Getting a good night’s sleep is essential, no matter your size or weight. Sleep deprivation has dangerous consequences for your long-term health and wellness, so it’s important to find a mattress that works well for your body, so you get the sleep you need.
- Memory foam and encased coils
- Comfort and support
- Excellent motion isolation
- Flippable two-sided design
- Climate-adaptive materials
- Strong pressure relief
Most mattresses are designed for people of average body weight. The average American woman is about 140 to 150 pounds and the average male is about 180 to 200 pounds.
You may not think much about your body weight when it comes to its impact on sleep unless your BMI is on the higher end. When you’re heavier than average, you may find your mattress sags more than it should or that it doesn’t last as long as expected. If you’re lighter than average, you’ll experience different challenges, but the end result is the same: sub-par sleep.
In this article, we’ll talk about the impact of body weight on sleep and how your mattress makes a difference. We’ll also talk about choosing the best mattresses for a lightweight person and provide you with a list of our top picks.
How Bodyweight Affects Support
Before getting into the details of how being a lightweight person affects your mattress choice, let’s talk about the challenges heavy sleepers typically experience.
Large or small, heavy or light, the key to a good night’s sleep is proper support. It’s important to keep your spine in proper alignment because it prevents your muscles and joints from taking on any extra weight or strain. The trouble is your spine is curved, so your mattress needs to adjust to the curves of your spine. If your mattress prevents proper spine alignment, your muscles and joints will suffer.
The heavier you are, the more pressure your body puts on a mattress. No matter the materials or firmness level, a heavier person will sink more than a lighter person on the same mattress.
Sink isn’t always a bad thing, however. In fact, your mattress should sink a little bit under your weight. The right degree of sink is essential to relieve pressure from your joints because it’s what helps keep your spine in alignment. Think of memory foam as a good example – when you press down on it, it conforms to the shape of your hand.
The trouble with a heavier body is the mattress may sink too much. If the mattress isn’t firm enough or supportive enough, it won’t keep the spine properly aligned and the joints will bear the brunt.
Now, imagine the opposite being true for a lightweight sleeper.
If your body doesn’t weigh enough to compress the materials in your mattress, you won’t experience those pressure-relieving benefits. You may feel like you’re sleeping “on” the bed instead of “in” it. You want your mattress to compress a little bit so your spine can maintain its natural curve. If the mattress is too firm, your weight won’t be enough to activate the necessary pressure relief.[alert type=”info” icon-size=”normal”]Read Also: 10 Best Mattresses for Sleep Apnea Sufferers in 2020[/alert]
Which Type of Mattress is Best for a Skinny Person?
You’re probably wondering which type of mattress is best for a lightweight person like yourself. Before we can answer that question, however, it’s important that you understand the different mattress materials used in modern mattresses.
Here are some of the most common materials found in modern mattresses:
- Memory Foam – This material conforms to the shape of your body, cradling it to relieve pressure. Specialized memory foams are sometimes infused with cooling materials like copper or gel because traditional memory foam can trap heat.
- Innerspring – The traditional mattress most people are familiar with is the innerspring, typically made with a single continuous coil as the base.
- Pocket Coils – Modern spring mattresses often utilize individual coils called pocketed coils which are typically encased in fabric. These offer improved motion isolation over continuous coils.
- Latex – While similar to memory foam in its contouring properties, latex tends to have a little less sink and more bounce in addition to sleeping a little bit cooler.
- Hybrid – These mattresses combine two or more different materials, typically a pocketed coil base with a top made of memory foam or latex.
Given what you learned in the previous section and what you now know about modern mattress materials, you probably have a good guess about the best mattress for a skinny person. If you’re thinking memory foam, you’re right! Memory foam and softer hybrid mattresses are generally best.
What to Look for in a New Mattress
Memory foam is a great option for small and lightweight sleepers because it is the most responsive. That being said, there are different types of memory foam and mattresses come in different firmness levels. You’ll need to consider the different options available and make the right choice for yourself.
Here are factors to consider when shopping for a new mattress:
- Choose a mattress with a fair degree of sink so it conforms to the contours of your body instead of leaving you lying on top of an unresponsive mattress – memory foam works well.
- Think about heat transfer, particularly if you’re sharing your bed with a partner. Look for something that supports temperature neutrality instead of absorbing body heat.
- Consider the size of the mattress as well. If you weigh significantly less than your partner, you may want a larger mattress to put a little more distance between you for weight distribution.
- Factor in your sleeping style when choosing the right level of firmness. Side sleepers need a slightly softer mattress than back/stomach sleepers to relieve pressure on the hips and shoulders.
- Determine an ideal price range but try to be flexible in your budget. It’s always important to consider the cost, but don’t shop by cost alone or you may not make the best choice.
- Think about the mattress thickness, aiming for something in the 8 to 12-inch range. A 10-inch mattress is standard and should work well but avoid anything too thick.
The Best Mattresses for a Lightweight Person
Generally speaking, memory foam is a good choice for lightweight people and you’ll probably need a mattress on the softer side. That being said, the majority of our picks are all-foam mattresses rated 3 to 5 on the 10-point firmness scale. If you prefer a slightly firmer mattress, we encourage you to choose something in the medium range between 5 and 7.
Here are our top picks for the best mattress for a lightweight person:
Best Overall: As we’ve already said, there is no singular “best” mattress for skinny people. The right mattress is largely a matter of preference. That being said, our top choice overall is a mattress that has a plush feel but still offers plenty of support for proper spinal alignment. It is a hybrid mattress that sleeps cool and has a luxurious feel – the Casper Nova Hybrid.
The Casper Nova Hybrid falls somewhere around 4/10 on the firmness scale, making it medium-soft. It’s 12 inches thick, but part of that comes from the fact that it is a hybrid mattress. The Nova is built on a base of individually encased pocketed coils which deliver the optimal degree of lift, support, and airflow. There’s also a firm border to ensure optimal edge support, even if you sleep with a partner who is heavier than you. It also ensures that you won’t have trouble getting out of bed.
On top of the coil base, the Nova Hybrid features three layers of foam. Right above the coils you have a layer of Zoned Support Pro foam which relieves pressure from the shoulders while providing additional support at the waist, lower back, and hips to ensure proper spine alignment. Next comes a layer of AirScape foam with 3 ergonomic zones for optimal support. On top you’ll find another layer of AirScape foam, this one with small perforations to increase airflow. Overall, the mattress has a plush, velvety soft feel.
- Pros: Luxury hybrid design, optimal combination of softness and support, excellent pressure relief
- Cons: Fairly expensive compared to other models, some may find it a little too thick (12 inches)
Best Luxury: Finding the perfect mattress is difficult, so when you finally do you want to make sure it’s going to last. Durability requires high-quality materials and thoughtful construction and, unfortunately, often comes with a higher price tag. If you’re looking for a luxury mattress you can enjoy for years to come, we recommend the Helix Moonlight Luxe, one of Helix’s softest mattresses.
The Helix Moonlight Luxe rated 2-3 on a 10-point firmness scale and is made with a luxury hybrid construction. This mattress is built on a foundation of DuraDense foam with a Zoned Body Shape Layer of over 1,000 individually encased coils. Next comes a transition layer of high-grade polyfoam topped with support and comfort layers of Helix Dynamic Foam. It’s all topped off with a breathable premium pillow top to keep you cool and comfortable while you sleep. What more could you ask for?
In case you’re not sure whether you want to spend this much on a mattress, you’ll be glad to know the Helix Moonlight Luxe comes with a 100-night sleep trial with free shipping and hassle-free returns. You also have the option to downgrade to the original Helix Moonlight for a savings of a few hundred dollars. You’ll sacrifice a layer of foam but you’ll still enjoy plush comfort and contouring support.
- Pros: Luxury features including quilted pillow top, great for back and stomach sleepers, soft feel
- Cons: A little off-gassing at first, somewhat noisy due to the springs
Best Memory Foam: If you weigh less than the “average sleeper,” you may not get the same benefit as someone heavier from a medium or firm mattress. Having the option to choose something softer is a good start, but you also need to pay attention to the materials from which the mattress is made. The Layla memory foam mattress is the ideal choice because it is soft, and the memory foam materials offer excellent pressure relief. Plus, it is affordably priced under $1,000.
Not only is the Layla memory foam mattress made from premium foam materials, but it features a dual-sided design. This mattress is constructed with a 4-inch middle of support core foam, surrounded by layers of Max Airflow support foam and copper gel memory foam. It is soft on one side and firm on the other, so you can choose between a 4 or a 7 on a 10-point firmness scale. Layla offers free shipping on all orders with a 120-night money-back guarantee and a lifetime warranty.
- Pros: Flippable two-sided design, copper-infused memory foam for cooling, comfort and support
- Cons: Slow response foam may make it tough to change positions
Best Gel Foam: Though memory foam is a great choice for lightweight sleepers, some people find it sleeps too hot. As an alternative, we’d suggest gel foam. Our top pick for the best gel foam mattress is the Idle Sleep Gel Plush mattress which is rated 4.5 to 5.5 on a 10-point firmness scale. This mattress features Rapid Response Technology, contouring to your body for optimal pressure relief without sinking so much that you feel stuck or unsupported.
Made with the latest memory foam technology, the Idle Sleep Gel Plush mattress keeps you cool at night. Idle Cooling Buoyancy Foam is made without visco elastic chemicals, so it sleeps cool but offers the same pressure relief you’d expect from memory foam. This mattress is CertiPUR-US Certified and comes with the peace-of-mind of a “Warranty Without End,” not to mention an 18-month trial period.
- Pros: Sleeps cooler than traditional memory foam, excellent pressure relief, conforms to body contours
- Cons: Could be stronger in edge support, not flippable like other Idle Sleep models
Best Dual-Sided: Why settle for a one-sided mattress when you don’t have to? The Nolah Signature flippable mattress has both a soft and a firm side so, essentially, you get two mattresses for the price of one. It is a 12-inch mattress with an organic cotton cover for an added degree of luxury. Every Nolah mattress ships free and comes with a 120-night trial period and a lifetime warranty.
As a double-sided mattress, the Nolah Signature gives you the option to choose your firmness level. Select from a soft (4-5/10) or firm (7-8/10) side according to your preference and sleeping style simply by flipping the mattress to one side or the other.
The Nolah Signature mattress is made with proprietary Nolah AirFoam that offers superior durability, pressure relief, and breathability to traditional memory foam. Nolah’s unique AirFoam is fast responding, so you won’t feel stuck in the mattress. Plus, the mattress is 100% made in the USA so you can feel good about giving it a try.
- Pros: Two-sided design for custom firmness, cooling foam for comfort, 120-night trial period
- Cons: May not be a good choice for heavyweight sleepers, somewhat pricier than other options
Best Hybrid: Hybrid mattresses are a great option for lightweight sleepers because you get the pressure relief of memory foam without sacrificing the support and stability of a coil base. It’s a particularly good fit if you sleep with a partner who weighs a little more than you do. Our top pick for the best hybrid mattress for lightweight sleepers is the Leesa Legend.
The Leesa Legend starts with a foundation of over 1,000 individually wrapped pocketed coils to deliver edge-to-edge support. It also offers enhanced motion isolation for all body types. On top of the coils comes a layer of micro-pocket springs and exclusive foam which provides targeted pressure relief for the hips and shoulders. The top of the mattress consists of two layers of memory foam, one of which is perforated to maximize breathability, with a lightweight fabric cover to finish things off. The Leesa Legend comes with a risk-free, 100-night trial, free delivery, and a 10-year warranty.
- Pros: Great for lightweight sleepers, excellent pressure relief, dual coil design for edge-to-edge support
- Cons: May be too soft for stomach sleepers, may not be firm enough for heavier sleepers
Best for Side Sleepers: Sleeping on your side can be rough on your shoulders and hips, especially if your mattress is too firm. For lightweight sleepers, we recommend the Helix Sunset because it is perfectly plush but still offers plenty of support for optimal spine alignment. You also have the option to upgrade to the Helix Sunset Luxe, a luxury hybrid mattress featuring advanced sleep technology.
The Helix Sunset is built on a layer of DuraDense foam topped with a set of Zoned Body Shape coils to make sure your body and back are properly supported. For cushioning and contouring support, these coils are topped with a transition layer of Helix Dynamic Foam and a layer of Memory Plus foam. The mattress is covered with lightweight stretch fabric optimized for airflow.
The Helix Sunset is rated 2-3 on a 10-point firmness scale but if you find that a little too soft, there are plenty of other options. Like all Helix mattresses, the Sunset ships for free and comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty. Helix mattresses are proudly made in the USA.
- Pros: Affordably priced under $1,000, designed for pressure relief, good choice for side sleepers
- Cons: A little off-gassing at first, somewhat noisy due to the springs
Best for Back/Stomach Sleepers: When you sleep on your back or stomach, you need a mattress firm enough to keep your hips and shoulders from sinking, which can throw your spine out of alignment. It shouldn’t be so firm, however, that it creates pressure points. Our top pick for lightweight sleepers is the Puffy Lux mattress.
The Puffy Lux mattress is rated medium-plush and it features an all-foam construction designed for cooling comfort and pressure relief. This mattress is made with four layers of premium foam materials, including an exclusive layer of Plush Dual Cloud Foam. This combination of materials ensures the perfect combination of balanced support and contouring for enhanced spine alignment
We also like this mattress for combination sleepers because it delivers the ideal combination of contouring and support without swallowing you up. Puffy offers free shipping on all mattresses as well as a 101-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty, so you really have nothing to lose.
- Pros: Designed for cooling comfort and support, climate-adaptive materials, strong pressure relief
- Cons: Significantly more expensive than many models, may not be firm enough for stomach sleepers
Best for Hot Sleepers: Memory foam is a great option for lightweight sleepers, but some people find it sleeps too hot. If you’re concerned about overheating at night, we recommend the original Nectar mattress. This all-foam mattress is designed to keep you cool while delivering the pressure-relief you need for comfort.
The original Nectar mattress features two layers of gel memory foam topped with a Tencel fabric cover that wicks away moisture. It’s all arranged on top of a stabilizing base layer of reinforcing foam which delivers plenty of spinal support. For an added degree of plush comfort, you’ll also enjoy a quilted memory foam topper. Upgrade your comfort with the new Nectar Premier, featuring PCM-infused gel memory foam for enhanced cooling, comfort, and support. Try a Nectar mattress risk-free for a full year. If you decide it isn’t the perfect fit, simply contact Nectar to arrange a return and you’ll receive a full refund – no questions asked.
- Pros: Long 365-night trial period, multi-layer foam construction, excellent pressure relief.
- Cons: May not be firm enough for heavy sleepers, foam may be slow to respond
Best for Couples: If you share your bed with a partner, you may need to choose something that works for both of you. The Dreamcloud is a hybrid mattress that may be a little firmer than is ideal for a lightweight sleeper, but the pillow top may provide the cushioning you need to relieve pressure without compromising on support or comfort.
The Dreamcloud is a luxury hybrid mattress that combines multiple types of foam with an individually encased coil base. With a lightweight cover made from Mongolian cashmere and a TrueLoft EuroTop, this mattress really delivers on comfort. High-density gel memory foam provides support while helping support temperature neutrality and the Edge Shield coil system offers edge-to-edge support for all sleeping styles. Try the mattress for a full year and, if you decide it’s not quite right, you can return it for a full refund.
- Pros: Generous 365-night trial period, luxury hybrid construction, strong edge support
- Cons: May be too firm for lightweight sleepers, 15-inch depth may require deep sheets
It can be tough to find the perfect mattress, but things get a even more complicated when you don’t fit the description of the “average sleeper” most mattresses are designed for.
If you’re a lightweight sleeper, you may need to choose a mattress on the softer side. Memory foam is a great option, though hybrid mattresses work well too. We’ve done our best to compile a varied list of options for you to consider – check them out above!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the best sleeping position for lightweight sleepers? – When it comes to choosing a sleeping position, it has more to do with comfort than body weight. That being said, if you are particularly skinny you may find certain positions more comfortable. If you’re a side-sleeper, you may feel extra pressure on your hips and shoulders. Switching to your back might help, or you can change to a softer mattress that offers more pressure relief.
- Do I need a mattress designed for petite sleepers? – Not necessarily. The most important thing is to find a mattress that works well for you – consider factors like body weight, sleeping style, and personal preferences. If you sleep with a partner, you may need to make compromises. You don’t necessarily need a mattress specifically designed for smaller sleepers but take your size into account when choosing the mattress material and firmness level.
- Is a memory foam mattress good for skinny people? – Yes, memory foam is an excellent option for lightweight sleepers because it is very responsive. This simply means the material sinks under pressure, so it will contour to the shape of your body. Contouring is essential for pressure relief and proper spine alignment.
- How long does a mattress last? – Most experts recommend replacing your mattress after 7 to 8 years, but it really depends on the support it delivers. If your mattress is made from low-quality materials, it may not last as long as a higher-quality mattress. That being said, someone who is lightweight won’t put as much wear and tear on the mattress as a heavier person. If you sleep with a partner, however, one side may wear out more quickly. Rotating your mattress every few months helps to ensure even wear.