Types Of Sleepers: What Type Are You?

What kind of sleeper are you? Your sleep style can influence which mattress is best for you. With all the options of mattress available, it's easier to find a mattress that fits you best.

If you’re in the market for a new mattress, the position you sleep in is as important as what you sleep on — beds should feel like they were tailor-made for you.

Mattresses feel different based on sleep posture, so when you’re shopping, it’s essential to consider whether you spend most of the night on your side, stomach or back.

What type of sleeper are you, and which features make the best mattress for your sleep posture? Let’s find out.

Side Sleepers

What It Looks Like

Side sleepers lay in bed on either the left or right side —the hip and shoulder provide support. There are several variations of this posture with arms and legs in different positions, but it’s among the most preferred ways to sleep, especially among women.

What It Means to Be a Side Sleeper

Side sleepers snore less than people who sleep on their backs, but they often complain of joint pain. No matter how the arms and legs are positioned, the hip and shoulders bear the brunt of supporting the body.

If a mattress is too firm, it creates painful pressure points over the joints that can lead to tossing and turning. But if it’s too soft, it allows the spine to sag, resulting in morning back or neck ache.

What to Look for When Mattress Shopping

Side sleepers need two things from a mattress: support and comfort.

Memory foam mattresses with a dense base layer and a soft to medium plush top are ideal. They keep the spine ergonomically aligned while conforming to joints and relieving pressure. The entire body feels better supported in a cradle of gentle snugness.

Sleepers of above-average weight should lean toward a medium foam bed or a hybrid innerspring with supportive coils and a thick foam top. Hybrids with springs extending to the perimeter of the mattress offer edge support that enhances proprioception — the sense of where your body is in space. It’s a plus for side sleepers prone to rolling out of bed.

Stomach Sleepers

What It Looks Like

Stomach sleepers lay on their chest and abdomen with their arms to the side or above their head. Some thread one or both arms between the mattress and their pillow.

What It Means to Be a Stomach Sleeper

Sleeping on your stomach wreaks havoc on your body, yet despite warnings, nearly ten percent of us can’t break the habit.

Stomach sleeping eliminates most snoring, so it’s a perk for partners. But it also elevates the head, creating a sharper than average angle between your neck and the mattress.

Even with a thin or no pillow, it misaligns the spine and creates unnecessary strain on the joints and muscles in the neck, shoulders and upper back. In time, it can contribute to herniated disks between the vertebrae, leading to pinched nerves and persistent pain.

And for all the stomach sleepers out there, we have reviewed the best mattresses for stomach sleepers on our blog, just for people like you!

What to Look for When Mattress Shopping

A stomach sleeper needs the support of a firm mattress. Because most of the body’s weight is in the torso, a supportive bed helps the spine retain its natural curve and decreases physical stress on the muscles.

That doesn’t mean, however, that stomach sleepers are limited to conventional innerspring mattresses. Firm memory foam and hybrid styles feel softer, but because they distribute weight better than coils alone, they can be just as supportive while delivering a higher level of comfort.

Back Sleepers

What It Looks Like

A back sleeper lies in the supine position – flat on their back, facing up with their arms at their side.

What It Means to Be a Back Sleeper

Fewer than one in 10 people sleep on their backs, and according to experts, that’s too bad because it has distinct advantages. It soothes muscle tension by keeping the neck and spine perfectly aligned. And because it works with gravity, beauty pros say it can prevent neck and facial wrinkles.

The only exception is if you snore, sleeping on your back makes it worse by allowing the soft tissue in the back of your throat to relax and obstruct your airway. A lofty pillow can help, but it’s rarely a singular solution.

What to Look for When Mattress Shopping

The best mattresses for back sleepers are medium to medium-firm. They should feature enough support to keep the body in an anatomically neutral position yet soft enough to relieve pressure on the shoulder blades, coccyx and heels.

A memory foam or hybrid mattress with a high-density base and a minimum two-inch comfort layer is an ideal choice. Weighty sleepers should consider the extra support of a latex mattress — it’s firmer and less likely to sag over time.

Combo Sleepers

What It Looks Like

Combination sleepers are rebels — they sleep in any position that makes them comfortable and usually more than one in a night. If you’re a combo sleeper, you’re not alone. It’s the most popular sleep posture, and it’s helpful for people who wake up stiff if they remain in one position for too long.

What It Means to Be a Combo Sleeper

Combination sleepers change postures often. But they don’t want to toss and turn unnecessarily, so choosing a universally comfortable mattress is critical. They need the right balance of support and pressure relief.

What to Look for When Mattress Shopping

The best mattresses for combination sleepers avoid extremes. A medium memory foam or latex mattress should be comfortable enough to nix painful pressure points while being supportive enough to prevent an aching back.

Traditional innerspring models are unlikely to be comfortable for combo sleepers, but a well-balanced hybrid is a sound choice. Looking for a hybrid mattress at a great price? We reviewed the best hybrid mattresses under $500 on our blog.

Final Thoughts

Professionals agree — sleep posture should play a leading role in choosing the best mattress. With hundreds of quality models for every budget and preference, the good new is — you can enjoy a comfortable bed and a great night’s rest no matter how you land when your head hits the pillow.

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