The Best Mattresses for Heavy Sleepers
Nest Signature Series mattress
If you're a heavier person, you should select a mattress that supports you. Read on to see the rest of our mattress recommendations.
Shopping for the Best Mattress for Heavier Sleepers
When shopping for a mattress, your body weight should factor into the decision if you’re very light or heavy. This buying guide focuses on special concerns for heavy sleepers. The mattress industry considers you a heavy sleeper if you weigh 250 pounds or more.
If your weight is in that range because you’re big and tall, but it’s healthy muscle-weight spread over your body, you’ll need a supportive mattress. For those carrying unhealthy weight, you’ve got more mass in your torso, abdomen, and hips which raises special concerns.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 40% of Americans are overweight. Heavier sleepers with high Body Mass Index (BMI) face combined sleep-health concerns such as sleep apnea, chronic snoring, hypoventilation (excess CO2), and restless leg syndrome among others.
This guide contains shopping criteria, firmness concerns, and detailed reviews of five best beds for heavy sleepers.
Mattress Must-Haves for Heavy Sleepers
Heavier people should be aware of some must-have mattress attributes. A mattress can be well-rated in the industry, be a best-seller, and have lots of happy buyers, but still not be right for you as a heavy sleeper.
With heavier weight, your body puts a mattress through more wear and tear. This makes material quality critically important. Durability is a greater concern as well – you don’t want to invest in a mattress that will wear out fast.
Here are some factors that should be top requirements while shopping for a heavy sleeper mattress:
Some materials are known to have poor edge support, such as foam. This is the tendency for the edge of a bed to collapse and put you at risk for rolling off the side, sagging, and improper support. Bigger people tend to use more of the mattress surface, so proper edge support is mandatory.
Larger people tend to sleep hotter, and that means you need a sleep surface that regulates temperature, wick moisture, and keeps you cooler. The core of the mattress should have excellent airflow while the comfort layer and cover must be designed for coolness.
When you’re heavier, there’s a tendency to sink deeper into the bed, and this can cause a hammock or “bottoming out” effect. Lack of support can trigger or aggravate lower back pain, so look for firm lumbar support. Some materials are better in this regard and bed architecture is critical.
Mattress thickness alone shouldn’t be the deciding factor but, the thicker the mattress, the better. A thinner mattress, no matter what it’s made of, won’t support heavier body weight and could leave you compressing the material and bottoming out with inadequate support.
For heavier sleepers, a firmer mattress is required. Because your weight compresses materials as you sleep, you need a firmer core to support and push back to keep your spine aligned. This prevents sagging, mattress breakdown, and aggravated back problems.
Heavy sleepers inflict greater wear and tear on a mattress so you need a better-quality mattress from the start. A mattress that’s designed for greater body weight, with supportive materials, and greater durability are all attributes to seek in your new mattress.
Now consider which mattress firmness to target if you’re a heavy sleeper.
Mattress Firmness for Heavy Sleepers
Proper mattress firmness is vital for heavy sleepers. The industry rates mattress firmness from 1 to 10. The lower the number, the less firm. Most people prefer a bed in the medium range from 5-6, but as a heavier sleeper, you likely need to shop in the range from 7-9.
The more you weigh, the more comfortable a firmer mattress should feel. If you’re heavy and a stomach or side sleeper, firmness is vital. Side sleepers put more pressure on the bed at the hips and shoulders while stomach sleepers press their hips deeply into the bed.
Firmness of a bed is determined primarily by the support core. Any mattress materials can be firm depending on density and design. The softness of a bed is expressed by the comfort layer(s) which make up the top part of the mattress.
A softer bed with plusher materials on top let heavier people sink too deeply into the surface. The deeper in the bed you sleep, the hotter you’ll feel. The less firm a bed, the greater the risk of inadequate support, hammocking, and back problems.
Look for a firmer bed with less plush comfort layers if you’re heavy. Now let’s consider mattress materials for heavy sleepers.
Best Mattress Materials for Heavy Sleepers
There are three common materials in mattresses – these are foam, innerspring, and latex. Hybrid beds are another option and have an innerspring core with latex or foam in the comfort layer(s).
Foam mattresses contain polyfoam or memory foam. All foam is synthetic and comes in many qualities. High-density (HD) and high-resiliency (HR) foams are best. Foam beds should be scrutinized for durability and temperature-regulating ability since foams sleep hotter and break down faster.
When considering foam, look for high-density, a thick support core, firmness, and a moisture-wicking cover. Memory foams need gel or cooling tech. Look for a core designed for enhanced airflow and read reviews from heavier/hotter sleepers to verify performance.
Innerspring mattresses vary greatly in quality. Some brands emphasize coil count, but more coils don’t mean a better bed. Innerspring beds are good for heavy sleepers because they sleep cooler with good airflow. However, a low-quality innerspring bed may push on pressure points.
Look for a good wire gauge, coil count of at least 700-850 in a queen bed, and a durable comfort layer that won’t let you sink in excessively. Be aware that innerspring beds can be worse for motion transfer (i.e., bed movement), and noise.
Latex is a premium mattress material and a top choice for heavy sleepers, but is costlier. Natural latex is made from rubber tree sap while synthetic latex is from a chemical process. Both are very supportive materials, allow airflow, and sleep cooler than foams.
Latex is the most durable of mattress materials and can take lots of wear and tear. A latex mattress will cost more up-front but can have double the lifespan of other beds, so in the long-run, should cost the same or less over the useful life. Latex is a top choice for heavy sleepers.
Hybrid beds can be excellent for heavy sleepers. Look for a firm, supportive bed architected for heavier weights. These mattresses have an innerspring support core that’s good for airflow. Look for a comfort layer of latex or breathable foam that’s firm and not too thick.
When assessing a hybrid mattress, confirm that all the layers (and there can be several) are all targeted for support, less sinkage, cooling sleep, moisture-wicking, and are designed to accommodate heavier sleepers.
Sleep Issues For Heavy Couples
If you sleep with a partner and only one of you is heavy, that presents a challenge when mattress shopping. If you both are heavy sleepers, that’s also problematic. Each circumstance requires a unique approach.
Sleeping with one heavy and one light partner
When just one of you is a heavy sleeper, you can have incompatible sleep preferences and needs. While the heavier partner needs a firmer sleep surface, the lighter weight partner may find firmer beds are uncomfortable and don’t offer enough cushion.
If your partner is very lightweight, that’s an even greater disparity. Lightweight people usually need a plusher sleep surface that lets them sink in for pressure relief. That is the worst effect for a heavier person and can lead to hot sleep and hammocking.
For those with wildly different sleep needs due to weight, you should consider a dual design bed, also called a split design. With these, each side of the bed is different and constructed for the needs of each sleeper. This may be your best approach to individual quality sleep.
Concerns for two heavy sleepers together
When both sleep partners are heavy, you must have a bed of greater durability, that’s ultra-supportive, and designed to accommodate more weight without breakdown. You should look for a bed specifically crafted to accommodate heavy sleepers.
If you both run hot, consider a premium sleep system such as latex or one with cooling features. Some advanced beds have built-in air circulating tech that blows cool air into the mattress to keep it sleeping comfortably, no matter how hot you run.
5 Best Mattresses for Heavy Sleepers
|Manufacturer||Model||Mattress Type||Price (Queen)|
|Alexander Signature Series||Memory Foam||$1,199|
Top-5 Heavy Sleepers Mattress Reviews
Helix is a four-layer hybrid mattress with customized firmness targeted to your needs. It has a 4” base layer of high-quality polyfoam. Next is a 2” support core of pocket coils for cooling. There are two comfort layers. One is 2” of high-density foam and then a 2” layer of Helix’s proprietary Dynamic Foam for comfort and contour. The specific design is based on a sleep quiz.
Helix makes a customized bed for you based on data including your height, weight, whether you co-sleep with someone, and other preferences. The bed is designed to support a combined weight of 500 pounds or a single sleeper up to 350 pounds. The high-density foams are supportive, and the customized design can help heavy sleepers get the support they need.
The mattress has a max weight of 500 pounds, so if you sleep with a partner that’s also heavy, it might not be sturdy enough for you both. The foam in the upper layer is proprietary and designed for coolness, but if you’re heavy and run quite hot, it might be problematic. Helix is a newer company, so they’re still building a reputation and track record in the industry.
Why Choose Helix
The Dynamic Foam performs well and won’t let you sink into the bed which is excellent for heavier weight sleepers. The $995 price point is affordable, and for $195 extra you can get a dual design in the queen, king, or California king bed. That means each side of the bed is customized for the individual and is great for a heavy sleeper with a lighter partner.
Nest Bedding Signature Series
The Nest Signature is a four-layer all-foam mattress. The 6” base is dense foam with solid edge support. Above that is 2” of SmartFlow foam for breathability and cooling. There is a dual comfort layer with 1” Visco memory foam and 1.5” cooling gel memory foam. The 1” top layer is temperature regulating stretch fabric with cooling memory foam quilted into it.
It comes in two firmness options, but heavy sleepers should stick to the firmer bed. The Nest Signature Series is impressive because it can accommodate up to 900 pounds. The bed is designed to sleep cooler, and the foams are high grade, so they can support heavy sleepers without compressing, sagging, or breaking down.
Because it’s a foam bed, it will sleep warmer than innerspring or latex, but the cooling tech in Nest’s memory foam is impressive. As a newer company (founded in 2012), there’s no long-term data on durability yet, but their customers love them, and the materials are high quality and should last, even for heavy sleepers.
Why Choose Nest Signature
The upper threshold weight limit of the Signature Series is high enough to accommodate most people, even very heavy sleepers. The Nest comes in two firmness levels, but those with greater body weight should stick to the firmer option. It offers the contouring sleep of memory foam but in a firmer bed that doesn’t let you sink in deeply, even if you’ve got a high BMI.
Saatva is an innerspring mattress. There is a fiber pad bottom and then a 7” support core of tempered steel hourglass coils. Over that is a 4” layer of pocket coils designed for comfort and contour. Both coil layers are encased in a polyfoam perimeter. The upper comfort layer is memory foam designed for lumbar support all inside an organic cotton cover.
The dual layer of coils ensure breathability and cool sleep in this mattress. The bed will support a maximum of 300 pounds on each side for 600 pounds total support capability. The bed comes in three firmness options, but heavy sleepers should look at the firmest option and skip the optional Euro-pillowtop.
Because this is not a bed in a box and is delivered uncompressed, you must be home to accept delivery. That may be a hassle. The double coils are great for breathability and cool sleep but can contribute to some motion transfer (movement of the bed). Innerspring beds sometimes break down faster with heavy use, but the quality of the wire gauge used by Saatva is top-notch.
Why Choose Saatva
At less than $1,000, Saatva’s price point is impressive for quality materials and should perform well for heavy sleepers. Other pluses are eco-friendly foam, recycled steel in its coils, and organic cotton in the cover. The 11.5” slimline bed in the Saatva Firm is recommended and offers the sensation of sleeping “on” rather than “in” the bed which is preferred by most heavy sleepers.
The WinkBeds PLUS is a 14.5” foam and latex hybrid. HD foam is the base layer and surrounds the coils for edge support. The support core is pocket coils zoned with hyper support under the hips and abdomen. A lumbar support pad is under a second layer of coils for contour, and there is a dual comfort layer of cooling proprietary foam and latex under a moisture-wicking Tencel® cover.
The WinkBeds PLUS is specifically designed for heavy sleepers that weigh 300 pounds or more. The dual coil layers ensure lots of airflow for cooler sleep. The latex adds more durability and responsiveness for weighty sleepers and keeps you from sinking into the bed. The bed is thoughtfully designed for support and cooling – critical concerns to those carrying extra weight.
The PLUS is rated 6.5 for firmness, but that’s for a heavier person. If you have a lighter sleep partner, the bed will feel much firmer to them. For those that sleep extra hot, WinkBeds offers a cooling base to blow cool air into the mattress. It’s a great upgrade, but at $2,200, it’s a bit steep especially with the $1,499 price point for the mattress alone.
Why Choose WinkBeds PLUS
The materials and architecture of WinkBeds PLUS were all developed with heavy sleepers in mind. The high-density foams and latex should offer responsiveness, support, bounce, and comfort for even the heaviest of sleepers. The Tencel® cover and cooling comfort layers contribute to a superior sleep experience for heavier sleepers.
The Zenhaven is an all-latex bed with five layers in its flippable mattress. One side of the bed is firmer and one softer. There are two support cores, each 3” thick, in the core of the bed and two 1.5” comfort layers on either side. All four layers are high-grade 100% natural latex. On each outer side is a thick batting layer of organic New Zealand wool covered in organic cotton.
Latex is an excellent material for heavy sleepers because it’s very durable, has bounce, and won’t leave you sinking in and sleeping hot. Zenhaven’s support latex is zoned for pushback under the heaviest parts of your body to keep your spine aligned. The Zenhaven has no maximum weight limit, but above 600 pounds on the bed, the lifespan might not run as long.
The Zenhaven is not a budget bed as it runs $1,899 for a queen. However, you get a lot for the money including healthy, supportive, all-natural latex in a mattress designed to last 20 years. With heavy wear and tear, it might not hit that benchmark but still should last longer than other mattress materials for heavy sleepers.
Why Choose Zenhaven
Zenhaven has a solid reputation and makes great products. Latex is a premium sleep material that any heavy sleeper should carefully consider. Even though the bed is costlier up front, because of its longer lifespan, you get a lot of value for your purchase dollar in the long-run. Latex offers a supportive, cool sleep experience for heavy sleepers.
How is Firmness Measured?
Mattress firmness is rated on a scale of one to ten, ten being the firmest and one being the softest. Of course the experience of firmness will differ greatly from person to person, depending on their size and weight distribution, but this scale offers us a general way to compare firmness between different mattress brands and models.
Doctors and chiropractors roundly agree that firmer beds are better for general health and well-being than softer ones, but how does that advice relate to this measurement scale?
Generally speaking, mattresses rated above the five mark will be better suited to fit the needs of people seeking a mattress that provides a greater than average amount of support. However, there are several other key factors to take into account beyond the firmness rating. The materials, amount of customizability, and the number of layers used when constructing the mattress can all affect the overall feeling of firmness that a sleeper will ultimately experience.
Is a Firm Mattress Right for You?
Although, as stated above, doctors tend to recommend a firmer mattress for healthy, restful sleep, it’s not the ideal choice for every type of sleeper. Those who tend to be light sleepers, or who primarily sleep on their side, will benefit greatly from a softer mattress.
Firmness is not a universal concept though. Many people will have very different impressions of the same mattress from one another. This has to do with many aspects, but the big three are size, weight, and weight distribution.
If you are 160 pounds, but most of your weight is located in your middle section, this is going to affect your overall experience of a mattress and its level of firmness or softness. If your midsection is properly supported but your head and feet feel like they are resting on solid rock, there is a disconnect between how the different regions of your body are reacting to that specific bed. This is why it’s important to test out different beds in person so that you can get a general feeling for how mattress firmness is experienced by your unique body type.
Firmer beds are better suited for heavy sleepers, those who primarily sleep on their back or stomach, and larger or heavier than average body types. It’s also highly recommended for people who suffer from certain types of back pain.
Hot sleepers may also find relief in a firmer mattress. By providing a greater amount of support, there is less heat transfer between the surface of the bed and the body of the sleeper. There are a variety of new technologies which aid in this effect, such as Celliant fabric, but a hard mattress will almost always provide a greater extent of success in this region than its softer counterparts.
Back Pain Sufferers.
Back pain is a critically important factor in the decision of whether you are the right candidate for a firm or extra firm bed or not. There is a large body of science to support the claim that a firm bed will provide better care for those suffering from pain issues. That’s because the curvature of the spine needs to be properly cradled and supported throughout the night to ensure that it is resting in a shape which is similar to its shape in an upright position. A firmer bed is better equipped to keep spinal alignment in a healthy range no matter which position a sleeper tends to maintain.
Side sleepers watch out.
People who sleep on their side, or sleep very lightly, report a less comfortable experience of firm beds. That’s because the pressure points on the body receive a greater deal of stress when you lie on your side, so a mattress has to respond with more softness and cradling.
If a bed is too firm it may affect how soundly a person sleeps as well. If they already tend to be light sleepers this can cause a person to wake up during the night, which leads to a greater amount of strain on the whole body system. This would certainly imply a need for a softer mattress. Looking into a hybrid option which offers the best of both worlds may also be an attractive options for people who are looking for the optimal support of a firm mattress but need the softness and sinkage of a softer bed.
Heavier than average body types will require a firmer mattress overall, but their impression of the rating scale will differ greatly from people who are smaller than them. This is why it’s very important to make sure you are getting information from a place of personal experience and research so that the information you find in your search for the perfect bed will be relevant to your specific body type and experience.
Benefits of a Firm Mattress
There are a wide variety of benefits to choosing a firm bed. First of all, when a bed is more firm, it is less likely to sag with age. This is incredibly important for heavier than average body types who move around a good bit throughout the night. If your bed is having to adjust to your movements and a large amount of weight, its overall construction will suffer greatly over time.
A firm mattress also provides a larger amount of edge support. If you have significant back pain and have a difficult time getting in and out of bed, this is going to be a very important factor for you to consider. A bed that is softer is going to maintain its shape for a shorter amount of time, and although you may be able to get in and out of bed fairly easily at the beginning, after a couple of years you may find that it gets significantly more difficult as the response and durability of the edges start to break down.
Sleepers who experience an unpleasant amount of heat during the night report a much better amount of airflow, and less trapped body heat when using a firm or very firm mattress. This, combined with greater bounce and a substantially increased amount of reaction, make firmness an important aspect of a mattresses qualifications for couples. Sharing a bed means adjusting to another person’s weight, as well as having to take into account a doubled amount of body heat. All of these reasons combined show a broad range of reasons to choose a firm or extra firm bed, depending on your needs.
Foam mattresses are typically constructed using latex foam, memory foam, high-density foam, or some combination of the three. Companies have also recently started incorporating polyurethane and visco-elastic foams with a portion of plant-based content.
Although not traditionally considered to be great materials for achieving a mattress that rates high on the firmness scale, new advancements in mattress technology have raised the profile of firm foam bedding options significantly. There are now a wide variety of options available which satisfy the need for support and hardness in a mattress while also providing the comfort and sinkage associated with foam.
There are two main types of latex available on the market today, those being latex derived using the Talalay or the Dunlop process. Latex is generally created using a blend of the latex of the rubber tree and synthetic latex, which is made from petrochemicals, as well as other substances and fillers.
Latex has seen a resurgence in popularity with the increase in new latex materials which can provide a more durable and supportive product for the needs of the market. The amount of latex models which advertise impressive amounts of firmness and responsiveness is ever growing, with no sign of slowing down.
Hybrid mattresses are made using a mixture of foam and innerspring technologies (usually individually pocketed coils). Hybrid mattresses allow a mattress company to offer as wide a range of options within one product as possible. This means that someone who has very defined needs from their mattress can find options to meet all of their needs without having to spend an exorbitant amount of money to achieve that aim.
Innerspring is the traditional bed designs that most of us grew up sleeping on. They have also experienced the same influx of scientific research being implemented to increase the quality and diversity of options available for this bedding material option.
Traditionally known for offering a high amount of support and bounce, these materials have developed in the use of individually pocketed coils to offer less motion transference and a greater amount of contouring to fit the specific shape of the sleepers unique body shape.