Choosing a Mattress: Body Type and Sleeping Position

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A good night’s sleep is always the best way to start a good day. Of course, everyone, no matter the shape or size, deserves quality rest every night. However, the optimal way to achieve this is to get a mattress that matches you and your needs.

If you’re feeling lost about how to choose your next mattress, reading further should help you. With that, this article will discuss the different body types, sleeping positions, and the appropriate mattress for each case.

Structural Body Types

Lest you didn’t know, your body shape is also a helpful factor that can indicate the best mattress recommended for you. In fact, each body type has distinct attributes that require specific demands for support during sleep. With that, below are the body types and the support they need to achieve a comfortable sleep:


Ectomorphs are people with long and lean bodies, containing low muscle mass and fat content. Due to this trait, ectomorphs tend to have bony prominences, like the elbow or ribs, that stick out more than other body types.

When lying on a firm mattress, the unnecessary pressure of an ectomorph’s body weight on these body prominences against the bed can feel uncomfortable. Worse, soreness can develop on these spots with prolonged force on a nightly basis. Therefore, softer mattresses that adjust to a body’s contours are recommended for this case.


In contrast to ectomorphs, endomorphs are those with more fat and muscle mass. In this body type, bony prominences are well-cushioned by the thicker layers of soft tissue, so discomfort and soreness from pressure on bony prominences are rare.

However, endomorphs tend to sink in too much in softer beds, resulting in uncomfortable positions. For this reason, firmer mattresses are recommended for this body type to provide adequate support to the body’s natural resting position from head to toe.


Mesomorphs are the in-between of ectomorphs and endomorphs; meaning, they are neither underweight or overweight. Owing to this, they don’t demand cushioning and firmness for support as much as ectomorphs and endomorphs do. Thus, a medium-firm mattress should suffice to provide adequate support and cushioning.

Sleeping Positions

Besides a person’s structural body type, their sleeping position should also be considered when choosing a mattress since each way of sleeping requires distinct amounts of support to maintain the natural curves and positions of the body.

Back Sleepers

When lying on a mattress that is too soft, back sleepers force the alignment of their vertebral columns to lose their natural curves. This flattening of the spine is unhealthy because it can strain and deform musculoskeletal structures, resulting in body pains.

In this case, the best recommended for back sleepers are medium-firm or firm mattresses, which provide the right amount of support to sustain the natural reciprocating curves of the spine. Moreover, besides providing comfort during sleep, maintaining the proper alignment of the vertebral column at night is also helpful in improving posture during the day.

Stomach Sleepers

While back sleepers strain the spine with its straightening, stomach sleepers stress the spine by forcing it to curve more than natural. Similarly, this can also harm musculoskeletal structures and result in back pains.

Due to back sleepers and stomach sleepers having a similar nature in their adverse effects on the vertebral column, stomach sleepers also require firm mattresses to prevent hyperextending the back. Otherwise, a soft bed will cause a stomach sleeper’s middle region of their body to sink, thus leading to a spinal curve beyond normal.

Side Sleepers

Sleeping sideways typically requires a person to bend joints to keep stability in the position. Unfortunately, this position can emphasize bony prominences all over the body, like the shoulder, elbow, and ribs.

With prolonged pressure on these parts from being pressed against firm mattresses, soreness can develop and disturb sleep. Hence, soft beds are ideal for cushioning these areas because of their conforming nature.

Combination Sleepers

Combination sleepers tend to change positions throughout the night, so having either a soft or firm mattress can make sleeping in one position uncomfortable. Unquestionably, this can lead to occasional disturbed sleep over the night.

To cater to the various needs of a combination sleeper, a medium-firm bed is recommended for its versatility. The reasoning is simply because medium-firm mattresses are firm enough to support sleeping on the back, yet conforming enough to cushion bony prominences when sleeping sideways.

Firmness and Associated Mattress Types

Mattresses come in different types, and each type has an associated firmness. Knowing this helps identify what type of mattress you need to cater to your body type and sleeping position.

  • Firm – Innerspring mattresses.
  • Medium-Firm – Memory foam, polyfoam, hybrid, latex, and gel-infused mattresses.
  • Soft – Memory foam, polyfoam, and gel-infused mattresses.


Sleep is undeniably essential, and one of the best ways to enjoy a good quality rest is to have a mattress that suits your body’s needs. Hence, it is crucial to consider all the necessary factors to find the best mattress for you.

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