Is a One-Size-Fits-All Mattress a Thing?

If you’ve been shopping for anything at least once in your life, you know that one-size-fits-all products are super iffy. One-size-fits-all muscle shirts are really just smedium-sized—yes, SMEDIUM— muscle shirts, and those free size leggings you’ve been eyeing are only free size if you’re not exceptionally thin or larger than the average bear.

And if these examples are anything to go by, one-size-fits-all items definitely shouldn’t be a thing.

Even though you know this deep down inside, you just keep buying any mattress that promises a good night’s sleep. Because mattresses are different from other products...right?

Nothing, as it turns out, could be further from the truth, so let’s break down the myth of the one-size-fits-all mattress.

Sleep Position Under 175lb 175lb to 225lb 225lb & Up
Side Sleeper Soft to Medium Memory Foam Soft to Medium Memory Foam Soft to Medium Hybrid Coil
Front Sleeper Medium to Firm Memory Foam Medium-Firm to Firm Memory Foam Firm Hybrid Coil
Back Sleeper Medium to Firm Memory Foam Medium-Firm to Firm Memory Foam Firm Hybrid Coil

Side Sleeper or Back Sleeper?

While your favorite mattress company may claim that it sells the best mattresses on the market, The myth of a one-size-fits-all mattress is easily dispelled on the basis of one factor alone: your favorite sleeping position(s).

That’s right. Side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers require different types of mattresses in order to get a good night’s rest. To be more exact, different sleepers need mattresses of varying degrees of firmness.

The general recommendations are as follows:

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers should stick to mattresses which fall somewhere in the soft to medium firm range. Doing so will allow them to maintain their spinal health.

This has everything to do with how your shoulders and hips sink into a mattress. Because these parts of the body protrude more than others (i.e. your abdomen, which sinks deep into any surface beneath you), you need a mattress that’s soft enough to accomodate for your body’s contours.

Stomach Sleepers

If you’re a stomach sleeper, your torso is constantly putting pressure on your spine at night. In order to minimize this pressure, you’ll require a mattress that’s on the firmer side of things.

The recommendation makes sense if you think about it for a second. Super soft mattresses allow your torso to sink deep into them, thereby putting more pressure on your spine. That constant forward tug on your spine can wreak havoc on your spinal health over time.

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers, like stomach sleepers, need firm mattresses. The reasoning is similar to the reasoning given in the last section.

The only difference here is that your spine sags in the opposite direction if you’re a back sleeper who uses a mattress that’s too soft for your sleeping position. Instead of experiencing that forward tug on your spine, you experience a backwards tug.

Short or Tall, Big or Small: Size Matters

Your sleeping position isn’t the only piece of the puzzle here. Size matters as well.

Many of us aren’t built like Tyra Banks in her glory days or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on his best day, which reportedly amounts to stuffing over 250 pounds of muscle into one of those smedium muscle shirts we talked about eariler. We all come in different shapes and sizes, and our mattress selection should reflect that reality.

Of course, there is no hard and fast rule in place here. There isn’t, for example, a strict cutoff weight at which you suddenly need a firm mattress rather than a medium firm mattress.

Keep this in mind as we outline the effects your weight can have on how your mattress sleeps.

Under 175 Pounds

People who weigh less than 175 pounds typically sleep best on a medium firm mattress. Some may prefer firmer mattresses, but there is little need for most people in this weight class to go for ultra firm mattresses since firmer mattresses don’t provide much give in the shoulder or hip areas.

And having at least a little give is pretty important for spinal alignment.

175 to 225 Pounds

Sleepers who fall on the heavier side (175 to 225 pounds) need firmer mattresses than lighter sleepers. The additional firmness is necessary to prevent mattresses from sagging over time as a result of the extra force constantly being put on them.

Over 225 Pounds

If you weigh more than 225 pounds, we recommend that you leave behind memory foam mattresses and instead choose a hybrid mattress. There are a couple of reasons for this.