The vast majority of people sleep predominately on their back or side, so it's probably not surprising that people who prefer sleeping on their front often have trouble finding a comfortable mattress. Most mattresses simply aren't made to properly support your body when you sleep on your front, and many stomach sleepers find that their mattresses give them aches and pains in their backs, shoulders and hips.
Fortunately, there are options for those of us who prefer to buck sleeping trends and doze off face-down. If you sleep on your stomach and are looking for a mattress that will provide ample comfort and support, keep the following guidelines in mind as you shop around:
Opt for a medium-firm to firm mattress
If you usually sleep on your stomach, your first priority when shopping for a mattress is finding a mattress that will properly support your lower back. Because much of your body's total weight is contained in the abdominal region, stomach sleepers often find that the mattress sinks the most beneath their stomach when they lay down. If the mattress sinks too much, the lower part of the spine can be bent into an unnatural position that can cause serious lower back pain and stiffness.
To avoid these lower back issues, you should choose a mattress that is medium-firm to firm. These firmer mattresses provide an ample amount of support for your spine and prevent your abdomen from sinking into the mattress. Choosing a firm mattress is particularly important if you are above average in height or weight, as softer mattresses can sink dramatically under stomach sleepers with larger bodies and cause serious spinal issues.
Look for plush, padded surfaces
Even if you are a full time stomach sleeper, lying face down on a rock-hard mattress isn't an ideal way to get a comfortable night's sleep. Ideally, you should seek out a mattress that has a firm core and a softer, padded upper surface as these will provide the best compromise between firm support and luxurious comfort.
Hybrid mattresses can be particularly useful for stomach sleepers. These mattresses have a firm base reinforced with coil and/or pocket springs, while the upper section of the mattress is made from softer, plusher materials such as memory foam. This configuration provides comfort and support in equal measure, and will allow your face, stomach, hips and other parts of your body settle naturally into the mattress as you sleep.
Breathable materials are key
Sleeping on your stomach means placing a large proportion of your body's surface area directly against your mattress. If your mattress is made from dense, non-breathable materials, sleeping on your stomach may cause you to become unbearably hot and sweaty, especially during the summer or if your bedroom is poorly ventilated.
If you find yourself getting hot and bothered while sleeping on your front, choosing a breathable mattress will help you keep cool. Modern mattresses use a variety of materials and technologies to stay cool and comfortable, but beds made with gel memory foam tend to be especially comfortable for hot sleepers. On the other hand, more traditional mattresses made with coils or pocket springs can also be very breathable if they are made with high-quality, non-synthetic materials.