What kind of sleeper are you?

There are 3 common sleeping positions: side, back and stomach. People tend to choose their nightly sleeping position for a variety of reasons. Some of them are psychological, others are more medical/physical in nature. There are pros and cons to all three. For example, if you suffer from back pain, you might want to shy away from sleeping on your stomach. It will flatten the natural curve of your spine and over time can lead to lower back pain.

This guide is going to be geared towards those who sleep on their back. We will look at the common reasons why people sleep on their back, pros and cons as well as the best mattresses and pillows for back sleepers.

Back Sleepers: Why Do They Do It?

People who sleep on their back usually do it because it feels comfortable. Same goes for those who sleep on their sides and stomachs. There are other reasons why people sleep on their back, such as pain management. If you have lower back pain, sleeping on your back can help mitigate the pain due to the mattress supporting your spine while you sleep.

In an ideal world, everyone would sleep on their back, without a pillow. The back and neck are straight without any contortions. The neck rests in a neutral position in this mannerism. However, sleeping without a pillow is uncomfortable so it’s not feasible to most people.

There are a few drawbacks to sleeping on your back, most notably for those who snore. People who suffer from sleep apnea and snoring tend to do better when sleeping on their sides. This way the airways are naturally open and you will have a much easier time breathing (and sleeping).

Sleeping with too many pillows can put your neck at a weird angle which can cause neck and back pains the next morning. For those of you concerned with facial wrinkles, it has even been suggested that sleeping on your back can prevent wrinkles due to your face not being pressed up against a pillow for 8 hours a night.

back sleeper woman

Best Mattresses for Back Pain/Sleeping on Your Back

Have you ever walked into a mattress store with the intention of buying a new mattress? One of the first things that you’ll probably wind up doing is laying flat on different brands of mattresses. Some of them will be completely uncomfortable, and others will feel just right. Other ones you won’t be quite sure of.

Sure, they feel soft and good now…but what about when you take them home and have to sleep on them for many years to come?

Choosing a mattress should not be taken lightly. If you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, it could negatively affect your day. Considering how expensive mattresses are, and considering how long people tend to keep their mattresses, a bad mattress choice could wind up negatively affecting you and your daily routine for many years to come.

So which mattress is best for back sleepers or those with back pain?

Generally speaking, medium-firm mattresses will give the best night’s rest to back sleepers. However, each manufacturers mattress is a little bit different from the rest. So the next thing you want to look at is the amount of “give” each mattress has.

A good mattress for back sleepers should allow you to sink slightly into the mattress itself, but at the same time you will feel that your spine is supported. Your lower back and knee areas should be firmly supported as well. Be wary of mattresses with coil springs, as some back sleepers have reported that the springs sometimes jut out into their lower back, causing a painful sensation.

What are the Best Pillows for Back Pain/Back Sleepers?

The second most important decision you will make (right behind what mattress to buy) is which pillow to buy if you suffer from back pain or are a back sleeper.

Firm pillows with high lofts are generally recommended for back sleepers and people with neck/back pain. A firm pillow prevents your neck from going too far back and out of alignment with the rest of your body. The pillow should also take the shape of your neck. There are many pillows out there that can do this effectively, such as ones made out of memory foam or gel.

It is also suggested that back sleepers look for a contoured pillow. These types of pillow are almost exclusively made out of a gel or memory foam type material. You cannot get a contoured pillow from a standard goose down pillow.

Bringing it All Together

So what is the final verdict for those who sleep on their backs?

Sleeping on your back is great for people with pain and pain management issues. However, for those with sleep apnea and snoring issues, it’s better if you sleep on your side.

While there are many choices for mattresses on the market, it is generally recommended that you choose a mattress that has a medium-firm feel to it. The overall frame of the mattress should contour to the shape of your body when you lie on it, but at the same time support your spine, lower back and knee areas.

Pillow choice is just as important as mattress choice, if not moreso. As a back sleeper, if you don’t choose the right pillow, you could wake up with excruciating neck and back pain. It is generally recommended that people who suffer from back pain and who like to sleep on their back choose a pillow that is firm, and will support your head/neck without allowing to go too far back out of alignment.