3 Things to Look for in a Latex Mattress if You're a Stomach Sleeper
Stomach sleeping has its pros and cons. For instance, it can help curb snoring—but if you're one of the 7% of Americans who sleeps on their stomach, then you likely know that it can also leave you with a sore back in the morning. That's why it's especially important for stomach sleepers to choose a mattress that works for this sleep position.
A latex mattress is a great option for stomach sleepers. Its natural buoyancy supports and lifts up the body, and it sleeps cool thanks to the material's open-cell structure. It's extremely eco-friendly to boot.
Keep in mind that the ideal mattress for a stomach sleeper will be different from the one that's best suited for side or back sleepers. Here's what to look for in a latex mattress if you're a stomach sleeper.
How to find the best latex mattress for stomach sleepers
The key to comfort for stomach sleepers—for any sleepers, really—is neutral spinal alignment. Because most people carry their weight across the hips and belly, sleeping on one's stomach can cause an unnatural bowing of the spine, which in turn can lead to back pain. To assure proper lumbar support and overall comfort as a stomach sleeper, look for the following features in a latex mattress:
- Talalay latex support core: The shorter the lifespan of a mattress, the sooner it will begin to sag—and that's not good for stomach sleepers, who need a lot of spinal support. The best-quality latex is natural (vs. synthetic). There are two methods of producing natural latex: Talalay and Dunlop, and each results in a very different feel. Talalay latex is vacuum-sealed and flash-frozen to stabilize the particles before being baked into solid form, making it softer and lighter than Dunlop latex foam. Dunlop mattresses often feel inconsistent (firmer at the bottom and softer at the top), which can make getting comfortable sleep as a stomach sleeper difficult. The flash-freezing process allows Talalay latex mattresses to have the same feeling from top to bottom. A latex mattress made with high-quality Talalay latex should last from 15-20 years.
- Firm comfort levelcomfort level: Stomach sleepers do best on a firm surface. This allows your body to maintain the best possible alignment while you're lying face down. If a latex mattress is too soft, your stomach will pull your spine down into an exaggerated curve. Keep in mind that you don't want an overly firm mattress, though, because this can put pressure on your ribs and stomach and cause aches and pains. Experts recommend a medium to firmer comfort level (around a 6-8 on the firmness scale) to adequately support a stomach sleeper's body.
- Zoned lumbar support: Lumbar support is one of the most important features to look for in a latex mattress if you're a stomach sleeper—this is especially true if you have back pain. Lumbar support will ensure your spine is kept in neutral alignment while you sleep. In a latex mattress, you will find added lumbar support in the form of "zones." A zoned design features firmer latex in the center third of the mattress. (Learn how to protect your back while you sleep.)
Something else to keep in mind: Latex mattresses are naturally cool, but because one of the biggest complaints among stomach sleepers is sleeping hot, you may also want to make sure any latex mattress you choose has a breathable cover. Organic cotton is a good material to look for in a mattress cover.
Our Best Latex Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
How to find the best pillow for stomach sleepers
Matching your pillow to your sleep position is important too. The National Sleep Foundation recommends using a thin pillow under your head—or no pillow at all. Placing a thin pillow under your stomach and pelvis may also help ward off back pain.
For more advice on finding the right latex bed for you, here's how to choose the best latex mattress for your sleep position.