Most people tend to identify most strongly with one particular sleeping position, but for some people, one just isn’t enough. For everyone who finds themselves regularly sleeping in more than one position through the night, we use the term “combination sleeper.”
For people who stick to one sleeping position, finding a mattress that fits them is relatively straightforward. But for combination sleepers, it can be more challenging as greater priority must be placed on mattresses that offer flexibility to accommodate them as they move from one position to another.
If you’re in a hurry, you can go straight to our recommendations for the top 5 mattresses for combination sleepers, or you can keep reading to learn about what kinds of mattresses are available, which are most suited for combination sleepers, and how to choose among all the different mattresses that are on the market today.
Types of Mattresses
What are foam mattresses?
When a mattress is made entirely of foam, we classify it as a foam mattress. But each foam mattress typically is made with more than one type of foam, and these materials are layered on top of each other in a particular way to try to give the mattress a distinct feel. Memory foam is often employed in these mattresses because of its conforming properties. Memory foam, originally developed by NASA, compresses proportionally in response to pressure, allowing it to hug the body. Polyurethane foam (polyfoam) can be manufactured in a number of different ways, which means that it can have varied characteristics based on the needs of the mattress maker. In some cases, a layer of latex foam may be placed inside a foam mattress as well. Usually in these mattresses you will find a base layer of polyfoam with a comfort layer made of memory foam and/or polyfoam layers.
Are foam mattresses good for combination sleepers?
Yes, often. One of the primary strengths of many foam mattresses, especially those made with memory foam, is that the mattress is built for flexibility. Memory foam, for example, is prized for its responsiveness, which means that it compresses directly in response to the pressure that is applied to it at a specific point. If a person moves from their side to their back, then, memory foam can adjust how and where it provides cushioning. However, in some cases, especially for combination sleepers who spend a lot of time on their stomach, this contouring can sometimes feel smothering, so foam mattresses are not universally a fit for combination sleepers.
What are latex mattresses?
Latex is a rubber product that can be produced naturally, synthetically, or can be blended to include both of these. When a mattress is made entirely with this rubber, we refer to it as a latex mattress. We also may use the terminology “all-latex” or “true-latex” to help clarify that it is not simply a mattress with one latex layer. Some all-latex mattresses use very large, heavy chunks of latex, while others use a combination of thinner latex layers.
The nature of latex is such that it is considered to be a very resilient material. While it is still responsive to pressure (in that it conforms to the body), it springs back to its original shape much faster than most other foams. This gives the material a bouncier feel and usually reduces the feeling of being stuck in a mattress.
As you read descriptions of latex, you may see the terms Dunlop and Talalay, and these refer to the method of production. Talalay latex is usually softer and bouncier than Dunlop. Depending on the brand, the mattress may use only one or both of these types of latex.
Are latex mattresses good for combination sleepers?
Yes, often. As with foam, latex is a material that compresses in response to pressure. This allows it to offer support to people who may spend time in a number of different positions throughout the night. In addition, a major benefit for latex is that it is very resilient, which means that when pressure is taken off the mattress, the latex rapidly snaps back to its initial shape. This is beneficial because it makes it less onerous to change positions in bed; it is very rare for someone on a latex mattress to feel “stuck” in the bed. This ease of motion on the mattress is a big plus for combination sleepers.
What are innerspring mattresses?
The type of mattress that most people are familiar with is an innerspring mattress. These are built with a large array of metal springs, or coils, that can compress in size in order to accommodate weight that is placed on the mattress. Over time, many different types of coils have been used, but the ones that you’ll encounter most often when shopping now are pocketed coils. Pocketed coils give each spring more isolated range of action, which makes their movement more independent of the others.
It is rare to find an innerspring mattress that is just coils. Instead, they usually have additional material layered on top to give the mattress a defined feel. Often, these materials are foams (polyfoam, memory foam, or latex) or a fiber quilting. Depending on which materials are used and how they are produced and layered, an innerspring can have a radically different feel.
For purposes of keeping innerspring mattresses separate from hybrids, we classify a mattress as a hybrid if this layering above the innerspring base is 3” thick or greater.
Are innerspring mattresses good for combination sleepers?
Sometimes. The biggest shortcoming for most innerspring mattresses is that they do not provide enough conforming to effectively soften the mattress at the most important pressure points in the body. For example, combination sleepers who spend a lot of time on their side are likely to find an innerspring ineffective at cushioning their shoulder or hip. In some models of innersprings, though, there may be a thick enough layer of responsive material (such as latex or foam) to offer the cushion that combination sleepers need.
What are hybrid mattresses?
Hybrid mattresses have a support core of metal springs, and in this way are similar to innerspring mattresses. However, we consider a mattress to be a hybrid if its comfort layer(s) are 3” thick or thicker. The materials used in this comfort layer — memory foam, polyfoam, latex, fiber, etc. — will profoundly change the way that a sleeper will experience the mattress. Most makers of hybrid mattresses try to use the comfort layer to add contouring and responsiveness that is buttressed by the bounce of the innerspring coils.
Are hybrid mattresses good for combination sleepers?
Yes, often. Hybrids can be a good fit for combination sleepers because they offer a balance of both bounce (from the coils) and support (from the comfort layers above the coils). Of course, how well they provide this balance depends considerably on the way in which the mattress is designed and built. But in most cases a hybrid can give needed padding to pressure points in multiple positions while also making it easy to move on the mattress and to avoid sinking too deeply into it.
What are airbeds?
As the name implies, in an airbed, support is provided by air. Inside the mattress is an air chamber, and customers can inflate or deflate this air chamber to modify the feel of the mattress in real time. The amount of air in the chamber can be changed using either a remote or an app on a smartphone. In addition, most airbeds have one air chamber for each side of the bed, giving each person the ability to adjust the feel for “their” side of the bed. To give the mattress extra softness or support, some airbeds also have comfort layers with foam or latex above the air chamber.
Are airbeds good for combination sleepers?
Rarely. Unfortunately, airbeds don’t provide either the bounce or the support that most combination sleepers need. The air chamber, despite its adjustability, just doesn’t provide the sort of contouring that can accommodate a person who changes their sleeping position in the night. The exception would be for airbeds that have a comfort layer on top, but these tend to be fewer in number and more expensive in cost.
Top Picks: Best Mattresses for Combination Sleepers
We want to make mattress shopping simple, and we know your time is valuable. For this reason, we’ve done the heavy lifting to provide this list of the top 5 best mattresses for combination sleepers:
|BRAND||MODEL||MATTRESS TYPE||FIRMNESS LEVEL / OPTIONS||PRICE|
|Novosbed||Foam||Soft / Medium / Firm||$1,299 (Queen)|
|Pure Green||Latex||Soft / Medium / Firm|| $899 – $1,199
|Alexander Signature Hybrid||Hybrid||Medium or Luxury Firm||$1,199 (Queen)|
|Saatva||Innerspring||Plush Soft / Luxury Firm / Firm|| $999
You can keep reading to get additional details about each of these mattress models and why they are on our list of the best bets for combination sleepers.
The Leesa mattress is a straightforward all-foam option with three layers. The topmost layer is Avena foam, which is a latex-like polyfoam developed by the company. The second layer is memory foam, and the bottom layer is a base polyfoam. But don’t let the simplicity of this design fool you — the Leesa is a powerhouse in the world of online, direct-to-consumer mattresses.
The Leesa gets consistently strong reviews from customers and independent reviewers and with a resilient yet conforming sleeping surface, it is able to give the needed support to sleepers in a range of positions without inhibiting switching from one position to another. The medium-firm feel also works for the majority of sleepers in any position.
After considering its track record, its design, and its price (under $1000 for a Queen), the Leesa was a clear choice for our top 5 mattresses for combination sleepers.
Despite not being a brand name that is as well-known in the industry, Novosbed is nevertheless a manufacturer of some of the top memory foam mattresses on the market. When looking at the design of their mattress, it is clear that they did not cut corners in choosing their materials. The company uses thick layers of memory foam with high densities, which makes them more likely to keep providing support over many years of use.
The Novosbed offers three models — Soft, Medium, and Firm — to accommodate individual preference when it comes to comfort. With any of these models, you can expect an excellent level of contouring that can adjust to the specific pressure points of any individual in any sleeping position. For this reason, the Novosbed is one of our top choices for combination sleepers.
Sleep on Latex Pure Green Mattress
Some combination sleepers find that their sleep can get disrupted when they change positions in the night. One reason that this can occur is that some mattresses, especially those that are plush or that have excessive “hug,” can make it hard to move on the mattress. A mattress like the Sleep on Latex Pure Green mattress avoids this through its extremely resilient sleep surface. A quality of latex is that it will spring back quickly, permitting easy movement from one position to another.
At the same time, this mattress can also provide the kind of responsive “give” that is needed to make sure that it delivers pressure point relief to improve spinal alignment. In any position, sleepers can find that this mattress gives the cushion that they need.
The Pure Green mattress is available in three different firmness levels and in two different mattress heights and is built in a way that raises the likelihood the mattress will last for the long-haul. At a price point comparable to many foam mattresses, the Pure Green mattress is an obvious choice for our picks for combination sleepers.
Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Hybrid
The Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid is a dependable choice for combination sleepers because of its ability to offer luxurious contouring and ease of movement provided by the bounce of the innerspring support core. A memory foam layer topped with a foam-stuffed pillowtop works to make this a responsive and inviting sleep surface while the 7” of pocketed coils underneath help make sure that there’s not too much give or sink.
Combination sleepers can choose between a Medium or Luxury Firm model while knowing that both are built with solid materials designed to provide years and years of quality sleep. Both firmness options are available at the same price — $1,299 for a Queen, before any discounts or promos — making this a reliable hybrid for combination sleepers that doesn’t break the bank.
The Saatva is a unique type of innerspring mattress. Instead of relying on just one set of coils, it has a coil-on-coil structure that places a set of foam-encased coils above the thick layer of steel coils. This enhances the responsiveness of the coils themselves, and the support level is boosted even higher through comfort layers of foam and a foam-filled quilted cover. With a level of responsiveness far exceeding most innerspring mattresses, the Saatva is an excellent fit for combination sleepers, especially those who know that they like the general feel of an innerspring.
The most popular firmness choice for the Saatva is the Luxury Firm, but the mattress is also sold in a Firm and Plush Soft firmness level for people who may want something softer or harder.
Saatva offers free white-glove delivery of this mattress, which can be purchased for $999 for a Queen. At this price and with its well-thought out design and execution, the Saatva is a great buy for combination sleepers.
Finding the Best Mattress for a Combination Sleeper
About Combination Sleeping
Combination sleepers utilize more than one sleeping position in the night. For example, they may initially fall asleep in one position only to wake up in another. Or they may toss and turn in the night, adjusting positions to become comfortable and quickly fall back asleep. Because each combination sleeper has their own pattern and amount of time spent in each position, it is hard to generalize about the benefits and downsides of this position.
While there are pros and cons to each of the main sleeping positions, combination sleepers may be able to avoid some of the biggest downsides by virtue of not remaining in only one position the entire night. On the flip side, though, combination sleepers need a more flexible mattress that can meet their needs no matter which position they wind up in.
What Matters For Combination Sleepers When Choosing a Mattress
Combination sleepers should start their mattress buying process by considering which, if any, position they consider to be their primary sleeping position. This can help guide you in determining which features should be the highest priority when looking for a new mattress. The main considerations to think through when planning your mattress purchase include:
- Support: a mattress that helps to keep the spine aligned is a critical component of getting a good night’s sleep. In order for a mattress to do this, though, it needs to be responsive. In other words, it needs to cradle the body’s key pressure points and offer more cushioning in those places. Some materials are much more effective at this proportional contouring than others, and these materials tend to be the best for combination sleepers because they naturally adjust to the body when it moves in the night.
- Comfort: the biggest factor that affects comfort is the feel, or firmness, of a mattress. For our reviews and on most mattress sites, you’ll see firmness described on a scale of 1-10. On this scale, 1 is the softest a mattress can be while a 10 is the firmest. No single firmness level is best for everyone, but the most popular firmness level is medium-firm, or between 5-7 on the typical firmness scale. For combination sleepers, this is usually the preferred range as it has the widest applicability in terms of comfort in multiple different positions.
- Resilience: when describing a mattress, the term resilience refers to how fast the mattress is able to “bounce back” to its original shape after weight is removed from the surface of the mattress. A surface that quickly retakes is shape has a high level of resilience, and for people who move a lot on their mattress, this is a highly desired feature. On a mattress with low levels of resilience, it is easy to feel stuck in the bed because the mold of your body stays in place when you try to move. For combination sleepers, this can make switching positions tedious and potentially disruptive in the night.
- Durability: a mattress that is built to last is one that is made with excellent design and high-quality materials. If a mattress isn’t made well, it will start to sag or give out, and this means that it will offer less support and less resilience. Both of these issues can present major problems for combination sleepers. In addition, from the perspective of a savvy, value-minded shopper, there aren’t many things more frustrating than a major investment that doesn’t hold up over time.
- Motion Isolation: because they change positions in the night, combination sleepers tend to move more than people who just remain in one position. If they share the mattress with someone else, this can cause motion transfer, in which their movement disrupts their partner. For this reason, combination sleepers should look for mattresses with strong motion isolation, which helps prevent movement on one side of the mattress from being felt on the other side.
- Cost: given that mattresses can cost thousands of dollars, it’s impossible to avoid the question of price. As you start shopping for a mattress, make sure to chart out your budget, and in doing so, take into account whether you will need to spend any money on things like a new frame, sheets, or pillows. After you’ve set your budget, consider what mattresses fall in your price range, and be sure to consider any secondary charges (such as for shipping or white-glove delivery).
- In-Home Sleep Trial: we strongly suggest that you only purchase a mattress if it comes with an in-home sleep trial. During a sleep trial, you can use the mattress in your own bedroom for a set period of time with the opportunity to return the mattress during that time if it isn’t up to your standards. For most mattresses purchased online, the sleep trial is 100 days or more. Having this kind of sleep trial lets you get a no-risk, real-world test of how much you like a mattress, and for combination sleepers, this can be critical to learning whether a mattress can work in all of your common sleeping positions.
- Warranty: mattress warranties only really help if there’s a clear defect, but we still advise looking for a mattress that comes with a simple and direct warranty that protects you if things go south.
- Pillow: getting the support you need in all of your sleeping positions requires both a quality mattress and a quality pillow. Combination sleepers tend to get the best benefit from pillows with a higher level of adjustability and moldability, such as down or shredded memory foam pillows. Some combination sleepers may also find it more comfortable and supportive to have another pillow — such as a body pillow — that they can use to provide extra support in multiple sleeping positions.