August 2020

Back Sleeper Mattress Guide & Advice

Back sleeping is often argued as the ultimate sleeping position to help even out pressure during the night. If you're a back sleeper you may choose to starfish, lie like a plank or sleep somewhere in between! There are a few considerations you need to be aware of when sleeping on your back. So if you're a back sleeper or thinking of changing your sleeping position we explain all there is to know about sleeping on your back.

Did you know that sleeping on your back is the second most popular sleeping position after side sleeping? If you’re a back sleeper looking for some guidance when buying a new mattress then this article will help explain exactly what you need to know when buying a mattress.

White mattress with feet showing

Sleeping on your back mattress guide

Benefits of sleeping on your Back

Sleeping on your back has long been recommended as the ideal sleeping position as your body weight is equally distributed along the surface area of your mattress. It’s the second most popular sleeping position after side sleepers. Sleeping on your back helps reduce pressure in any one spot which in turn to can lead to a more consistent nights sleep as you need to turn less.

Back sleepers benefit from:

  • Reduced hip/shoulder pain during the night
  • Less joint pain in the lower back
  • Fewer night time movements
  • Reduces sinus build-ups/congestion

Back sleeper mattress advice

For those who sleep on their back, spine alignment is crucial to getting a great night sleep. It’s vital that as a back sleeper you don’t disrupt your natural sleeping position which is where the right mattress support is crucial.

Sleeping on your back can also help with sinus related issues especially if you have a cold.  Using the right pillow to help keep your head supported is important especially to avoid snoring or your airways being put under pressure from awkward neck angles.

Drawbacks from sleeping on your back

The biggest issue with sleeping on your back is breathing difficulties and snoring during the night. This is mainly when the sleepers airways become partially obstructed and then snoring starts along with potential sleep apnoea. Many people write to us about snoring from sleeping on their back and disturbed sleep. Sometimes this can be put down to a poor mattress choice. One that isn’t supportive enough and allows the sleeper to be held in an awkward sleeping position where the neck gets too extended or alternatively compressed resulting in snoring.

Back sleepers may suffer from:

  • Snoring
  • Breathing difficulties if the head & necks not supported enough
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Sore legs from overextension

If you wake with sore legs or thighs when sleeping on your back there is a quick fix. Try placing a pillow underneath your knees at night which should help take off any pressure around your knees. It also stops your legs overextending and can relax the calves and thigh muscles considerably.

Gatsby bed frame

As a back sleeper you will need more support than a side sleeper
As a back sleeper you will need more support than a side sleeper
Back sleepers suit a medium to firm comfort layer in their mattresses
Back sleepers suit a medium to firm comfort layer in their mattresses

Does sleeping on your back cause back pain?

Sleeping on your back shouldn’t cause you back pain if you have the correct mattress. The right mattress should be tailored to your exact weight and height then layered with upholstery to create the right comfort for your individual preferences. Most back sleepers choose a medium-firm feel in the mattress comfort layer to help give even and consistent support during the night. If you’re struggling with back pain when sleeping you should always seek medical advice and well as undertake a health check of your current mattress.

The biggest issue people have as back sleepers is with weight gain during their mattresses lifespan. If you put on weight and suddenly find yourself waking during the night with pain it may be that the mattress pocket spring support isn’t suitable for you any more. Mattress spring tensions are based on weight ranges, so if you’ve gained more than a few pounds it could be that your own suitable spring tension is now not supportive enough.

BodyweightSpring tension
Upto 16 Stone / 50-101kgMedium (1.4mm)
16 Stone / 101kg UpwardsFirm (1.6mm)
Available in Bespoke Products (Please Call)Soft (1.2mm)

The best type of mattress for a back sleeper

The best type of mattress for a back sleeper is one that has the right mattress support for your body weight and then a medium to firm comfort layer. This is so the mattress holds you enough in a comfortable stable position without sinking in too much.  If you choose a mattress that’s too soft then it can cause you to sink too much which then causes misalignment of your spine during the night. You need firmer comfort layer compared to a side or front sleepers as your evenly spreading your weight evenly across the mattress. If not this is where potential pain during the night can come from when your spine gets held out of alignment.

Natural fibre mattresses, like Horsehair, Mohair or Coir are ideal for back sleepers as they offer far better supportive comfort compared to memory foam or synthetic mattress fibres. Natural fibre mattresses are also far cooler to sleep on and regulate night time-temperature much more effectively.

We recommend three mattresses that are ideal for back sleepers at different price points depending on your mattress budget.

Origins Pocket Reflex Mattress

The Origins Pocket Reflex mattress is ideal for a back sleeper given the firmer feel upholstery. It is available in a medium 1.4 pocket spring gauge which suits sleepers up to 17 stone. It is a two-sided mattress that contains 1020 GSM of firmer feel fibres on a 1000 pocket spring support unit. Click to find out more about this back sleeper mattress.

Origins Pocket Reflex 1000 on a Cream Chenille base
The Origins Reflex Mattress offers firmer upholstery ideal for the back sleeper

Artisan 1500 Mattress

The Artisan 1500 mattress is ideal for a back sleeper given the firmer feel of the upholstery which is a mix of 53% natural fibres. It is also available in 3 different spring gauges depending on your body weight. It is a two-sided mattress that contains a  whopping 43000 GSM of firmer feel fibres on a 1500 pocket spring support unit. Click to find out more about this luxury back sleeper mattress.

A luxury Artisan 1500 mattress in a room
The Artisan 1500 mattress is the perfect blend of quality and value for a back sleeper. Featuring 53% natural fibres. Click to view.

Artisan Bespoke Mattress

If you’re looking for the very finest mattress for a back sleeper then look no further. Our Artisan Bespoke mattress features 100% natural fibre comfort layers and uses a vanadium coated calico encased pocket spring system. Matched perfectly to your weight with one of the 3 spring tensions available. This is a 2-sided mattress for a firmer feel ideal for back sleepers. Click to find out more about this natural fibre back sleeper mattress.

Artisan Bespoke 004 luxury mattress on base
Choose the very finest hand made natural fibre mattress if you’re a back sleeper. Click to view the Artisan Bespoke mattress.
How much to spend on a double mattress?What can I expect for my money?
Under £500Will not get you much at best a 13.5 gauge open coil/cage sprung with a thin polyester layer or a solid foam mattress.
£500Entry level spunbond springs with some form of synthetic upholstery. Usually one sided mattresses.
£750The beginnings of a basic pocket springs unit with 800 – 1000 count. No substantial amount of filling other than foams and synthetic materials. Two sided models.
£1000Should get you away from most low ranges and into the mid-range pocket spring models.
£1250Should get you a decent pocket sprung mattress with some Natural Fibre content.
£1500Should get you many manufacturers mid-range models with Natural Fibres
£1500-£2000Should get you a Hand Made primarily Natural Fibre Quality Mattress
£2000+You should expect 100% Natural Fibres and Traditional Hand Made Construction Method.
£5000+A Bespoke Hand Made Sleep System, High-end Spring Units & Featuring the Worlds Most Luxurious Natural Fibres.

Best mattress upholstery for a back sleeper

If you’re a back sleeper then understanding which mattress fibres and upholstery layers are best to support you is essential. As a guide below is a table that shows the more support fibres which will allow a back sleeper to sleep soundly at night.

Upholstery LayerFibre TypeHow it will feel?Price Point
Recycled Fibre / Eco FibreSyntheticMediumCheap
Memory FoamSyntheticMedium/FirmMid Price
Igel / Hybrid FoamSyntheticMedium/FirmMid Price
LinenSynthetic/Natural BlendMediumMid Price
Latex (100% Natural)NaturalMedium/FirmHigh-End
Coarse CashmereNaturalFirmHigh-End
Horsetail NaturalFirmExpensive / Exclusive

Other Sleeping Positions Explained

You may also be interested in reading about the other two popular sleeping positions and mattress choices:


As a back sleeper, you’re going to need a little extra support compared to fellow side sleepers. However, by understanding the mattress choices you can ensure you get the very best nights sleep. Choosing the correct mattress spring tension is essential and then its a case of picking the fibres that will suit your sleeping position the best.

If you’re still a bit unsure why not get in touch with our small expert mattress team to assist? We can help compare any mattress models you may be looking at and provide additional reassurance and guidance.

You can call us on 0161 437 4419 or drop us a line in the mattress contact form below.

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