Sleeping on your stomach is a popular position. You can just fall into bed, spread out and sleep like royalty. That is of course if your mattress is big enough for that. But when it comes to sleeping positions, it turns out some are not as good for you as others. Let’s have a look at the benefits and the downsides of sleeping on your stomach. And, while we are at it, let’s recommend the best mattress for stomach sleepers too.
To achieve this, we had a look at what doctors have to say about sleeping on your stomach and made a short guide on how to improve your sleep. And in the last part, had a look at the top luxury mattresses and recommended out our favorites. So, without further introduction, let’s get right into it.
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- Is it bad to sleep on your stomach?
- How to improve your rest when sleeping on your stomach
- Best mattress for stomach sleepers
Is it bad to sleep on your stomach?
If you are a notorious snorer, then sleeping on your stomach can ease this burden for you. It helps to keep the airways clear, allowing you to breathe through the night. But, as it turns out, for everyone else, sleeping on their belly is the worst position they can pick.
Why is it bad to sleep on your stomach?
When you lay in bed on your front, your center of gravity is right around your middle. This means that your belly is weighing you down and shifting the position of your spine. This prevents you from keeping the spine straight through the night. And this prolonged pressure causes irritation and keeps you from resting properly. This can often wake you with discomfort many times during the night. This is especially true if you have a soft mattress.
Apart from restless nights, there can be much more serious consequences to your back. The continuous strain on your spine can result in back pains. Especially in the lower back area. This happens because sometimes your lower back extends beyond its normal position. This strains your ligaments and can result in lower back pain. And, since all the nerves go through your spine, it can even lead to pain in other parts of your body as well.
What about your neck?
Most people that sleep on their stomachs use a pillow. And because all the supermarkets are filled with giant pillows promising a good night’s rest, it is likely that’s what you have one as well. When you lay on it, your neck and the top of your spine bend upwards. And this can cause a whole lot of pain on your spine in the shoulder region.
If that is not enough. When you lay down, in order to be able to breathe you turn your head sideways. This twists your neck adding even more pressure on your spine. And this much pressure can have pretty grim consequences.
If this is not your main position, or if you change positions often during the night, you have nothing to worry about. But for those loyalists, sleeping with your neck bending upwards can lead to various issues. Starting with stiffness, this can quickly turn into acute neck and shoulder pain. And, if not corrected it becomes chronic pain which is hard to get rid of.
The pressure night after night can lead to more severe problems as well, such as a >blocked nerve or herniated discs. And this happens after a prolonged amount of continuous pressure.
One of the gelatinous discs between your vertebrae can weaken and eventually rupture, leading to pressure on your nerves. And eventually causing numb and painful limbs during the night. If not treated it can lead to severe complications.
Moms to be
Not that it would be very comfortable, but pregnant women should take extra care when they sleep. After all, they are sleeping for two now.
Sleeping on your belly will add extra weight to your body and pull on your spine more. As for the baby, it would reduce the space it has to move around.
For pregnant women, sleeping on their left side is most beneficial. It allows them to rest their belly on the mattress preventing it from having much effect on your sleeping position. It also has other added benefits, like increased blood flow, and better spine alignment. Not to mention all that space for the baby to curl up in!
How to improve your rest when sleeping on your stomach
While sleeping on your stomach might not be ideal, it is hard to change this habit. And, if you don’t want to train yourself into a different sleeping position, you need to take some steps that would keep you healthy.
Choose the right pillow
For a stomach sleeper, the kind of pillow you are sleeping on is extremely important. While there are plenty of ads for nice cushiony pillows, you must fight each one of them and stay away. The bigger the pillow, the more it will hurt your neck and spine. Simply changing the kind of pillow you rest your head on, can drastically improve the quality of your sleep.
When your head is resting flat against the mattress, your spine aligns into a straight line. This reduces the risk of injury from long-term strain. So the best you could do is sleep with no pillow at all.
But this might be hard to adjust to. So try getting a smaller pillow instead. The smallest that you can comfortably sleep on. While probably still too big for you, it will allow you to transition to even smaller pillows. And in time, maybe to no pillow at all.
While we are on the topic of pillows. You might want to get an extra small pillow to rest under your belly. A thin pillow can help you support the center of gravity, preventing your spine from bending. The size and firmness of the pillow depending on your weight. Heavier people will need a bigger pillow to support the extra weight. While those on the skinny side might suffice with a very thin one.
Invest in the right mattress
A high-quality mattress will further help you keep a proper posture. Good support, pressure relief, and heat control will all help you sleep better at night. If you haven’t already done so, it is time to invest in a good mattress. But, as with many things, saying it is much easier than actually doing it.
There is so much choice of different styles, firmness, materials, manufacturers and so on. It can make your head spin the second you step into a mattress shop. And without any knowledge, the floor salespeople have an upper hand in getting you to buy what you don’t need.
For example, they often offer soft a mattress regardless of what sleeping position or body shape you belong to. For most, a very soft mattress will be great when you are testing it out, but a complete nightmare once you try to sleep on it for a longer period of time.
Stomach sleepers should avoid a soft mattress at any cost. Get a soft mattress and you will sleep shaped like a banana. Try and look for a medium firm or firmer mattress. If you are used to sleeping on a soft mattress, go for medium firm. If you like it a bit harder, then a firm choice will be good. This type of mattress will properly support your body and keep your spine straight.
What to do if you are already experiencing pain
If you been sleeping on your stomach your whole life, and only suffer from mild pain or no pain, then great! The tips above will be enough for you to stay healthy.
But for those suffering from intense pain, a more drastic approach might be needed. If you want to get rid of your pain, you will have to change your sleeping position. And that might be much harder than you think.
Changing your sleeping position
There is a fair bit of a debate to which sleeping position is best for you. Some say that sleeping on your back, while others swear that sleeping on your side is the way to go. No matter which one you choose, there is no doubt that it will be a healthier option.
Try sleeping both ways and see which one is more comfortable. Then decide which one you will go with.
If you are heavier, getting used to sleeping on your back will be easier than on your side. Try and prop yourself with a pillow on each side. This way you will reduce the amount of space you have for changing position. It might also be a good idea to place a small pillow between your lower back and the mattress. Since your body is not used to sleeping in this position it could do with a little help supporting you.
For those trying to swap into a side sleeping position, a few extra steps might be needed. First, place a pillow in front of you. It will prevent you from rolling onto your belly and help you support your shoulder. This will also reduce the amount of stress that goes to your spine.
Or take a small pillow and place it between your knees. This will act as extra support for your top leg and prevent it from pulling on your hip.
If you find yourself struggling, consider moving to a sofa for a week or two. There you will have more back support and less space for moving around. Most sofas are only able to accommodate people sleeping on their side, so you will not have a choice, really. Which is exactly what we want.
Types of mattresses
Since the first innerspring mattress was released in the 1800s, we have a plethora of choice on the market today. Different materials, price ranges, and manufacturing processes make it hard to choose the best mattress. It is important to understand what the different choices are and how each will affect your sleep.
Before looking at individual mattresses, let’s first explore the different material options available. What each one has to offer to a stomach sleeper and what are their pros and cons.
Innerspring is the oldest technology in the mattress world. Around since the 19th century, it went through many innovations and seems to have survived the test of time. Now, there are four main subgroups of innerspring mattresses.
- Bonnel coil system is the oldest of the bunch. Around since literally the start of the industry it is cheap to make but not very durable. Often found in dorm rooms, cheap hotels and summer camps, these we recommend to absolutely nobody.
- Inspired by the Bonnel coils, Offset coils have square tops that are connected to each other. This offers more stability and contouring. Often found in more expensive mattresses this is a much better alternative to the predecessor.
- Marshal coils are individually wrapped in pockets made from fabric. The coils are not connected to each other and offer a lot of versatility. They are most commonly used in hybrid and coil-on-coil mattresses. Topped with a good layer, this system can perform very well for stomach sleepers because it adapts to provide more support where it is needed.
- A continuous coil system is made from a single very long wire that is twisted into coils. This is inexpensive and rather durable approach. It is a good summerhouse or guest bedroom alternative as it will last you a long time. Although, it might not be as comfortable as Offset or Marshal coils.
Overall, a good quality innerspring mattress can be a good choice. It is highly breathable and can easily be the coolest mattress to sleep on.
Because of the natural bounciness of innerspring mattresses, you must take extra care when you are choosing the firmness. If it’s too soft it will allow you to sink in at the stomach area and bend your spine. Too firm, and it will have so much bounce that you will not get any release on your pressure points.
If you want to go with innerspring, then we recommend coil-on-coil systems. These are more versatile and can adapt to your body better.
Durable, relatively cool and offering great support and contouring, latex is a decent choice for a stomach sleeper. Primarily made in two different ways that you should be mindful of when shopping.
Dunlop, the original manufacturing process, offers a more durable, longer lasting latex. Talalay method provides latex that is more breathable and sleeps cooler.
When choosing a latex mattress to make sure it has a firm base. This will offer more stability and prevent you from sagging like a sack in bed, which is quite common for stomach sleepers.
And because latex mattresses are made from 2 or 3 solid layers, it is quite common for them to have 2 different choices of firmness, one on each side. This makes it an ideal choice for couples that like different sleeping positions.
While we think that memory foam is the best choice for stomach sleepers, it is important you make your choice wisely. First developed by NASA, memory foam took the market by storm. In a relatively short time, it became used in everything. From shoes to mattresses. From pillows to helmets.
But once the memory foam mattress reviews started coming in, people found that traditional memory foam was not that great to sleep on. It was hot, took a long time to regain its shape, and quite often had a funny smell.
Since then, mattress makers have teamed up with world-class scientists to develop the best memory foam for your sleep. And, the results are great. The best of them being the creation of gel memory foam and plant-based memory foam.
Gel infused memory foam can compete on temperatures with the innerspring mattresses. Now the new innovations allow it to bounce back faster, adapt better and offer superior targeted support.
Whereas plant-based memory foam has cut a big portion of petroleum out of their manufacturing. This creates a foam that is nine times more breathable than before and has no unpleasant smells.
Can’t decide which type of mattress is best for you? Well, you don’t necessarily have to.
Hybrids combine two, or sometimes even all three, materials to deliver the most versatile mattress. They have good contouring, support, temperature control and motion isolation. This is because they use the best of each mattress type to deliver a full complex.
So why isn’t everyone buying them?
Well, for starters they are pricey. A high-quality hybrid mattress will cost you more than any other mattress type. This is due to the fact that they have to invest in multiple high-quality materials. Try and save on one and you end up with low quality mattress.
Another reason is their short lifetime. A good latex mattress can last up to 20 years. With a hybrid, you will be lucky to get 10 out of it. And, the closer it gets to the end of its life, the poorer the sleep quality will be.
While technically not a mattress type, the firmness is an important point to mention. Different people enjoy different firmness levels. But, different sleeping positions also have demands to be met.
For stomach sleepers the ideal range on the scale of 10 is somewhere between 5 and 7. This will offer you plenty of support while still feeling fairly soft and comfortable.
Best Mattress for stomach sleepers
Let’s have a look at the top 5 mattresses for stomach sleepers currently available on the market. We will dive into the materials each one is made from, look at customer’s mattress reviews, and at the technological innovation of each. In the end, we will give our recommendation and let you know more about our choice.
|Casper||Original Purple||Amerisleep AS3||Sapira||Helix|
|Mattress||Type||Memory||Foam||Polyfoam||Bio-Pur® foam||Memory foam & Coils||Memory foam & coils|
|Great Temperature Control||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Pressure Point Support||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Firmness (1-10 getting firmer)||7||7||6||6||3 to 9|
|Great Motion Isolation||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Customer Rating (5*)||4.5||4.5||4.7||4.4||4.3|
|Free Trial Length||100 nights||100 nights||100 nights||100 nights||100 nights|
|Warranty||10 years||10 years||20 years||10 years||10 years|
Casper designs and assembles their products in the USA, while the manufacturing process takes place in UK. This makes them the most international company on our list. Founded in 2014, this is a real newcomer to the market. They engineered the Casper mattress in a way that reduces sinking. This is ideal for stomach sleepers as it keeps you more balanced at the top of the mattress. Keeping your spine straight and body cool. There is a good reason for their unique international manufacturing process. That is because during their testing rounds, they couldn’t find the materials that they wanted. Instead they opted to source each part from a manufacturer that can truly deliver top quality at a reasonable price. And the manufacturer happened to be based in UK.
Let’s look at the mattress
Casper aims to deliver a perfect blend of breathability, comfort, support and alignment. To achieve this, they use an open-cell memory foam that is much more breathable than traditional memory foam.
Their 3-zone support layer has different support areas for each part of your body. That means that your head, feet, and shoulders get more support while your hips and core are also prevented from sinking too deep into the mattress.
The Casper is made from four different layers:
- The top layer is made from an open-cell foam. It is very breathable and responsive. Which means that you will sleep cooler than on most memory foam mattresses. Because of the way it is manufactured the foam feels a little like latex. And this gives it that extra bounce.
- The next layer is made from standard memory foam. While there is not much special about it, it provides comfort by contouring your body.
- Third layer is where the support magic happens. Casper achieves the zone support by making their support layer from 2 different foams. The top and the bottom is made from a softer foam while the center – where most of your body weight is- is made from a firmer memory foam. This creates balance between sinking and supporting.
- The base layer is made from a high density polyfoam. This creates a stable foundation for the mattress.
Let’s look at what the people say
As this is a relatively new company, it is hard to find customer reviews that would reflect on the durability of the mattress. But, for the most part The Casper is received fairly positively. The mattress seems to be advertised fairly accurately and the customer support is great. But for those that were not so impressed with Casper, there seems to be a running theme. Some people seem to claim that the mattress is much softer than expected, which can result in back pain.
|Sleeps cool||Too new to judge longevity|
|Has zoned support||A bit soft for some people|
|Great customer service|| |
When in 1993 they were asked to deliver a soft cushion for a wheelchair, the Pearce brothers took to the challenge and invented Floam™. This was the lightest cushioning fluid. It soon entered different markets, such as medical beds and sports goods. Becoming experts in everything to do with cushion, it was only a matter of time before the Pearce brothers entered the bed market. And when they did, the market changed.
In 2013 the Pearce brothers decided to make the transition into beds and spent the next few years innovating. Come 2016 and they released their first mattress. With only 2 years of experience, Purple has really taken the market by the storm. Purple has partnered up with the advertising experts The Harmon Brothers. Together they have released a series of videos explaining the science behind the mattress.
Let’s look at the mattress
Made from hyper-elastic polymer, Purple claims to be the world’s first mattress with zero pressure. While polymer is generally known as a lower quality material, Purple claims that it will sleep the same even after years of usage. While there has not been enough time to either confirm or deny it, their 10-year warranty does not bolster confidence.
The mattress itself is made from four different layers:
- The cover is made from a blend of Lycra, polyester and viscose. Which makes for a very thin and stretchy material. It has good moisture resistance preventing sweat build-up. It also keeps you dry and cool through the night.
- Then, comes the signature hyper-elastic polymer layer. Uniquely design into a square grid, it is made to adapt to varying pressure. The grid design allows the comfort layer to collapse under pressure. And this results in even weight and pressure distribution.
- Next is a 3.25″ polyfoam layer. This layer provides support for your body. While simultaneously it transitioning away from the comfort layer.
- The 4″ polyfoam base layer makes for a stable foundation.
Let’s look at what the people say
After a big hype up by the Harmon Brothers, it is great to see that most people seem to be satisfied by their purchase. The delivery of the mattress seems to be quick and reliable. But when it comes to other aspects of the product, a few people had a fair share of issues. For those that were not 100% satisfied it seems that the mattress started losing shape after about six months. For a new company this is a little concerning, as it is hard to tell how things will be a few years down the line.
|Sleeps cool||Very new product|
|Excellent weight distribution||Low quality base materials|
|Very breathable material|
As the best-known memory foam mattress company on our list, Amerisleep has years of experience behind its belt. They focus at delivering a high quality natural memory foam mattress at the lowest cost to our environment. To do this, they decided to make their foam from plant-based materials. Which not only has lower environmental impact but produces a much higher quality product.
The trade-off? Is a slightly higher price tag.
During the manufacturing process they use a Variable Pressure Foaming (VPF) system. Which creates their Bio-Pur® foam in a fully enclosed room. This prevents any harmful gasses being released into the air. And in turn provides a product that has virtually no smell.
Let’s look at the mattress
Amerisleep AS3 is a medium firmness mattress. Full of innovation, it offers quite a few interesting features. By far one off the coolest foam mattresses, Amerisleep AS3 can go head to head even with the innerspring competitors. Let’s have a look at the four layers to see how they do this:
- The top cover is made from Celliant® fabric. This is a modern fabric that has been infused with 13 different thermoreactive minerals. This unique technology improves local blood flow by converting heat into infrared light. It also allows you to rest better and reduces heat while encouraging healthy sleeping.
- Bio-Pur® foam comfort layer has extra wide cell structure. Making it up to five times more breathable than other memory foam mattresses. This increased breathability helps you stay cool through the night. Another great thing about Bio-Pur® foam is that it is 10 times more reactive than regular memory foam. This means it regains shape faster, making the change of positions and moving around in bed much easier.
- The affinity support layer is made using their HIVE® technology. This system provides targeted support through the body. Made from hundreds of hexagonal cut-outs that are grouped into five different support groups. Head, shoulders, back, hips, and feet. That is how the mattress provides firmer or softer support, depending on where it is needed.
Let us explain how:
The hexagons are placed closer together in places where you need more support, like the head, back and feet. This means that when you lay down on it, it will not compress and will provide you more support. For your hips and shoulders, the hexagons are further apart. And this allows more compression as you lay down.
- The base layer is made from Bio-Core™ foam. It is very durable and should last for years to come. No wonder that Amerisleep offers a 20 year warranty.
Let’s look at what the people say
The lack of bad smell from Amerisleeps plant-based foam has impressed many of its customers. In general, Amerisleep seems to have a slightly higher average review score than the competition. And for the most part, we think this is due to years of experience. While the reviews are mostly good, some people have complained that the AS3 feels more like a firm mattress than a medium one. For those who enjoy a bit softer sleep you might want to consider other models by Amerisleep.
Sapira by Leesa
Leesa founders decided to create a mattress that strips away all the extra bits that other top luxury mattresses have. This way, they kept the comfort and reduced the price tag.
The company began their journey with their flagship Leesa memory foam mattress. After selling it for a while, Leesa decided to expand and created a hybrid. And that is how Sapira was born. Made with Marshal coils, Sapira aims to deliver both the contouring and softness of memory foam. But with the support and bounciness of an innerspring mattress.
Let’s look at the mattress
Because of the Marshal coils, Sapira feels much firmer and allows much easier movement in bed. This makes it a great mattress for stomach sleepers. Using many of the loved features of their memory foam mattress Leesa, Sapira aims to create a truly luxurious hybrid feel.
Let’s have a look at the layers inside.
- Similar to the Purple mattress, the top cover is made from Lycra and polyester blend. Excellent at wicking moisture away from your body and regulating the temperature, it is stretchy, durable and lasts a long time.
- The 1.5″ comfort layer is made from perforated Aveena foam. The extra holes allow heat to escape and the foam to have extra breathability. Not seen very often, Aveena foam has been a huge success at making Leesa memory foam sleep cool.
- The next 1.5″ is made from contouring memory foam. This layer is what makes the hybrid mattress feel like you are sleeping on memory foam as it gently contours you. And while it does heat up as the traditional memory foam tends to do, the top layer makes sure that none of the heat reaches your body.
- Forth layer is made from 1″ of dense memory foam. Acting as a barrier between memory foam and the coils this creates comfort and prevents you from ever getting too close to the coils to ever feel them.
- Underneath is the 6″ Marshal coils. They provide targeted support as only the coils directly under pressure contract. This means great support and very little motion transfer.
- At the bottom is another 1″ of high density foam. This acts as a platform for the coils. It gives them some support to bounce off from.
Let’s look at what the people say
While it doesn’t have many reviews as of yet, they seem to be mostly positive. After a slight adjustment period, most people found that the Sapira sleeps fairly comfortably. Preventing any back pain or stiffness. Because it is not made from plant-based memory foam, a lot of people complain about lingering “new mattress” smell. While this should mostly disappear after some time, it can be unpleasant for the first few weeks. Other complains were about the mattress being a bit too firm. And for some, it sleeps a bit warmer than expected.
|Provides good bounciness||Unpleasant smell|
|Relatively cool||Can be on the warm side|
|Firm support||Too firm for some|
|Great support|| |
Helix has entered the market with a single purpose – to deliver the most customizable mattress on the market. It is perfect for couples, multi-position sleepers, and, with their selectable firmness, it is a great choice for just about anyone.
When you buy the mattress, you fill out a sleep quiz. This can be done either alone, or together with your partner. Based on your answers Helix will mix and match the layers to find the perfect solution for you.
Let’s look at the mattress
The Helix mattress comes in a variety of firmness levels. For stomach sleepers, we recommend a slightly firmer 7. If you sleep with a partner who prefers it softer, no worries. Helix mattress can be split right down the middle to accommodate different sleeping habits. Because it is a hybrid mattress made with Marshal coils, it offers a great support layer. Making sure that no matter what choices you make, you will be supported properly through the night. Each Helix mattress comes with different layers. They are made from dynamic memory foam and variable density polyfoams. This creates a unique experience that stays cool through the night and offers great contouring for your body.
Let’s look at what the people say
While a scary experience at first, people seem to have a positive response. Helix seems to get the mix of foams right for the majority of customers. And while it might get it wrong from time to time, it seems that it is close enough to keep the customers happy.
|Customizable||Too soft for some|
|Variable firmness||Sleeps a little hot|
|Great customer service|| |
So which is the best mattress for stomach sleepers?
As you can see, all of the mattresses we mentioned work great for stomach sleepers. But, we had to make a choice and recommend one. Therefore, because of the amount of innovation and its eco-friendliness, we decided to go with Amerisleep AS3.
Amerisleep AS3 is very versatile, offers great pressure point relief, low heat, and maximum comfort. Because it is made from memory foam, your partner can get in and out of bed without you ever knowing it. Truly great motion isolation that allows you uninterrupted sleep.
When it comes to pressure point relief, The Harnessing Intelligent Ventilation & Energy (HIVE®) technology has been found to reduce pressure points by 49%. This means less pressure on your back, better spine alignment, and less overall aches. Also, because Amerisleep AS3 foam is not as dense as traditional memory foam, it has a vastly superior bounce back. Which means that shifting positions and moving around in bed is not as complicated as with other memory foam mattresses. And to top it all off, Amerisleep itself is focused on creating the eco-friendliest mattress company in the world. All their packaging is made from recyclable materials. The mattress itself is made from plant-based Castor oil. This reduces the amount of petroleum used which is far more sustainable than traditional memory foam. So all in all, both the company and the mattress score highly on our list. And that makes Amerisleep AS3 truly the best mattress for stomach sleepers
While sleeping on your stomach might not be the best option. For those that have a healthy lifestyle and don’t complain from chronic pain there should have no problems. Follow the steps above to keep improving the quality of your sleep and invest into a good luxury mattress. Which, as you can see, does not have to have a premium price tag. Hopefully we managed to answer all the questions about the best mattress for stomach sleepers. And, now you will be able to make a confident, and well-informed decision.