Best Mattresses for Heavy People 2020

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Updated: May 14, 2020

Mattress Selection for Heavy People

Mattress selection is very important if you’re a big person. Your weight alone is one of the most important factors we rely on in our mattress recommendations at Start Sleeping. Your mattress is responsible for distributing your weight and supporting your body along your entire spine so you can get the best sleep possible and wake up pain-free, something many heavy people are unfortunately unable to achieve.

Sleep is critically important for anyone but even more so for big and heavy people since being overweight or simply heavy is frequently associated with comfort challenges, breathing issues, poor sleep quality, back, and neck pain. Most mattresses are designed for the average person so if you consider yourself big and tall, obese, overweight or just above average size you should carefully consider which mattress you buy - it can often make a bigger difference for you than average-sized people.

As with any mattress choice, your sleeping position, weight, and budget all go into your decision. Durability and cooling are also other factors you’ll want to think about. Fortunately, now there are many mattress options designed to properly support heavy sleepers which is great news for you.

Sleep and Your Weight

Your weight and your sleep are related. Being overweight or obese has a proven relationship with not only the amount of sleep you get but also the quality of the sleep itself. Obesity has been correlated with shorter sleeping durations in some 50 different published studies around the world and is a heavily researched and studied topic. 

Sleep apnea, a common but often undiagnosed condition among the obese is known to play a key role in reducing sleep duration, quality and can even cause dangerous and sometimes fatal sleeping conditions - if you're overweight make sure you read up on our guide to sleep apnea.

Ideal Sleep Position

Before we dive into mattress specifics, it’s important to understand what goes into an ideal sleeping position. Whether you’re big or small and regardless of your sleeping position, your goal to maintain neutral spine alignment. This means is your spine is resting in a neutral position where it is free of any twisting, flexing or tension from your muscles. While simple in concept it can be hard to achieve since your pillow, mattress and your body all need to be working together as one. This harmony can be further complicated if you’re heavier. 

Common Challenges For Heavy Sleepers

Lower Back Support - If you tend to carry your weight in your hips or butt you may have issues with lower back support both for side and back sleeping. Carrying weight in these areas will often elevate your hips forcing your lower back to bend in order to compensate. Having your back flexing like this for hours night after night can lead to serious back pain. To address this, consider using a lumbar pillow or night roll to add extra support to your lower back. You may want to experiment with different thicknesses. It also helps to have someone observe your position when laying on your bed because some of these alignment challenges are difficult to address first hand since you can see the overall position of your body.

  • Twisting Spine - A twisting spine is particularly common for those who carry their weight in their stomach and sleep on their side. The weight from your stomach can laterally pull on your middle and lower back causing a slight twist in the spine. Placing a wide enough night roll, lumbar or regular pillow can help minimize this effect.
  • Comfort - Carrying extra weight puts a strain on your body as it is. You may find many situations in your daily life where comfort is hard to achieve. Comfort in your bed may be one of the best examples of this challenge.
  • Sleep Duration - Many heavy sleepers have trouble getting enough sleep and according to CDC data, obese people self reports a high rate of frequent insufficient sleep.
  • Sleeping Hot - Obese and heavy sleepers often report trouble sleeping hot, as well as many other sleepers. With extra body mass, it’s even more critical that your mattress, pillow and bedding work on cool you down at night. Lowering your room temperature can also make a big difference if you’re not looking to replace bedding.

All these factors can work against your overall sleep quality and how well you are able to recuperate at night.

Special Considerations for Heavy People

Heavy sleepers ask a lot of their mattresses. It’s important to find a mattress that is designed for you and not someone else. While there are cheaper mass-market options out there we encourage you to shop for a mattress that is designed for someone your weight. This is one of the best ways to ensure you get the right amount of support.

  • Weight distribution - one of the most common issues heavy people run into with their mattress is its ability to level and distribute your weight across a wide area. Even if the mattress has the right level of firmness sometimes your weight can overcome the entire mattress system leading to a lack of support due to the concentration of your weight, usually in your lower torso area.
  • Firmness - Mattress firmness should have a direct relationship with your weight. Generally, the heavier you are the firmer your mattress should be. You’re looking for a balance so you need a mattress that pushes back as much as you are pushing down.
  • Durability - Heavy sleepers are tough on their mattresses and many regular mattresses are only stress tested up to 250 pounds. In addition, many warranties exclude sleepers over certain weight limits. You want a mattress that will not only last but continue to perform over time.
  • Edge Support - mattresses with good edge support make entering and exiting your bed easier and reduce the lack of support you may feel when near the edge of the bed. Many quality beds are designed with extra firmness near the edge to counter the effect. This is a great feature to look for as a heavy sleeper.
  • Mattress Base - Online mattresses have popularized the platform style mattress base that essentially eliminates the need for a box spring. Make sure you check the specs of any platform you’re considering using as many are designed to a low price point and not necessarily up to the task of supporting a heavy sleeper, especially two.
  • Mattress Type - We’ll talk in more detail below but some mattress types are not a good match for sleepers 250 lbs and above. While some types may feel comfortable and supportive not all mattress types will hold up long term.

Types of Mattresses

Foam - Foam mattresses have risen in popularity as many new brands started selling bed-in-a-box mattresses online about 10 years ago. Foam mattresses are generally a great budget-friendly option for average weight sleepers, especially side sleepers due to their ability to conform to the shape of your body. Foam mattresses start to lose their luster at and above the 250 lbs mark (a common ceiling for mattress testing and design). While there are a variety of foam mattress designs, one of the most common issues for heavy people is overcoming and compressing the 1 to 3-inch outer “comfort” layer. This can be very uncomfortable since the middle-density layer found in many foam mattresses is extremely firm. While there are a variety of foam types such as latex, memory foam, and gel most of them do not perform well for heavy sleepers 250lbs and up.

Traditional Innerspring - The traditional innerspring mattress has been around for the better part of a century and it’s changed very little. An innerspring mattress usually consists of a network of springs that are locked in a grid at the top and bottom of the springs. Since they are locked in with one another they are not the most effective with pressure point relief and simply do not conform to your body which is especially problematic for side sleepers. There are other issues such as motion transfer and noise. The two pros are durability and heat dissipation. With most of the internals of the mattress consisting of springs and air, there aren’t many materials that trap heat.

Hybrids - While there is a lot of variety in the hybrid mattress category most of them are combining features of foam and innerspring mattress designs. The result is a mattress that has the pressure relief and contouring of a memory foam mattress with the firmness and support of an innerspring mattress. In many ways, it’s the best of both worlds but we still recommend searching for a hybrid that is designed for your weight.

Our recommendation is to find a mattress that is designed, tested and warrantied to support your weight and sleeping position. Most likely mattresses that meet these requirements will be some kind of hybrid design vs a solid foam or traditional innerspring design. While there are some solid foam mattresses that can work for heavy people, it’s important to make sure the warranty covers you 4 or 5 years down the road where years of use often start to take their toll.

Best Mattresses for Heavy People

We’ve invested around 29 hours of research creating this mattress guide geared toward sleepers 250 lbs and up. We've also supplemented our research with an in-depth interview with a chiropractor who regularly helps patients with their sleeping positions and sleep-related back and neck pain. You can learn more about our review process here

Best Value

  • When it comes to value for money it’s hard to beat the Brooklyn Bedding TitanFlex. When it comes to mattresses that are designed specifically for heavy sleepers it’s hard to find a mattress at this price point. 
  • A hybrid design, our favorite mattress type for heavy sleepers offers the best of both memory foam and innerspring design and offers durability and firmness heavy sleepers need.
  • With a 10 year warranty without caveats that exclude by your weight, you can have peace of mind that this Brooklyn Bedding will stand by their product.
  • Weight Limit: 900 pounds total, or up to 450 pounds per person for you and a partner.
  • Warranty: 10 Years
  • Trial: 120 Nights

    Best Budget

    • While we will be the first to tell you that heavy sleepers typically don’t find long term success with memory foam products and they should steer clear of mattresses not designed specifically for them, that comes with one exception: the Nectar Mattress.
    • Due to the above-average firmness and best in the business warranty and above-average advertised weight limit of 650 pounds, even if you end up making a warranty claim or experiencing issues 5 or even 10 years down the road, Nectar has a history of standing by their products.
    • Weight Limit: 650 pounds total or up to 350 pounds per person for you and a partner
    • Warranty: Lifetime coined “Nectar Forever Warranty”
    • Trial: 365 Nights

      Best for Side Sleeping

      • While easily the most expensive mattress on our list the Saatava HD is a mattress designed for heavy people, and it particularly great for those of us 300 to 500 pounds.
      • While most mattresses include free shipping these days, Saatava also provides setup of your new mattress and removal of your old one, something that often becomes a headache, especially if you have a large and heavy mattress to remove. 
      • Weight Limit: 100 pounds total or up to 500 pounds per person for you and a partner
      • Warranty: 10 Years
      • Trial: 120 Nights

        Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Firm

        Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Firm - Best Mattresses for Heavy People

        Best for Stomach and Back Sleeping

        • The Aurora from Brooklyn Bedding is a great choice for heavy stomach and back sleepers as it is available in a firm option and includes very high weight limits in its design.
        • Includes cutting edge and patented materials designed to provide a cooling and supportive sleeping experience.
        • Weight Limit: 900 pounds or up to 450 lbs per person for you and a partner
        • Warranty: 10 Years
        • Trial: 120 Nights

          Best Cooling (people under 300 lbs)

          • While purple is another mattress not exclusively designed for heavys sleepers it’s unique design offers the best cooling, a common complaint among heavy sleepers. It also does properly support sleepers up to 300 lbs which is higher than the industry average of 250 lbs.
          • With free shipping and returns, purple offers a truly risk-free trial experience.
          • Weight Limit: 600 lbs total or up to 300 lbs per person for you and a partner
          • Warranty: 10 Years
          • Trial 100 Nights

            Comparison Table

            Mattress

            Type

            Warranty

            Trial

            Total Weight Limit

            Weight Limit 2 People

            TitanFlex

            Hybrid

            10 Years

            120 Nights

            900 lbs

            450 lbs

            Nectar

            Foam

            Lifetime

            365 Nights

            650 lbs

            325 lbs

            Saatava HD

            Hybrid

            20 Years

            120 Nights

            1,000 lbs

            500 lbs

            BB Aurora

            Hybrid

            10 Years

            120 Nights

            900 lbs

            450 lbs

            Purple

            Foam Hybrid

            10 Years

            100 Night

            600 lbs

            300 lbs

            FAQ

            What type of mattress for heavy people is best?

            While there is a lot of conflicting information out there about the best mattress type we’ve seen a firm hybrid mattress work the best at supporting sleepers 250 lbs and up. Hybrid mattresses, especially firm ones seem to do two things well: They contour and support the shape of your body without being overcome by a heavy person’s weight like many all-foam mattresses tend to do. Hybrid mattresses are also typically more durable and will last longer with a heavy person’s use. While this advice is general you do have to consider the warranty offered. Some mattress companies like Nectar, which makes an all-foam mattress provide a lifetime warranty and stand by their product, even for the demands of heavy sleepers.

            What is the weight limit on a mattress?

            Until recently most mattresses were not tested or designed for sleepers over 250 lbs. In fact, a lot of the machinery used to test mattresses doesn’t provide good feedback on how well mattresses will support a heavy sleeper over time. Make sure you check the weight limit and also consider the weight of your partner. Sometimes there is a high total weight limit advertised but the mattress is only designed to support half that number per side. 

            How firm should a mattress be for heavy people?

            Firmness needs are different for everyone as your weight, your mattress and your sleeping position all need to balance one another out to provide spinal alignment. Generally speaking, heavy people need a firmer mattress to provide proper resistance to their weight than an average weight sleeper would need. This is especially true for back and stomach sleepers. Heavy side sleepers can still benefit from a firm mattress but they need to ensure that the outer comfort layers of the mattress provide enough contouring to the side of their body.

            References