Every person, even the elderly, has a preferred sleeping position they naturally take when they sleep. That being said, it’s important to note that few people sleep on their bellies comfortably. In fact, it’s estimated that less than 10%. Furthermore, sleeping experts advise against sleeping on your stomach as it has the potential to cause back pain and neck sores and other neck problems.
However, there are benefits to sleeping on your stomach. For instance, seniors who suffer from sleep apnea and excessive and pronounced snoring can manage these conditions by sleeping on their bellies.
If you love sleeping on your stomach or you’re sleeping on your stomach to negate snoring, you should learn more about this sleeping position and the best mattress to purchase to cater to your specific sleeping needs. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the best mattress for seniors who sleep bellies down.
Quick Picks: Best Mattresses for Seniors Who Sleep on Their Stomachs
If you just want to see which mattresses are recommended for older adults who are stomach sleepers, here are my top 3. Keep reading to learn more about how sleeping on your stomach affects your sleep and your health. Plus, I have included a guide to choosing a mattress for yourself if none of these were quite what you were looking for.
How Does Sleeping On Your Stomach Affect A Senior’s Sleep?
Stomach sleeping can impact a senior’s sleep either positively or negatively. Most sleep experts acknowledge that one of the main benefits of sleeping on your stomach is reduced snoring and other sleep apnea symptoms. It helps the airways stay open, thereby alleviating snoring and sleep apnea. Additionally, sleeping on your stomach reduces acid reflux and heartburns that some seniors experience.
However, most sleep experts advise seniors to refrain from sleeping on their stomachs due to this sleeping posture’s potential adverse side effects. Sleeping on your stomach is incredibly taxing on your neck and back and causes a myriad of negative side effects.
For starters, sleeping on your stomach strains your back and spine. Keep in mind that the vast majority of our weight is in the midsection of our body. Sleeping on your stomach forces the spine to flatten out of its natural curvature and neutral position.
Additionally, sleeping on your stomach strains your neck for an extended period, which can cause soreness. The raising of your head associated with stomach sleeping can compress the spine and pinch nerves, causing a tingling sensation on just about anywhere on your body. Stomach sleeping could potentially even cause a herniated disk.
Learn more about the best sleeping position for seniors here.
What Types of Mattresses are Best for Older Stomach Sleepers?
Ultimately, the type of mattress that’s best for you will depend on the pain and discomfort you experience and your sleeping preferences. Plus, it would help if you also considered the specific mattress models and their qualities even within the same mattress type category. For instance, compare different models of memory foam mattresses or hybrid mattresses.
Hybrid mattresses are some of the most popular mattress types for stomach sleepers. The use of various materials in their construction (memory foam, coils, latex, cotton, etc.) gives these mattresses a nearly perfect balance of sturdiness and conformity. As such, the mattress provides seniors with exceptional support, and the comfort layer usually offers excellent pressure relief.
Innerspring mattresses are known for having a layer of coil springs in the mattress. The spring, whether “Bonnell” coils, pocketed coils, continuous-wire coils, or offset coils provide support. These mattresses are usually topped by a comfort layer that provides conformity and contouring.
As a stomach sleeper looking to purchase an innerspring mattress, only consider quality mattresses with sturdy springs. That way, you can avoid mattress sagging in the midsection which would increase pressure on your spine and neck.
Latex mattresses can either be synthetic, natural or a blend of natural and synthetics. Additionally, latex mattresses have varying densities and firmness. Stomach sleepers should choose medium to firm latex mattresses to support your spine better and prevent the dreaded mattress sinkage.
Airbeds are mattresses that have air chambers that fill with air to adjust the firmness of the mattress. The air chambers form the support core and can be adjusted to meet your firmness needs as a stomach sleeper. While you can pump the air chambers to provide sturdy support, their performance is not comparable to other solid mattresses like hybrid mattresses.
Foam mattresses are renowned for having exceptional pressure-relieving benefits and contouring. However, the contouring qualities of a foam mattress can work against your comfort as a stomach sleeper. Too soft of a foam mattress, and the midsection will sink, causing spine misalignment. As such, stomach sleepers should go for a high-density memory foam that provides firm support to the midsection.
Here are the recommended mattress types for specific situations:
Which Type of Mattress Is Best for Stomach Sleepers With Back Pain?
Generally, stomach sleeping isn’t recommended for seniors with back pain. As a sleeping position, stomach sleeping places extra strain on your spine by forcing it to flatten rather than rest in its neutral curved posture and alignment.
However, if you’re most comfortable sleeping on your stomach, go for a hybrid/innerspring mattress that provides plenty of firm support with minimal risk of sinkage. These types of mattresses are much less likely to collapse in the middle under your weight which keep your spine in proper alignment.
Which Type Is Best for Stomach Sleepers With Neck Pain?
As mentioned above, stomach sleeping tends to cause neck muscle stretching for an extended time, giving rise to soreness. To reduce this effect, you should look for a mattress that offers ample contouring. Therefore, a memory foam mattress is the best type of mattress for stomach sleepers with neck pain.
Which Type Is Best For Stomach Sleepers With Shoulder Pain?
You should avoid stomach sleeping completely if you’re suffering from any shoulder pains, as this sleeping posture will exacerbate the pain. Sleeping on your stomach causes spine, shoulders, and hips misalignment, worsening the condition and pain.
How Firm/Soft Should a Mattress Be For Seniors Who Sleep On Their Stomachs?
As mentioned above, the biggest issue you’ll face when sleeping on your stomach is the flattening of your spine’s natural curvature and the concertation of a lot of weight in your hip region. With this in mind, you need a mattress that solves these issues and negates the negative side effects of stomach sleeping among seniors.
Regarding firmness level, your goal should be to find a firm enough mattress to support your spine and hips while also yielding some give for body contouring and conforming. Using the traditional firmness scale of 1 to 10 in mind, stomach sleepers are best served by medium-firm mattresses (6-7 on the firmness scale) to firm mattresses (above 7 on the firmness scale).
A firm mattress offers one critical advantage – it can withstand sinkage, preventing the sleeper’s midsection from sinking. A sinking midsection flattens and misaligns the spine’s natural curvature. On the other hand, a firm mattress can withstand the sagging, yielding better spinal alignment and hip support.
Aside from the firmness scale, stomach sleeping seniors should also consider their weight. A lighter individual will benefit from a mattress on the lower end of the medium-firm scale. For instance, if you weigh between 130 and 220 pounds, a medium to medium-firm (5-7) will offer you a great balance between support, pressure relief, and contouring.
On the other hand, if you weigh on the heavier side, you’ll benefit more from a firm mattress – above 7 on the firmness scale. A firm mattress prevents sinkage and provides robust support. Read my guide to the best mattresses for overweight seniors for more information.
Other Important Mattress Features For Senior Or Elderly Belly Sleepers
While the mattress firmness is an important consideration, there are other factors that affect the quality – and comfort – of your sleep.
Hot nights are fairly uncomfortable. The unbearable summer heat can make you toss and turn all night long, only to wake the following day unrested and sleepy all day long. Often, older adults are on medications that affect their temperature regulation as well. Plus, many senior women suffer from night sweats from menopause. As a senior, you want to sleep in comfort and wake up rested – not in a pool of sweat. To beat sweaty sleeping, your mattress needs to have ample cooling.
Hybrid and innerspring mattresses tend to be inherently cooler as they have more air channels that can evacuate heat. Traditional foam mattresses tend to trap and retain much of the heat you release, making a hot night even worse. As such, you should ensure your foam mattress has air channels and incorporates heat evacuation gels to help you keep cool throughout the night.
Edge Firmness And Support
Edge firmness refers to how strong a mattress is around the edges. For seniors, regardless of the sleeping posture you prefer, you need a mattress that provides ample edge support. The process of getting to bed usually involves sitting along the edge of the mattress. As such, sturdy edge support will ensure you sit on the edge securely. This is an imperative feature in a mattress for seniors with mobility problems.
Additionally, a sturdy edge keeps sleepers centered on the mattress, which helps prevent rolling and falling out of bed. In this regard, sturdy edges increase the safety of seniors.
Motion isolation concerns whether the mattress can isolate movement from one part of the mattress from spreading to the other parts. Isolating movement is an important feature for older couples who share a bed. Strong motion isolation ensures the individual will not feel the partner’s movement, rolls, or changes in positions. As such, the movement of one individual will not affect the other.
Responsiveness relates to how well a mattress reacts to your body as you toss and turn in your sleep. Generally, a good mattress will adjust to your motion with ease, contouring around your body every time you turn. Light sleepers will benefit especially from a more responsive mattress.
A lightweight body does not sink into the support layers of a mattress – especially if it’s too firm. A non-responsive mattress will make it hard for the lightweight body to experience comfort as the mattress will find it difficult, if not impossible, to contour to the body.
Warranty And Durability
Durability pertains to how sturdy the mattress materials are, which, in turn, indicates how long a mattress will last. The more durable a mattress is, the longer and better it will hold its shape without sagging.
While discussing durability, it’s essential to talk warranty. Generally, most companies will offer a standard 20-year warranty. It does not necessarily speak to the durability of the product. You should read online customer reviews to get a full picture of the durability.
Recommended Mattresses For Seniors / Elderly Who Sleep On Their Stomachs
So, now that you know more about the different types of mattresses and the important features that older adults should look for, here are some of my top recommendations:
GhostBed Classic Mattress
- 101-Night Home Trial
- 20-Year Warranty
- Free Shipping
- Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, Cal King
- Cost: Mid Level
Why I recommend it: This mattress provides great support for the spine due to its high-density foam core with good pressure relief and contouring from its aerated top layer.
- Effective motion isolation
- Excellent for cool sleeping individuals
- Comfortable and contouring
- Good edge support
- The high-density memory foam core isn’t as durable over the long term as the innerspring core
- It takes longer to “break-in”
The GhostBed Classic is a medium-firm, Latex, and memory foam mattress that’s an excellent option for stomach-sleeping seniors of average weight. Sleeping on this mattress is a comfortable experience. The combination of a plush cover, aerated latex, and gel memory form work together to cushion your body from pressure points common for a stomach sleeper.
The latex layer yields and springy sensation that’s comfortable to lie on. Plus, latex is naturally motion isolating, which helps reduce disturbances for couples sharing a bed. Its second layer, a 2″ gel memory foam layer, is a proprietary foam with large cells. The larger foam cells are excellent in providing comfort and evacuating heat away from your body.
GhostBed has pricked small aeration holes into the latex foam layer. While the holes might be small, they effectively draw out heat your body generates, keeping you cool throughout the night.
Finally, the 7.5″ core provides a solid platform to support your body and keep you aligned. The core is a high-density memory foam mattress that is sturdy without being excessively hard to sleep on for the elderly.
These contrasting qualities ensure the GhostBed Classic can is supportive and contouring. As such, the mattress is great at relieving pressure, stiffness and aligning the back when you sleep on your stomach.
Nolah Signature 12″ Mattress
- 120-Night Home Trial
- Lifetime Warranty
- Free Shipping & Returns
- Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
- Cost: Mid Level
Why I recommend it: Everything about this mattress is designed to support stomach sleepers with the perfect combination of support and comfort due to it’s plush and contouring AirFoam™. Nolah even gives you a choice of firmness levels too.
- Offers deep contouring
- Provides ample pressure relief
- Moisture-wicking ensures the surface stays comfortable
- AirFoam helps the mattress return to its original shape much quicker
- Uses hypoallergenic organic cotton that’s not bleached or treated with harsh chemicals
- Not ideal for heavy individuals and people who prefer a firm feel
- Off-gassing is noticeable for longer
The Nolah Signature Mattress is a 12″ mattress that features four layers of different types of foam and a moisture-wicking cover made of organic cotton. The cover also functions as a cooling layer by helping to evacuate heat away from the body.
The first layer of foam is Nolah’s AirFoam™. This 2.5″ plush foam is optimized to cushion and contour your body, keep your spine aligned and support your lumbar as you sleep on your stomach. Plus, the larger air cells help to keep sleepers cool throughout the night.
The second foam layer is a 1.5″ polyfoam that supports the top layer and gives the mattress some rigidity. As a supporting layer, the mattress can support your weight while negating the sinking, which causes neck and lower back pains.
A 1″ transitional layer of AirFoam™ follows. The firm pressure-relieving Nolah AirFoam™ is much firmer than the comfort and reinforcing layers above it. As such, it’s designed to provide pressure relief on your hips, neck, and shoulders.
The next layer is a reinforced high-density core foundation. This is a 7″ optimized for support and durability. Additionally, the core is also breathable, which helps to evacuate heat from your body as you sleep.
Finally, the four layers are surrounded around the edges by a cover made of sturdy knitted poly-yarns securing the various layers in place. And the bottom cover is made of a non-skid fabric that prevents the mattress from sliding around.
AmerisleepAS2 Hybrid Mattress
- 100-Night Sleep Trial
- 20-Year Warranty
- Free Shipping & Return
- Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
- Cost: Mid-Level
Why I recommend it: The Amerisleep AS2 hybrid mattress uses a proprietary Bio-Pur® memory foam that provides responsive support for the hips and spine while also being cooler than traditional memory foam mattresses.
- The open-cell foam helps to wick hot air away, thereby enhancing temperature regulation
- The mattress is inherently supportive and responsive
- Offers excellent pressure point relief
- Provides class-leading motion isolation
- Its edge support is subpar
As a brand, Amerisleep has built a reputation for offering a wide range of products that focus on producing the contouring comfort characteristic of memory foam mattresses without compromising on support. The Amerisleep Hybrid AS2 is no different; it’s designed and optimized to contour around your body while giving you firm support and feel.
The Amerisleep AS2 comes with a Bio-Pur open-cell foam layer that keeps you cooler than traditional foam. This layer of foam is also responsible for the excellent body contour performance that you get from this mattress.
The second layer of foam is the HIVE transitional layer. It provides targeted support and pressure relief, allowing seniors to sleep and rest while keeping their spines aligned. Additionally, this transitional layer also supports your back, neck, shoulders, and legs, relieving pressure points and helping you rest well.
The final layer is the Bio-Core base layer. As with every other mattress, the base layer of the Amerisleep AS2 functions as the foundation and provides support. Its individually pocketed coils give the solid core for other layers to build upon. The sturdy core supports all other layers while ensuring the mattress is durable.
Finally, the combined 12 inches of foam are covered with an ultra-breathable cover that helps to keep you cool.
Helix Dawn Mattress
- 100-Night Sleep Trial
- 10-15 Year Warranty
- Free Shipping
- Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
- Cost: Lower End
Why I recommend it: The Helix Dawn offers a quality sleep surface with even support for stomach sleepers that is affordable too. Best for seniors who prefer a firmer mattress.
- It has plenty of support, which is important for stomach sleeping seniors
- Excellent contouring performance
- Excellent motion isolation performance
- Isolatse motion very well
- Support heavy people (over 250 pounds)
- Less than ideal pressure relief performance
Rated as 7.5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, the Helix Dawn offers excellent support for stomach sleepers. The Helix Dawn is inherently firm as a hybrid mattress, negating sinking into the mattress, which misaligns the spines and puts extra pressure on your lower back. Additionally, the mattress’s firmness helps keep the hips elevated and properly aligned with the shoulders.
The Helix Dawn is made of 4 layers of different materials. The uppermost layer is a comfort layer made of Helix Dynamic Foam. This is a latex-foam hybrid material that reacts to your body’s weight and contours to your body for a firm and comfortable feel.
This is followed by a transition layer made of high-grade polyfoam. While this layer of polyfoam is relatively thin, it’s designed to give sleepers excellent cushioning and support. The transition layer is a high IFD material, which ensures the mattress can match your body type.
The mattress’s core, which Helix calls the body shape layer, is a layer of individually wrapped coils. This layer enhances body support and helps to limit motion transfer. The foundation of the mattress is a DuraDense foam that provides base support while enhancing the mattress’s durability. Finally, the entire perimeter of the mattress is held in place by a reinforced perimeter that provides edge support.
- 365-Night Sleep Trial
- “Forever” Warranty
- Free Shipping & Return
- Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
- Cost: Low-End
Why I recommend it: The Nectar mattresses supports and comforts stomach sleepers with a hug like feel. But, because of it’s memory foam construction, it’s not the best choice for hot sleepers.
- Excellent motion absorption and isolation
- Extremely comfortable and contours well to your body
- Good value purchase
- The even contouring it offers alleviates discomfort and pressure points
- Subpar edge support
- Its cooling properties could be better
- Possible uncomfortable sinkage for heavy individuals
The Nectar Mattress is an excellent choice for seniors who love the ‘body-hug’ feel typical of high-quality memory foam mattresses. The all-memory foam mattress offers plenty of contouring and pressure relief. And with a medium-firm level of firmness, the mattress offers plenty of support for light to average weight stomach sleeping seniors.
The mattress is made of three layers of different types of foams. Nectar calls the base layer the stay-stable base layer. It’s a 7-inch high-density polyurethane foam that provides exceptional stability and ensures the layers on top perform well without shifting.
The layer on top of the base layer is the Dynamic Support Layer. This is a 2″ dynamically adjusting layer of memory foam designed to support your body and contour to your body shape, keeping you relaxed all through your sleep.
The upper-most memory foam layer is the Nectar Comfort Layer. This is a 3″ Nectar Gel Memory Foam. As the softest layer of foam, it’s designed to provide pressure relief, support, and cushion.
On top of this layer is a quilted cool cover made of a poly-blend material that’s comfortable, breathable, and cooling. Finally, the lower cover features a shift-resistant cover that keeps the mattress in place. You can rest assured that you’ll not deal with a sliding and slipping mattress, which can spell a huge risk for seniors.
Tips for Sleeping Better for Stomach Sleepers
Sleeping on your belly, you’ll extend your neck backward, inadvertently flattening and compressing your spine. Consequently, you might experience restricted blood flow and nerve pinching, resulting in a tingling sensation in your arm. Additionally, sleeping while facing one direction for an extended period, as is the case when sleeping on your stomach, will stretch your neck, causing numbness and stiffness.
As you can imagine, there is potential for stomach sleeping to afflict your overall health. To counter this potential, consider:
- Add A Pillow Below Your Abdomen – Adding a slim pillow below your abdomen helps you counter spine flattening, which can cause tremendous back pain. Additionally, the thin pillow will help to restore the natural spine alignment, negating spine compression occasioned by sleeping on your stomach. Click here to learn more about body pillows for seniors.
- Use A Slim Pillow – With stomach sleeping causing neck pains, you might be tempted to sleep without a pillow. This is a problematic approach to sleeping on your stomach as your neck also needs a lot of support. As such, if you feel pain in your neck while sleeping, consider supporting your neck with a soft, slim pillow. See my picks for best pillows for seniors and the elderly here.
- Buy An Appropriate Mattress – The mattress you choose will make a world of difference. The ideal mattress is supportive, cushioning, and does not sink while sleeping.
- Stretch Often – With blood flow constriction being an issue for stomach sleeping seniors, stretching will help counter the problem. Consider doing yoga as part of your regular exercise and fitness routine.
Other tips to consider include:
- Shift your sleeping position often,
- Avoid raising your legs while sleeping on your stomach,
- Align your body as best as possible before falling asleep, and
- Keep your legs together and avoid twisting your legs.
Summary and Final Recommendations
While sleeping on your belly can potentially cause backaches and neck sores, investing in a high-quality supportive mattress will help keep your spine aligned and neck supported. We’ve reviewed some of the best mattresses for stomach-sleeping seniors on the market. With your preferences, weight, and budget in mind, choose the most suitable mattress for your needs from our list above.