah did a great job quickly isolating motion across the mattress. This is a great sign that you’re unlikely to be disturbed by a restless partner on this bed.
The best mattress for sex often combines a mix of responsiveness with motion isolation, so that it’s easy to move around and change positions, but you can still get restful sleep. The Nolah does a great job combining these two features, and should be pretty good for sex. It shouldn’t be overly hard to move around on the surface of this bed.
Couples overheat more easily than solo sleepers, so cooling features are often important to them. The Nolah sleeps cooler than traditional memory foam mattresses, but isn’t the most cooling mattress I’ve ever tried. If you don’t sleep particularly hot, it could work for you and your partner.
Edge support is a measure of whether or not you’ll be able to sleep all the way on the edge of a mattress without the sides collapsing under your weight. A mattress with great edge support will feel a little bigger because you have more surface area to sleep on.
The Nolah had fairly average edge support for a foam mattress. I felt a bit unstable on the edge of the bed, but not like I was about to fall off. If you’re looking for a bed with really strong edges, I’d look for something with reinforced foams or pocketed coils.
What is the Nolah Mattress Made Of?
The Nolah is a mattress in a box built with three distinct foam layers. Each layer is CertiPUR-US® certified, which means the Nolah’s foams are free from heavy metals and harmful chemicals. Below, I’ll break down each layer individually.
Cover — The Nolah is made with a Tencel cover. This cover is breathable, absorbent, and wrinkle-resistant. And Tencel is a fabric made from recycled materials, which is a nice perk for eco-friendly shoppers.
Comfort Layer — Next up is a top layer of Nolah’s proprietary AirFoam™. This layer offers some nice body-contouring and sinkage. AirFoam™ doesn’t trap body heat like traditional memory foam, so this mattress could be especially nice for hot sleepers. Nolah also touts this foam as being especially well-suited to side sleepers, which could be a perk for these folks.
Transition Layer — Below that is a layer of Nolah’s high resilience foam. This foam is bouncy and durable, like latex. This layer eases the sleeper down onto the Nolah’s firm support layer.
Foundation Layer — The Nolah’s base layer is made of high-density foam. This is a common support foam in many bed-in-a-box mattresses and provides overall structure and stability to the mattress.
Nolah Mattress Unboxing and Off-Gassing
The Nolah will arrive compressed in a box, so you’ll need to unbox and set it up yourself. Luckily, this process is fairly easy. You might want to have a friend help you carry your mattress box if you’re bringing it up stairs. Like all of the best bed-in-a-box mattresses, the Nolah will need a few hours to off-gass and decompress. Any off-gassing smell should dissipate within 48 hours, and the bed should be ready to sleep on after a few hours.
Before we wrap things up, I want to leave you with a few of my favorite things, and a few of my complaints, about the Nolah Original.
My favorite things about the Nolah mattress
I really enjoyed the body-contouring hug the Nolah mattress offered, especially while I was on my back. If you’re someone who struggles with back pain, the Nolah could be a good solution for you. In general, I’d say back and side sleepers could especially enjoy this mattress.
I also really appreciated the cooling technology and motion isolation the Nolah offered. Together, I think these features make the Nolah a really great option for couples. It’s medium-firm feel should feel comfortable to many different sleepers, which is another bonus for anyone who sleeps with a partner.
My Nolah mattress complaints
I don’t think the Nolah will be perfect for everyone. I tend to prefer a slightly bouncier mattress, so if you are looking for a super responsive bed you might not be happy on the Nolah. That said, I do think the Nolah was pretty responsive for an all-foam bed, so combination sleepers who like a little hug might really like the Nolah Original.
I’ll also note that the Nolah is an all-foam mattress, so heavier sleepers especially might not find the Nolah as durable as an innerspring or hybrid mattress. If you’re someone looking for firmer support, I’d steer you away from the Nolah.
How Much Does the Nolah Cost?
Price is an important consideration when choosing any new mattress. Take a look at the chart below to compare prices and sizes. And be sure to check out our Nolah discount code to get a good deal!
Price listed will be before discount or offer for each size.
|Twin||38" x 75" x 15"||$649|
|Twin XL||38" x 80" x 15"||$799|
|Full||54" x "75" x 15"||$899|
|Queen||60" x 80" x 15"||$1,149|
|King||76" x 80" x 15"||$1,249|
|Cal King||72" x 84" x 15"||$1,249|
Nolah Mattress Policies and FAQs
Does Nolah offer a Warranty?
Yes, Nolah offers a lifetime warranty, which is a great perk.
How does the original Nolah mattress ship?
Shipping is free and your Nolah will be delivered compressed in a box.
Does Nolah offer a sleep trial?
Yes, Nolah offers a 120-night trial period. Nolah does request you try the mattress for at least 30 days before making a return so you can appropriately break it in.
Does the Nolah mattress need a box spring?
No, you don’t need a box spring with this bed, any hard flat surface will work to support it. You can also use a slatted bed frame.
Does the Nolah smell?
Like most online mattresses that arrive compressed in a box, the Nolah does have an off-gassing period. But any smell should dissipate a few hours after this mattress decompresses.
Can you flip the Nolah?
No, you can’t flip this bed, the Nolah Original is built from the top down. But Nolah does offer a flippable mattress called the Nolah Signature, which you can learn about in the Nolah Signature mattress review.
Nolah Mattress Vs.
It’s always a good idea to compare a potential new mattress to a few competitors on the market. Below, I’ll compare the Nolah to another soft foam bed, the Nectar mattress.
Nolah Mattress vs Nectar Mattress
- The Nectar and the Nolah are both all-foam bed-in-a-box mattress options.
- The Nectar is a traditional memory foam mattress, so hot sleepers will likely prefer the Nolah, which sleeps cooler.
- Side sleepers might find the Nectar just a little softer than the Nolah, so depending on what you like you may prefer one mattress over the other.
- Interested in the Nectar? Read more about it in my full Nectar mattress review.
Other Models from Nolah
Nolah Sleep offers the and Nolah Signature the Nolah Evolution in addition to the Nolah Original. Read on below to learn more about both of these beds. Nolah also sells adjustable bases, pillows, and mattress protectors, which you can explore on their site or in our Nolah pillow review.
Nolah Original Mattress vs Nolah Signature Mattress
- The Nolah Signature 12” is flippable and includes a soft and a firm side.
- Side sleepers might prefer the softer side of the Nolah Signature, which is a bit softer than the Nolah original.
- Stomach sleepers should be happy on the Nolah Signature’s fim side, which should offer them plenty of support.
- Check out our full Nolah Signature mattress review to learn more about this soft bed.
Nolah Original Mattress vs Nolah Evolution Mattress
- The Nolah Evolution is a hybrid mattress that includes pocketed steel coils. It’s also five inches taller than the Nolah Original.
Combination sleepers might enjoy the Evolution’s bouncier feel.
- The Nolah Evolution is in a higher price range than the Nolah original, so budget shoppers might want to stick to the original mattress.
- Learn more about the Nolah Evolution in the full Nolah Evolution mattress review.
Still on the fence about the Nolah? Take a look at how we rated a few of its features in the chart below.
- Edge Support