Best Mattress for Heavy Sleepers
Buying a Mattress as a Bigger Person
The way that any individual perceives the comfort and support of a mattress varies based on a number of factors. One of these factors that is often overlooked is the weight or body type of the sleeper.
Heavier sleepers, defined here as people who weigh over 230 pounds, have different needs in a mattress and are more likely to be happy with their mattress purchase if they look for certain features and characteristics in a mattress. This guide elaborates on those features, the types of mattresses that are available, and provides our list of the top 5 best mattresses for heavier sleepers.
Our Top Picks
If you’re looking for a quick way to narrow down your choices for a great mattress, start with the table in which we’ve outlined our favorite choices for heavier sleepers. Below that, we offer a quick overview to outline why these 5 mattresses made our list.
|BRAND||MODEL||MATTRESS TYPE||FIRMNESS LEVEL / OPTIONS||PRICE|
|Novosbed||Foam||Soft / Medium / Firm||$1,299 (Queen)|
|Saatva||Innerspring||Plush Soft / Luxury Firm / Firm||$999
|Pure Green||Latex||Soft / Medium / Firm|| $899 – $1,199
|Zenhaven||Latex||Reversible (Luxury Plush / Gentle Firm)|| $1,899
The Novosbed mattress has a lot for heavier sleepers to like. It’s made with memory foam, which provides excellent levels of pressure point relief. Furthermore, this foam is high-density and thick, creating the kind of robust comfort layer that is essential for heavier sleepers. The mattress also is offered in three firmness options, so customers can pick which is most likely to suit their comfort preference.
Novosbed has been in the mattress industry longer than many other online sellers, has a proven reputation for customer service, and sells these mattresses at an affordable price. While the sleep trial can be a bit complicated for our liking, most customers are satisfied and never have to make a return.
Interested in the Novosbed Mattress?
Even though innerspring mattresses are rarely a good fit for heavier sleepers, the Saatva mattress is an exception. It is built with two different layers of coils — one thicker layer and one thinner layer of micro-coils. This design, known as “coil-on-coil,” improves resilience and responsiveness and gives a powerful base to the foam comfort layers.
The Saatva mattress is available in three firmness choices, and all of these models are available at an affordable price that includes free white-glove delivery (and if needed, haul-away of an old mattress). Returning the mattress comes with a cost of $99 for return shipping, but despite this, we feel the Saatva is a great blend of comfort and support from a company with a proven reputation.
Interested in the Saatva Mattress?
Sleep On Latex Pure Green Mattress
Latex is a great choice for heavier sleepers, and the Sleep on Latex Pure Green mattress is an elegantly-simple latex option at a shockingly low price for this type of material. Sleep on Latex offers two mattress heights (7” and 9”) and three firmness levels (Soft, Medium, Firm), effectively allowing customers to choose among 6 different options. All of these are built with just one or two thick layers of strong, durable latex that is resilient while also contouring to pressure points.
Customers report a high level of satisfaction with this mattress, and given that all of these models are available in a Queen size for under $1,200 (and some under $1,000), the Sleep on Latex Pure Green mattress delivers when it comes to both performance and value.
Interested in the Sleep On Latex Mattress
Another latex mattress makes our list of the top picks for heavier sleepers, and it’s the Zenhaven mattress, which is made by the same company as the Saatva.
It is made completely with high-end Talalay latex, and though it is more expensive than the Sleep on Latex bed, it offers a unique feature in its reversible firmness. Each side of the mattress has a different comfort feel, with one side being Gentle Firm and the other Luxury Plush. So for customers who aren’t sure about their firmness preference, the Zenhaven offers two choices in one mattress.
Like the Saatva, this mattress comes with free shipping, installation, and removal of an old mattress. The Zenhaven has received great reviews and is sold by a company with an excellent reputation for customer service, support, and satisfaction.
Interested in the Zenhaven Mattress
With a combination of coils, support foam, and a proprietary specialized polyfoam, the Helix mattress is a great choice for heavier sleepers. A defining feature of the Helix hybrid mattress is that it comes with free customization.
When you order your mattress, you can take a “sleep quiz” on the company’s website, in which you answer questions about your preferences, habits, and needs as a sleeper. The company then uses this information to build the mattress to meet those needs.
Through this customization, Helix has achieved high marks for customer satisfaction, and since it can be purchased for under $1,000 for a Queen (before any discounts or promotions), it is a tremendous value as well.
Interested in the Helix Mattress
Who is a Heavier Sleeper and Why Does It Matter?
Terms like heavy get used a lot with vague and ambiguous meanings, but in this context, we refer specifically to heavier sleepers as people who weigh over 230 pounds. We use this number because some mattress research has pointed to this weight as a threshold at which the performance of a mattress starts to change more substantially for people of this weight or more.
Though we use this number as a general guideline, it’s important to remember that weight isn’t the only factor to consider. Someone’s overall stature and height and how they carry their body weight can all influence their experience on a mattress. In addition, some people may weight less than 230 pounds but still have exaggerated pressure points in their body that put the same kind of pressure on the mattress.
Do Heavier Sleepers Have Different Needs in a Mattress?
The short answer to this is that yes, heavier sleepers do usually have somewhat different needs in a mattress. At the most basic level, more weight means more pressure on a mattress, requiring more compression from the mattress materials. Having a mattress that can accommodate this is important. The same applies for people with very pronounced pressure points even if they weigh under 230 pounds. In the following section, we’ll go into detail about how these needs play out with regard to particular mattress features and characteristics.
Important Mattress Considerations for Heavy Sleepers
Comfort Layer Design
An absolutely critical consideration for heavier sleepers is the design of the comfort layer of the mattress. The comfort layer, which is the part that provides the direct support to the body, may actually be made up of more than one layer of foam. In those cases, the individual layers are built to work as a whole in creating a specific feel and function of the topmost part of the mattress.
When thinking about the comfort layer, there are three main elements to take into account. The first is the type of material that is used. Some materials are much more effective at providing support and tailored pressure point relief. For example, a mattress with memory foam or latex will perform these functions better than a quilted pillowtop. In subsequent sections, we describe the different types of mattresses and what heavier sleepers should look for as far as performance of the comfort layer.
The second consideration is the thickness of the comfort layer. If the comfort layer is only an inch thick, even if it’s made with quality material, it is unlikely to be able to effectively cushion a heavier sleeper. Not only does that diminish the support offered by the mattress, but it also harms durability. If the pressure from the body causes a layer to compress fully, then it puts more pressure on the other layers of the mattress, which can cause them to break down faster. We generally recommend a thickness of at least 3”, and heavier sleepers may benefit from comfort layers with additional thickness above this level.
The third consideration is the quality of the material used in the comfort layer. For foam, which is commonly used in comfort layers, look carefully at the density of the foam. If the foam density is less than 3.5 pounds per cubic foot (PCF) in the comfort layer, proceed with caution. A lower-density foam is more likely to start to give out or to be ineffective at accommodating heavier sleepers.
Support is how we describe how well a mattress facilitates proper spinal alignment. The main way that a mattress can do this is by giving proportional cushioning — offering more cushion to the parts of the body that need it most — so that one part of your body does not become completely out of line with the rest of it. Because some heavier sleepers may carry more weight in certain parts of the body, such as around the abdomen, it becomes critical to have this kind of contouring to help promote spinal alignment and protect the lower back.
Every sleeper should take their comfort preference into account when buying a mattress as this directly affects how welcoming a mattress will be when it’s time to go to sleep. Because heavier sleepers are more inclined to sink deeply into a very plush mattress, most heavier sleepers do best with a medium-firm to firm mattress that falls between a 5-8 on the common firmness scale (which goes from 1-10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest).
While this is what works best for most heavier sleepers, remember that firmness is subjective, so if you know that you prefer a mattress that is harder or softer, trust your experience and pick a mattress that will be comfortable for you.
The term resilience, when applied to mattresses, refers to how fast a mattress regains its original shape once weight has been lifted off of it. In a mattress with a lot of resilience, the material quickly snaps back, which gives a bouncy feel. A major benefit of this is that it makes it easier to move on the mattress and helps to combat excessive sinking into the mattress. This can assist heavier sleepers in making sure that they are sleeping on the mattress and not in it. Mattresses made with latex and innerspring coils have a reputation for having the most resilience, but some other foams (including memory foams and polyfoams) are now being formulated to bounce back more quickly than traditional memory foams.
The weakest part of a mattress is usually around the edges where there is less material to offer support. For people of any weight, the edge of the bed may start to “collapse” when sitting or lying near the edge, but this effect is likely to be even more pronounced for heavier people. For this reason, a mattress with strong edge support can be an important factor to consider for heavier sleepers.
With more pressure being put on the mattress materials, it is important for heavier sleepers that these materials be well-designed and well-manufactured. Low-quality materials will erode the performance of the mattress and are more likely to suffer from issues like sagging that can shorten the lifespan of the mattress. A mattress is a major investment, so it makes sense for anyone, including heavier sleepers, to emphasize that this investment is composed of high-end materials.
The clearest way to learn about the materials in a mattress is to get the information directly from the manufacturer. We believe that mattress makers should openly share this on their websites and that the information should include key details like the coil counts of any innerspring layers and/or the foam densities of any foam layers. When these kind of details are omitted, we are often skeptical of the quality of materials being used.
The other issue to keep in mind with materials is that each piece of the design of the mattress plays a role in working alongside the other pieces. So if a company used high-end materials in most of their layers, but not all of them, the one weak layer can reduce the benefit of high-end materials that were included.
Some of the best data about the quality of a mattress comes from reviews from customers who have actually bought and tried the mattress. Reviews from people who received free mattresses may show bias, so we always err toward reviews from verified customers and/or from independent testing organizations. Whenever possible, search for reviews that are from heavier sleepers who will have a more comparable experience with the mattress.
We strongly advise only buying a mattress if it comes with an in-home sleep trial. A sleep trial, which normally is around 100 days but may range from 30-365 days, provides an opportunity to sleep on the mattress in your own home. During the sleep trial, if you realize that the mattress just isn’t a fit for you, you can return it and get a full refund. This type of return policy helps to ensure that you don’t get stuck with a mattress that you hate, and offers ample time to see if the mattress you order works for you as a heavier sleeper.
What Types of Mattresses Are Available?
What is a foam mattress?
- If a mattress is made with foam and only foam (and not combined with materials like innerspring coils), then it is considered a foam mattress.
- It is normal for foam mattresses to use multiple types of foam. These may include memory foam, polyfoam, and latex foam.
- The performance and feel of a foam mattress is determined by how the layers are arranged within the mattress.
- The comfort layer is the part of the mattress that most immediately impacts how the mattress feels. It is the top layer, although technically the “comfort layer” may be made up of multiple different, thinner layers.
- Beneath the comfort layer is a support layer of thicker, sturdy foam. There may also be one or more “transition layers” of other types of foam.
Are foam mattresses good for heavier sleepers?
- Foam mattresses are excellent at contouring to the body and providing proportional support, which can be extremely important for many heavier sleepers.
- The downside for some heavier sleepers is that some foam mattresses are too soft and/or have too much “sink.” As a result, they may feel that they are being swallowed by the mattress, reducing support and increasing the risk of sleeping hot.
- Foam mattresses come in many different styles and feels, so there are many options for heavier sleepers to choose from.
- Because of the diversity of foam mattresses, heavier sleepers should scrutinize any specific foam mattress to see if its design and materials are likely to meet their needs.
What are latex mattresses?
- We only call a mattress a latex mattress if it is made solely with latex, a type of rubber.
- For this same reason, we may also refer to these mattresses as “true latex” or “all latex.”
- Latex may be natural, synthetic, or a blend of the two.
- Mattresses usually include one of two types of latex known as Talalay and Dunlop. Both have the ability to support the body and maintain bounce, but Talalay is the bouncier of the two.
- Latex is a heavy material, so latex mattresses may be more unwieldy to move than other mattress types.
Are latex mattresses good for heavier sleepers?
- Latex has the main characteristics that are beneficial for heavier sleepers including proportional responsiveness, moderate sink, and significant resilience.
- These features help latex provide support for spinal alignment while also offering comfort and ease of movement on the mattress.
- Latex tends to be a strong and durable material that is well-suited to accommodating people who weigh more than 230 pounds.
What are innerspring mattresses?
- Considered the standard in the mattress industry, an innerspring mattress is built with a support core of metal coils.
- For definitional purposes, we categorize a mattress as an innerspring if the comfort layer is less than 3” thick. If it is thicker than this, we categorize it as a hybrid.
- Most mattresses being sold online today use a type of innerspring coil known as a pocketed coil. These coils can compress independently of the coils around them, offering enhanced responsiveness.
- Coils normally quickly bounce back to their shape, so befitting the name, innerspring mattresses usually have a springier feel.
- The exact feel of the mattress, though, will vary based on how the mattress maker has designed the comfort layer.
Are innerspring mattresses good for heavier sleepers?
- An innerspring with a strong layer of coils can help ensure that heavier sleepers have a strong base for supporting their body.
- The risk for heavier sleepers is that because an innerspring has a comfort layer that is less than 3”, more pressure is put on the coils, and less support is provided to the body.
- If the support core is extremely responsive and well-designed, an innerspring may still work for a heavier sleeper, but in general, most of these options will fail to offer the features that are needed.
What is a hybrid mattress?
- In a hybrid, the support core is made of innerspring coils. What separates a hybrid from an innerspring, though, is that the comfort layer is 3” or thicker.
- There are many potential designs of a comfort layer for a hybrid. The comfort layer may include materials like memory foam, latex, specialty polyfoams, fiber, and/or cotton.
- The support and performance offered by a hybrid will depend on the design and build-quality of the comfort layer.
Are hybrid mattresses good for heavier sleepers?
- By definition a hybrid has a comfort layer of 3” or greater, so it is often the case that they provide the cushioning that heavier sleepers need.
- Since that comfort layer is supported by innerspring coils, it helps to hedge against sinking too deeply into the bed while also providing added bounce.
- The main concern with hybrids are those that have a comfort layer that is too soft or that permits too much sinking into the mattress.
What is an airbed?
- The key element of an airbed is an air chamber inside the mattress.
- This air chamber can be deflated or inflated in real time using an attached control or using a smartphone application.
- Adding or subtracting air is a way to immediately adjust the firmness of the mattress.
- In most airbeds, there are actually two air chambers, so each side of the bed can be adjusted to its own firmness level.
- In some airbeds, there is also a comfort layer placed above the air chamber itself.
Are airbeds good for heavier sleepers?
- The adjustability of an airbed can be a big plus for heavier sleepers as they can ensure that the firmness level of the bed is high enough to offer comfort and keep them from sinking into the mattress.
- The challenge for airbeds is that they rarely are able to offer the kind of contouring that is needed for heavier sleepers. Support from an airbed is usually not the proportional type of responsiveness offered by other mattress materials.
- Airbeds with an added comfort layer for contouring may work well for heavier sleepers, but these also tend to be more expensive options.