Last Updated: October 13, 2021
After understanding how you sleep, you can make an informed decision on the right mattress or pillow you need to get your beauty nap. When we talk about various types of sleepers, we must consider more than just your sleeping position. Many different factors affect your sleep: your weight, gender, room temperature, and more. These should all be considered to determine your optimal slumber type to guarantee that you do not sleep on a bed of nails.
Since we understand the struggle and importance of a good night’s rest, we composed this thorough guide that considers the different types of sleepers and what mattresses and pillows work best for all of them.
Time to wake up!
What Kind of Sleeper Are You?
Everyone has a preferred way of cosying up under their sheets after a long day. However, different sleeping positions affect our health differently. Read the sections below to get a clearer idea of the benefits and downsides of sleeping on your side, stomach, and back.
People generally sleep on their sides since it’s a comfy and versatile sleeping style. Side sleepers also wake up well-rested more often than the other types since that resting position is the healthiest of all. If done correctly, sleeping on the side, especially the left side, comes with many health benefits, some of which include:
- Reduced lower back pain
- Reduced pain in the joints
- Better digestion and toxin drainage
- Eased acid reflux and heartburn
- Improved breathing
- Reduced snoring
Note: Pregnant women are encouraged by doctors to sleep on their left side to improve the blood circulation to the fetus and throughout their bodies.
Despite being hailed as the best sleeping position for men and women alike, side sleeping is also associated with some minor drawbacks, such as:
- Increased risk of shoulder and hip pain—usually, this happens if the mattress isn’t supportive and cushioning enough, or if you have an existing hip or shoulder injury.
- Less circulation in the arm that rests under the body while sleeping—one of your arms might experience decreased blood flow since it rests beneath your body.
Unlike sleeping on your side, sleeping on your stomach is not always a good idea as a result of the numerous health-related disadvantages, which outweigh than benefits; namely:
- More stress on the spine—sleeping on your stomach often strains your spine, especially if your mattress doesn’t provide the right amount of support.
- Increased back and neck pain—usually, front sleepers strain their back and neck as they keep their head twisted to one side for an extended time period.
- More pressure on certain organs—in addition to the increased spinal pressure, certain organs might also experience increased stress when sleeping on your stomach.
- Premature wrinkles—since your skin pushes against the pillow, cyclical swelling reinforces your facial frown lines, creases, and overall wrinkles, especially on your forehead.
- Sleeping hot—hot sleepers will potentially worsen the heat if they sleep on their stomach due to a lack of air circulating around their bodies.
Notwithstanding the above drawbacks for stomach sleepers, this type of sleepers might also enjoy some redeeming advantages, such as:
- Easier breathing
- Less snoring
- Relieves symptoms of sleep apnea
Despite the disapproval and warnings from health officials, an ardent group of stomach sleepers still believe that the comfort of this sleeping position justified the price they might eventually pay.
Also known as supine sleeping, resting on your back is considered the second-healthiest position, ensuring deep and restful sleep. This highly beneficial position maintains your head and spine in a neutral position, thus preventing pressure build-up that leads to aches and pains. Different types of sleepers enjoy resting in this position since it helps with:
- Reduced neck or back pain
- Fewer tension headaches
- Reduced acid reflux and heartburn
- Less pressure on the internal organs
- No sleep wrinkles and creases
But, snoozing on your back also comes with some downsides, in particular:
- Lower back pain
Keep in mind that back sleeping is not the correct posture for everyone. For instance, if this type of sleepers suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), they may notice their condition worsening due to the particular position of their head; sleeping with your face up can cause the lower jaw to collapse back into the throat and obstruct the airways.
Note: Sleeping on one’s back is not recommended for pregnant women either since it can reduce the blood flow to the fetus.
What Mattress Is Right for You?
When choosing a mattress, eager sleepers should consider several features important for the overall customer health and satisfaction. In particular, the mattress should be:
- Supportive enough to keep your spine properly aligned; otherwise, you might suffer from muscle and joint pain caused by improper spinal alignment.
- Contouring enough to respond proportionately to the body’s major pressure points.
- Comfortable in every sleeping position, especially the one you prefer.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
Side sleepers tend to put a greater degree of pressure on their main pressure points, which is why the best bed for side sleepers should be soft and cushioning but firm enough to provide full-body support. It should also respond proportionately to all key pressure areas to keep the spine in a more neutral position. If your mattress is unsupportive or uncomfortable, you will most likely experience shoulder or lower back pain.
Therefore, the ideal type of mattress for a side sleeper would be a memory foam mattress or a hybrid mattress. While both mattress types provide consistent support and contour closely to the body’s shape, understanding your priorities will help you choose one that best fits your needs.
Memory foam mattresses are best known for their contouring capabilities. They are highly responsive to the body’s shape and very cushioning on pressure points while supporting the spine’s natural curvature. For side sleepers, this means reduced back pain and stiffness. Additionally, these bed types evenly distribute your weight and offer superior motion isolation.
If you are looking for the best memory foam feel and experience from a side sleeper mattress, you should take a look at the Emma Original. This memory foam bed is best suited for side nappers, and it excels at pressure relief, providing comfort for all pressure points.
While not the best mattress for side sleepers, hybrid mattresses also cater to those sleeping on their side with their thicker comfort layer that cradles the sleeper’s hips and shoulders better. Moreover, these mattresses have an adaptive coil base that conforms to your body and minimises the strain on your main pressure points. On top of that, they tend to have better edge support, which increases their sleeping surface, thus offering better support for side sleepers resting near the edge of the bed.
If you need a responsive and supportive hybrid mattress, you should consider the Emma Hybrid. We believe that it is the best side sleeper mattress when it comes to hybrid solutions.
While memory foam mattresses tend to retain heat, hybrid mattresses do not. So, if you are a hot side sleeper, consider purchasing a hybrid mattress with better airflow to avoid waking up hot and sweaty in the middle of the night. The mattress firmness is also very important for side sleepers, who look to purchase a medium firmness mattress most of the time—around 5 to 6.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale. Hybrid mattresses are generally firmer than their foam counterparts. For this reason, you should check the mattress firmness before a potential purchase to ensure that the mattress is neither too soft nor too firm. That way, you’ll avoid long-term pain and numbness.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers With Shoulder Pain
When you sleep on your side, you put additional pressure on the shoulder on which you sleep. More specifically, because of the added weight, you are more likely to push the shoulder that you sleep on towards your neck, which will lead to misalignment of the spine. In such cases, you need a mattress that is cushioning or contouring enough to preserve your original spine curvature, thus avoiding neck and shoulder pain.
One of the most important things to consider if you’re suffering from shoulder pain is the firmness of the mattress. The best bed for side sleepers with shoulder pain has the right firmness to give them enough support and cushioning without having the mattress sink too deep or not sink enough. When deciding on the mattress firmness, you should also factor in your weight since heavier-weighted individuals will plunge deeper on softer mattresses.
Another aspect you should consider if you are dealing with shoulder pain is getting the right pillow. Resting your head on an adequately firm and plump cushion will keep your neck and head in a more natural position, thus preventing the shoulder that you sleep on from pushing up towards your neck.
A memory foam mattress is perhaps best equipped to deal with all of these issues. With the right firmness, the memory foam will sink and cushion you just enough so you feel relief from shoulder and lower back pain. The Emma Original proves to be the best mattress for side sleepers with shoulder pain—being soft, cushioning, and comforting in all the right places.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain
The best way to avoid lower back pain as a side sleeper is to maintain a symmetrical position of your spine. Compared to other spine sections, the curvy lumbar area has a more extensive range of motion, which makes it susceptible to posture and movement-related injuries even while sleeping. If your mattress isn’t supportive enough and doesn’t conform to your body’s unique shape, you can end up with spine misalignment, which ultimately results in back pain.
For this reason, the best mattress for side sleepers with lower back pain should be supportive, contouring, and responsive, so it provides the proper relief at the main pressure points and keeps the spine properly aligned. Besides, it should also offer a flat and even surface that isn’t prone to sagging and deep indentations.
The best mattress for lower back pain on the UK market is the Simba Hybrid. This medium-firm mattress will help you combat lower back pain by featuring just enough sinkage without misaligning the spine.
Best Mattress for Front Sleepers
When you sleep on your stomach, you strain your spine and neck more, and sleeping on the wrong mattress can exaggerate that effect. Over an extended time period, this will result in aches and pains in your neck, shoulders, and back. Stomach sleepers will appreciate a firmer and more supportive bed, especially around the midsection. That way, your belly won’t sink too deep into the mattress and misalign your spine.
When we talk about the best mattress for stomach sleepers, we have to mention the Dormeo Memory Classic—this is a firmer mattress, around 7.5 on the firmness scale, which provides more than enough support for stomach snoozers.
Best Mattress for Back Sleepers
If you spend your night sleeping on your back, you will need a stable surface beneath you. A supportive and responsive mattress allows back sleepers to rest without sinking too much, especially around the hips, which may trigger lower back pain. Additionally, the best type of mattress for back sleepers should alleviate pressure and properly cushion your shoulders, hips, and lower back.
To avoid plunging deep into the bed, back sleepers need a mattress on the firmer side of the scale, around 6.5 to 7 out of 10, which prevents the heavier parts of the body from sinking and limiting the spine’s excess flexion. Keep in mind that the heavier you are, the firmer the mattress should be.
If you spend the night sleeping on your back, you should consider trying the Simba Hybrid Pro—this is a mattress that features zoned support for ideal spinal alignment.
Best Mattress for Back Pain
When shopping for a mattress to soothe your back pain, ensure they include the following important features:
- Support—The best mattresses for back pain should be ultra-supportive and comfortable while keeping your spine in a neutral position.
- Firmness—Sleepers suffering from back pain should opt for a medium to medium-firm mattress. While side sleepers with back pain should choose medium firmness mattresses, back and stomach sleepers should go for something a bit firmer.
- Pressure relief—To decrease the chance of getting back pain while sleeping, your mattress should alleviate tension at all pressure points along the body. Extended pressure on specific parts of your back or shoulders can cause misalignment of the spine.
While there are many types of mattresses for back pain on the market, we recommend the Nectar memory foam mattress. This medium-firm bed features a gel-infused memory foam comfort layer that offers a nice balance between support and pressure relief.
Best Mattress for Lower Back Pain
Like we said before, the lower back has a wider range of motion, so it is more sustainable to injuries related to movements and posture even while sleeping. For instance, the lower back can twist and bend unnaturally if a mattress doesn’t provide sufficient support.
If you belong to the type of sleepers who suffer from lower back pain should look for a medium to medium-firm mattress that correctly supports the whole body and doesn’t feel like you are sinking into it—a supportive bed will keep your spine and joints in the proper position.
People who sleep on their stomachs can handle lower back pain with a firmer mattress since a supportive mattress easily carries the weight around a person’s midsection. A firmer mattress will help alleviate the pressure around the hips, resulting in decreased lower back pain.
If you are looking for the best mattress for lower back pain in the UK, the Eve Premium Hybrid mattress could be the answer. This medium-firm mattress will reduce pressure and keep your spine aligned.
Best Mattress for Hip Pain
Since managing hip pain is more important to side sleepers, they need to invest in a top-notch body-conforming mattress. Mattresses consisting of memory foam layers react to your body heat and weight and instantly adjust to your curves. When sleeping on your side, you can also place a pillow between your knees to better align your hips.
If you are looking for the best mattress for hip pain in the UK, look no further than the Tempur Hybrid—it might be the ideal mattress for you.
Light vs Heavy Sleeper
Best Mattress for Light Sleepers
If you tend to wake up easily, even at the slightest noise or disturbance, you are definitely a light sleeper. Light sleepers are more sensitive to external stimuli—they are easily disturbed by noise, light and smell. This is why light sleepers tend to be frequently frustrated by insufficient sleep.
Even if you have addressed the above issues, you can still improve your sleeping experience by getting a mattress with motion isolation, such as a memory foam bed. These mattresses completely absorb and isolate body motion, thus making them quieter during the night. Moreover, they are the sleeper’s choice of a mattress for those who share a bed with a partner or maybe a pet. If you are a light sleeper, you should absolutely go for the Tempur Original—it offers a quiet and comfortable rest even for the most demanding light sleepers.
Another alternative for light sleepers is hybrid mattresses. Usually, the core of these mattresses is composed of individually wrapped pocket springs that move independently and conform to the shape of your body and movements. In addition, these beds have different memory foam layers on top of the springs for even better motion absorption. If you decide to go for a hybrid mattress, you should try the Tempur Hybrid—constructed from the trademark Tempur memory foam; this bed doesn’t transfer motion and doesn’t make noises when you move.
Best Mattress for Heavy Sleepers
While heavy sleepers are not affected by environmental disturbances and generally sleep well every night, waking up might be an issue for them now and then. Since heavy sleepers aren’t easily disturbed by movements, they don’t require varied sleep options in a mattress. Additionally, they don’t need the motion absorption of the hybrid and memory foam mattresses because their sleep is uninterrupted anyway.
Unless heavy sleepers have to deal with some kind of pain triggered by their sleeping position, or an unsupportive mattress, they can easily sleep on any type of bed. But in the end, choosing the right mattress depends on personal preferences and needs. The only situation that may require them to consider their mattress needs carefully is if they share a bed with a light sleeper, whose needs should be taken into account as well.
Cool vs Hot Sleeping
Best Mattress for Cool Sleeping
While more people tend to sleep hot, many among us literally get cold feet. Choosing the right mattress for people who are constantly cold or live in a cold environment is essential for a warm and cosy slumber. Not many brands on the market offer mattresses for cold sleepers. However, certain mattresses are less breathable than others.
If you are a cold sleeper, consider buying a mattress made from materials that retain heat, such as memory foam, polyester and other synthetics. You can quickly get warm when sleeping on memory foam since this material completely hugs your body with its exceptional contouring capabilities. According to customer reviews, the Eve memory foam mattress is prone to retaining heat since it’s not a temperature control mattress.
Cold sleepers can also look into a hybrid mattress with a thick comfort layer and additional foam layers. However, these sleepers should forget about buying traditional innerspring mattresses since they are exceptionally breathable and do not retain body heat well. Mattresses that incorporate gel foam, graphite, copper or other cooling features are not preferable, either.
Best Mattress for Hot Sleeping
Sleeping hot can be very frustrating, especially if you wake up in sweats in the middle of the night. This problem can even be exacerbated by sleeping on mattresses that retain heat and aren’t breathable enough.
When looking for the best cooling mattress, keep in mind that the materials used aren’t the only factor regulating its temperature. An equally important consideration is how those materials are combined and designed. Additionally, a breathable cover with cooling features can make a huge difference in temperature regulation throughout the night.
The best mattress for hot sleepers would be a traditional coil-spring bed. These mattresses are naturally cooling since the bigger part of their construction consists of the coil springs that promote exceptional airflow. Furthermore, these beds come with thinner layers of memory foam or other layers on top for more comfortable sleeping.
However, these mattresses also tend to be on the firmer side, and if you don’t prefer them for one reason or another, don’t worry; we have the solution. Perhaps the best type of temperature control mattress for hot sleepers is a hybrid mattress. Hybrids bring together the best features of innerspring and memory foam beds: a core layer with individually wrapped springs for better air circulation and open-cell memory foam comfort layers. This is why we believe that the best mattress for night sweats on the UK market is the iGel Advance 3000 Plush Top. Featuring 7.5 cm of iGel™ Advance beaded Graphene technology gel, this hybrid mattress is designed to keep you both cool and comfy even on the hottest nights.
On a different note, although memory foam beds are not recommended for hot sleepers, the Dormeo S Plus is a cool memory foam mattress that incorporates individually placed Octaspring® springs, up to eight times more breathable than those of hot sleepers standard foam.
Male vs Female Sleeping Positions
The best sleeping position for you is the one that feels most comfortable and leaves you well-rested and rejuvenated. Nevertheless, sleeping on the side remains the best and most popular resting position for both genders. However, considering that men and women have different body shapes, it is only normal to assume that they also have different requirements from their mattresses. For instance, the support features in a bed made for a shorter woman probably wouldn’t be suitable for a taller man.
Best Mattress for Men
While we cannot conclusively state the best sleeping position for men, we can definitely help you choose the best mattress for your exact needs.
Generally, men have a higher muscle to body weight ratio, which is why they need a supportive mattress that will properly distribute their weight. Men also have broader shoulders, so if a man prefers to sleep on his side, he will need a highly responsive and contouring mattress to cushion those shoulders. Relyon is such a thick, comfortable, and durable mattress that will easily fit most men.
Also, since men generally have a bigger constitution, they need a bigger sleeping surface. That’s why single men should sleep on at least queen size beds and not risk sleep disruptions from extremities dangling from the side of the mattress.
Best Mattress for Women
Anatomically curvier than men, women deal with distinctive physiological processes and body changes that make their sleep more difficult, such as pregnancy and menopause. Therefore, they might require different sleep options in a mattress.
For instance, women have an emphasised curvature of the lower back, so those who sleep on their back need a mattress that will support the spine while allowing the hip area to sink into the mattress. Additionally, women who sleep on their side need the proper support since the space between their hip and rib cage is bigger than that of a man.
Finally, women in menopause and those who are hot sleepers will benefit from temperature-regulating mattresses—a mattress like the Eve Premium Hybrid will easily cover all of these needs of female sleepers.
Best Mattresses for Heavy vs Lightweight People
You must consider your weight (and your partner’s) crucial when choosing a mattress. Always check the load limit that the manufacturer recommends, so you won’t end up sleeping on a mattress that can’t support your weight properly.
Weight is also important when choosing the firmness of the mattress. Generally, heavier sleepers easily sink into the bed, so a mattress with medium firmness might feel soft to them. In contrast, medium-firm mattresses might feel firm to lightweight sleepers.
Best Mattress for Heavy People
Since heavier sleepers put extra weight on the mattress, they need a supportive bed that will be comfortable and durable. Therefore, the best types of beds for a heavy person in the UK are innerspring or hybrid mattress beds.
With innerspring models, heavy people can be confident they are using some of the most load-bearing and durable mattresses out there. Their metal coils provide more than enough resistance and support, and they are highly responsive—a great feature for heavier people since a responsive mattress can make turning while sleeping and getting out of bed much easier. These mattresses also tend to be firmer than other types, making them ideal for heavier back and stomach sleepers.
A well-made hybrid bed can also turn out to be the best mattress for an overweight couple in the UK. These hybrid mattresses have a core made of individually wrapped micro-springs that move independently and conform to your body’s unique shape. On top of the pocketed coils, you’ll usually find different layers of memory foam for a more comfortable sleeping experience. At the same time, the base is a thick layer of high-density foam for better support and durability. Hybrid mattresses are more cushioning than innerspring models and are a better option for heavier side sleepers.
If you are a heavier sleeper, we recommend checking out the Relyon mattress. Measuring a depth of 27 cm with great edge support, this pocket-spring memory foam mattress is undoubtedly the best mattress for a heavy person in the UK.
Best Mattress for Lightweight People
Lightweight sleepers experience different challenges while choosing their ideal mattress. As we said before, the lower your weight, the firmer the mattress will feel. Therefore, memory foam mattresses are the most comfortable bed type for lightweight people. Usually, they fall on the softer side of the firmness scale. Because of the memory foam layers, these mattresses will allow you to sink enough into the bed to properly alleviate pressure from all main pressure points while supporting the natural alignment of your spine. Additionally, these mattresses are great at isolating motion. If you want to sleep on a soft and plush mattress, the Tempur Cloud might be the best fit for you.
The other sleeper’s choice mattress for lightweight sleepers is the hybrid bed. Despite its increased firmness, the hybrid mattress is very responsive—it contours to the shape of your body, promoting proper spinal alignment and pressure relief. Lightweight sleepers should have no trouble sleeping on a hybrid bed, as long as they choose one that is soft enough.
Best Mattress for an Overweight Couple
Overweight couples shopping for a new mattress should consider the overall weight of both partners to ensure it falls below the weight limit of the mattress in question. Depending on the couple’s weight, they might need a speciality mattress designed to carry a load of over 220 kg—known as a bariatric mattress.
The main features that you have to consider when choosing the best mattress for an overweight couple in the UK are:
- Support and durability—a supportive mattress will decrease the chance of accelerated wear and tear from the added weight and pressure.
- Size—since overweight couples need more space for a better sleeping experience, they should go for king-sized or super king-sized beds.
- Thickness—anything over the 25 cm threshold would be ideal for overweight couples.
- Firmness—we already know that firmer mattresses prevent overweight people from sinking into their beds. Couples with a significant difference in weight, however, can opt for mattresses that offer firmness adjustment on each side, as well as head elevation and temperature customisation.
- Edge support—a more supportive edge allows each partner to sleep closer to the side and use the full sleeping surface of the mattress.
- Responsiveness—the more responsive the mattress, the easier it is to move and get off the bed.
- Temperature regulation—beds with special cooling properties that promote proper air circulation are essential for overweight couples since two bodies generate more body heat than one.
- Motion isolation—a mattress with good motion isolation will eliminate disruptive movements from both partners during the night.
If you and your partner are both a bit on the heavier side, we recommend checking out the Simba Hybrid Pro. Measuring a depth of 28 cm and outstanding edge support, this model continuously proves to be the best mattress for an overweight couple on the UK market. The motion transfer is kept to a minimum, while the memory foam layers infused with graphite offer excellent temperature regulation.
Best Pillows for Different Types of Sleepers
The most important role a pillow has is promoting a healthy posture. By elevating your head just enough, it should keep your neck and spine in line. Keep on reading to find out which types of pillows are best for your sleeping position.
Best Pillow for Side Sleepers
According to experts, the best pillow for a side sleeper is the one that will fill the space between your head and the shoulder that you sleep on to provide enough support for your neck. Pillows with a loft profile of at least 10 cm offer enough cushioning to maintain a healthy posture through the night. In addition, medium-firm pillows prove to be best suited for people who sleep on their side. Firmer pillows don’t easily lose their shape over time as well.
We think that the Tempur Original Pillow is the answer to the question: “What is the best pillow for side sleepers?”. This cushion’s advantage is that it comes in three different sizes, so you can always pick one that best fits your shoulders width. The Tempur Original is a memory foam pillow ergonomically designed to comfort your neck and head.
Note: A pillow placed between the knees will promote proper spinal alignment and reduce the extra pressure in the hips, knees, or lower back.
Best Pillow for Front Sleepers
If you are a stomach sleeper and want to avoid neck overextension, you should stay away from thick pillows. Thick pillows will prop your head up and cause a spine misalignment, which can ultimately lead to potential spine injuries. Moreover, stomach sleepers should avoid firm pillows made from materials that aren’t breathable.
When it comes to pillows for front sleepers, we recommend the Mallow Pillow. This stomach sleeper pillow is stuffed with shredded memory foam, and it can be adjusted to your liking—it is soft, hypoallergenic, and odourless, and it comes with a natural bamboo cover.
Note: A pillow placed under your hips will help you avoid excessive lumbar extension and save you from lower back pain.
Best Pillow for Back Sleepers
Many back sleepers experience neck pain after sleeping on the wrong type of pillow. Often, your neck gets out of alignment because your pillow lacks support for your shoulders and head. Therefore, if you are a back sleeper, you should use a firmer pillow with a higher loft. Most back sleepers use medium-firm pillows since they provide good head support and proper spine alignment.
The best pillow for back sleepers in our experience is the Simba Hybrid Pillow—it has a temperature regulating material that prevents sweating and mesh on the sides to keep the pillow breathable. This pillow is very adjustable due to the hundreds of “nanocubes” it contains, which can be individually adjusted for the perfect pillow height and firmness.
Note: If you belong to this type of sleepers, you should place a pillow under the knees to keep the pelvis better aligned and reduce stress on your spine, especially in the lumbar area.
Best Pillow for Neck Pain
Neck pain is a real pain in the neck, especially if it starts happening often. If you wake up with neck soreness, your pillow is the culprit most of the time. In such cases, you should get a pillow that will hold your neck and head in a neutral position. The right pillow should free your neck from all unwanted pressure. Too high or too low cushions will lead to unnecessary neck strain because of the lack of support.
The Eve Memory Foam pillow is the best pillow for side and back sleepers in our opinion—it’s supportive enough to keep your head and spine in alignment, and it’s designed to relieve neck tension.
Before You Take a Nap
As you can see, people sleep in various sleeping positions, which come with different cons and pros. The mattress and pillows used by different types of sleepers vary depending on their specific circumstances and needs, be they for comfort or medical reasons. Since we spend a third of our lives sleeping, common sense tells us to invest in a quality bed that will ensure a good night’s sleep and leave us well-rested and energetic in the morning. Hopefully, this comprehensive guide has helped you understand peoples’ sleeping habits and determine which mattress and pillow are perfect in specific situations.