Fewer than 10% of people sleep on their stomach, and that may be for good reason. Experts widely agree that sleeping on your stomach is the worst overall sleeping posture.
Pros and cons of sleeping on your stomach
Hyperextension of the spine:
Stomach sleepers often arch or hyperextend the spine, which can lead to tight muscles and low back pain.
Increased neck strain:
Many stomach sleepers strain their neck by turning their head to one side to breathe.
Increased joint pressure:
It is also common for stomach sleepers to contort other parts of their body, such as by bending a knee upward, in ways that can put undue pressure on muscles and joints.
Sleeping on your stomach helps open the airway and reduces snoring and sleep apnea.
For many, lying on the belly is simply the most comfortable position, and finding a comfortable sleeping position is crucial to a good night’s sleep.
However, it’s not a foregone conclusion that stomach sleepers will suffer from back, neck, or joint pain. By choosing an appropriate mattress and pillow, stomach sleepers can help to align their body in a way that reduces the risk of these problems.
Our top picks
Best mattresses for stomach sleepers
|BRAND||MODEL||TYPE OF MATTRESS||FIRMNESS/FEEL||PRICE|
|Layla||Memory foam||Medium, Very Firm||$899 (Queen)|
|Aviya||Hybrid||Soft, Medium, Very Firm||$999 (Queen)|
|Brooklyn Bedding #BestMattressEver||TitanFlex foam (latex foam alternative)||Soft, Medium, Firm||$750 (Queen)|
|Voila||Hybrid||Soft, Medium, Firm||$1,199 (Queen)|
|Loom & Leaf||Memory Foam||Medium, Very Firm||$1,099 (Queen)|
What do stomach sleepers need in a mattress?
Finding a comfortable mattress is critical for anyone, but it’s especially important for stomach sleepers. A well-selected mattress can help avoid the pitfalls of joint and muscle pain in this sleeping posture.
Experts recommend that stomach sleepers choose a firmer mattress. This firmness helps to ensure adequate back support and alignment. An ergonomic study found that stomach sleepers on sagging mattresses have worse spine positions and poorer sleep outcomes than non-stomach sleepers. This is because your midsection sinks without adequate firmness, exacerbating spinal misalignment. For this same reason, it is also important to choose a high-quality mattress since a poorly-constructed one is likely to sag in the center with extended use.
What feels right in terms of firmness depends on every individual, but generally it is recommended to select the firmest mattress that you find comfortable. Firmness is commonly rated on a 1-10 scale with 10 being the equivalent of sleeping on concrete. Most people prefer a mattress with a firmness level between 4 and 7, but stomach sleepers likely want to aim toward the higher end of that range.
What types of mattresses are good for stomach sleepers?
Typically memory foam and hybrid mattresses provide the best support for stomach sleepers, although there are several types of mattresses that stomach sleepers can consider:
|Durability||3 years||7 years||4 years||8 years||8 years|
|Stomach Sleeper Grade||D||A||B||C||C|
Innerspring mattresses use coils inside the mattress to provide spring and support. The coils respond to pressure from your body weight, and the thickness and number of coils helps determine the firmness of an innerspring mattress.
- Pros: Consistent support from the coils, widely available, affordable
- Cons: Less body-contouring, prone to sagging, can create pressure points near the neck, shoulders, back, and tailbone
Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic foam, contours to the body and provides more tailored support for the whole body. Memory foam mattresses typically have multiple layers of different types of foam. One of these layers is usually a denser foam that prevents a stomach sleeper from sinking too deeply into the mattress.
- Pros: Excellent contour ability, superior support for stomach sleepers
- Cons: Tendency to trap heat, contour makes it more difficult to move around or adjust sleeping positions through the night
Hybrid mattresses include elements of memory foam, coils, and/or latex. A common type of hybrid has a layer of memory foam on top of a base of innerspring coils.
- Pros: Above-average support for stomach sleepers, better edge support, good temperature regulation
- Cons: Shorter lifespan, more expensive, heavier and more difficult to move
Latex mattresses are made from either natural or synthetic rubber. This material bounces back more than memory foam and generally provides a firmer feel, which can be perfectly supportive or too firm depending on the individual’s comfort preferences.
- Pros: High durability, above-average contour, fully organic option in the case of all-latex beds
- Cons: Heavy and difficult to move, tough to find in stores, can be too bouncy for some stomach sleepers
Airbeds use chambers in which air can be added or removed, allowing them to be constantly adjusted to fit the sleeper’s preference.
- Pros: Adjustable firmness, long lifespan if parts are replaced over time
- Cons: Easy to underinflate the beds, tendency to lose air during the night, inadequate support for heavier sleepers
Knowing about these mattress types is essential, but remember that no single mattress type is best for everyone. Within each category there are many levels of firmness and quality of construction. What’s important is finding the best bed for you that supports proper spinal alignment while you sleep, and provides a comfortable surface for you to sleep on.
When selecting a mattress, stomach sleepers should also consider other aspects of the mattress, such as cost and warranty, to find a good value. Pillows are another important consideration for stomach sleepers when designing a supportive sleep environment.
Best pillows for stomach sleepers
Proper pillow selection is essential for stomach sleepers. Keeping a neutral spine helps to avoid joint and muscle pain. For people sleeping on their stomach, this means limiting the elevation of their head from the mattress.
Using no pillow, only a small pillow, or a pillow only under the forehead can help to keep your head level with the rest of your body. The proper pillow height is also affected by the firmness of your mattress. The more that you sink into a mattress, the more misaligned your spine is likely to be if you use a pillow that’s too tall.
Pillows can also be used under other parts of the body to help stomach sleepers achieve a neutral spine. For example, a pillow under the chest or under the pelvis and lower abdomen can improve spine alignment when sleeping on your stomach.
For most people, pillows that adjust to the body or to pressure are most comfortable. Cervical contour pillows and memory foam pillows are both options that can provide quality support. As with mattresses, though, what’s best for any individual depends on their own body size and shape.
Mattress pricing varies depending on the size, quality, and type of mattress you purchase. You can usually find a high-quality mattress around the $1,000 range. Memory foam mattresses, the best beds for stomach sleepers, tend to average around $800.
Trial periods and return policies
Most in-store trial periods start at 30 days, while you’ll find online retailers offer trial periods of 100 days or longer. This is to ease concerns about not being able to “try before you buy.” However, lying on a mattress for 15 minutes in-store is not at all representative of how it will feel to sleep on the mattress for a full night, night after night.
Whatever mattress you choose, try to give it at least 30 nights before returning it. It usually takes about that much time for the bed to break in.
Always review the warranty terms of any mattress you’re considering purchasing. You’ll need to ensure the base you’re planning to use for your bed, whether it’s a box spring, slatted base, the floor, or something else, is covered. Otherwise, any damage the bed incurs will not be covered.
A good mattress warranty should last 10 years minimum.
Top-5 Mattresses for stomach sleepers
In no particular order, here are our top mattress picks for stomach sleepers.
The Layla mattress is available in two firmness levels, which are accessible in the same mattress simply by flipping the bed over. One firmness option is a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, which is too soft for stomach sleepers, but the firm option (around a 7 or 8) will be a better fit. The Layla bed contains three foam layers: a 3-inch copper-infused memory foam comfort layer, a middle 6-inch support foam layer, and a 1-inch copper-infused memory foam comfort layer. A Queen costs $899. The company offers free shipping and a 120 night sleep trial.
- Why? The Layla warranty lasts a lifetime, which is much longer than the 10-year standard you see with most mattresses.
- Why Not? The Layla mattresses uses low density foams in its construction, so it may develop a permanent body indent or sag sooner than comparable mattresses. Layla is also a relatively new entrant to the mattress market, so long-term customer satisfaction is not yet widely available.
- The Bottom Line: The adjustable firmness makes the Layla bed a good fit for sleepers unsure of their firmness needs, and for those who might change their sleeping position later on and require a softer feel. The inclusion of copper in the comfort layers also helps keep the sleeping surface cool, a nice feature since memory foam mattresses are known for trapping heat.
The Aviya mattresses use a hybrid design with a pocketed coil support core, and four layers of foam and poly foam. The bed is available in three firmness levels, including a very firm (8-9) that will be suitable for stomach sleepers. A Queen costs $999 and ships free. Aviya offers white glove delivery for an additional cost, where they’ll take away your old mattress and set up your new one. There is a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
- Why? The pocketed coil support core of the Aviya bed offers responsiveness and contour for stomach sleepers, along with strong edge support for those who share the bed with another person or sleep on the edge. By using foams other than memory foam, the bed sleeps much cooler while offering good support and contour for stomach sleepers.
- Why Not? The foams used in the Aviya mattress are lower-quality, so the mattress may not ultimately perform in the long-term as well as other hybrid mattresses. As a new mattress company, long-term customer satisfaction and mattress performance have not yet been tested.
- The Bottom Line: The Aviya Mattress is a good fit for stomach sleepers who want some contour, but don’t want to worry about the temperature regulation issues of memory foam beds.
Brooklyn Bedding #BestMattressEver uses support foam and gel-infused TitanFlex foam (a latex foam alternative). The #BestMattressEver comes in three firmness levels, one of which is a firm 7-8 that will adequately support stomach sleepers. The density and composition of the individual foam layers depends on the firmness level selected. A Queen costs $750. Brooklyn Bedding offers a 120 night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
- Why? The #BestMattressEver uses high-quality foams in its comfort layer that predict a long life for the mattress. The #BestMattressEver also sleeps cool, an important consideration for hot sleepers. Brooklyn Bedding has a A+ rating with the BBB and a good reputation for strong customer service.
- Why Not? The bed’s TitanFlex foam is a relatively new latex foam alternative, so there isn’t much evidence regarding its performance over time. Customers are required to keep the bed for 30 days before they can return it.
- The Bottom Line: The latex foam alternative is less springy than traditional latex foam, allowing stomach sleepers to enjoy the feel of a latex bed in a way that’s still comfortable for them.
The Voila bed is a hybrid mattress available in three firmness levels: Plush, Medium, and Firm. Depending on the firmness level, the composition of the mattress layers changes, but all contain differing amounts of gel-infused memory foam, Talalay latex, support foam, and pocketed coils. The mattress ships free and comes with a 10-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial.
- Why? The latex and innerspring layers help the mattress surface stay cool. The polyfoam edge support lends an uniformity across the mattress surface, so stomach sleepers are supported no matter where they sleep on the bed.
- Why Not? At $1,199 for a Queen, the Voila bed is more expensive than comparable options. Voila is another new mattress company, so its longevity claims have not yet been tested. Customers are required to keep the mattress for 30 days before requesting a return.
- The Bottom Line: The Firm is less firm than the other mattresses on oru list, making it a good option for stomach sleepers of lighter weight or those who want a plusher feel with adequate support.
The Loom & Leaf mattress is a memory foam mattress made with high-quality memory foams, including 2 inches of gel-infused memory foam, 2.5 inches of memory foam, 2 inches of transition foam, and 5.5 inches of support foam, all enclosed in an organic cotton cover. The ILD of the foams varies depending on the firmness level selected. The bed is available in two firmness levels: a medium Relaxed Firm (6 on a scale of 1 to 10) and very firm Firm (about an 8). The Loom & Leaf comes with a 120 night sleep trial and a 15-year non-prorated warranty. Delivery includes removal of your old mattress and setup of the new one.
- Why? Loom & Leaf is sold by Saatva, a company with a strong reputation for customer service and long-standing in the mattress industry. The thickness of the memory foam layers and the density of the foams predict excellent support and contour for stomach sleepers in the long run. Both the sleep trial and warranty are longer than average.
- Why Not? At $1,099 for a Queen, the mattress is more expensive than the average memory foam bed. Also, returns are not free and cost $99. While the company is transparent about the specs for the rest of the mattress, it notably does not list the density for the bottom transition and support foam layers.
- The Bottom Line: The Loom & Leaf is a good option for consumers who prefer to shop with established businesses like Saatva.