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.
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 rather than the lower 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 mattress for a skinny person and provide you with a list of our top picks.
What is the Best Mattress for a Lightweight (Skinny) Person?
How Bodyweight Affects Support
The easiest way to help you understand the challenges you may experience with your mattress as a lightweight person is to first talk about the issues heavy sleepers typically experience.
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 the pressure relieving mattress. 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.
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 relief pressure. Specialized memory foams are sometimes infused with cooling materials like copper or gel because traditional memory foam sometimes traps 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 – 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/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 Mattress 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. It 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. Simply try the bed for 100 nights and if you’re not satisfied you can return it for a full refund.
- 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 as well. This mattress is designed 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 as well.
- 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 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 Latex: Even gel foam sleeps a little warm for some and, for others, it simply doesn’t have enough bounce. If you’re looking for a plush mattress that responds to your body a little more than traditional memory foam, latex might be just what you need. We recommend the Bloom mattress from Brooklyn Bedding.
Not only is the Bloom mattress from Brooklyn Bedding made with natural Talalay latex, but it features a luxury hybrid design that incorporates a supportive base of over 1,000 individually encased coils. The whole mattress is built on a 1-inch high-density foam base to prevent excessive compression with a 3-inch top layer of Talalay latex for pressure relief. This mattress is made with a plush cover crafted from Joma wool and organic cotton to ensure exceptional breathability and natural moisture wicking.
- Pros: Made with natural latex and organic cotton, three firmness levels, luxury hybrid design
- Cons: May be a little pricier than similar models, could be stronger in edge support
Best Dual-Sided: Why settle for a one-sided mattress when you don’t have to? The Nolah Signature flippable mattress has a soft and a firm side so, essentially, you get two mattresses for the price of one. It is a 12-inch mattress with a luxurious 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 to choose 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 Couples: If you share your bed with a partner, you may have to make some compromises when it comes to choosing a mattress. Our top pick for couples is the Amerisleep AS3 because it is an all-foam mattress that works well for most sleepers. It’s not too firm for lightweight sleepers like yourself but not too soft for someone a little heavier than you. It offers excellent pressure relief and zoned lumbar support.
The AS3 is designed with an ultra-breathable cover and a sturdy Bio-Core base layer as well as a comfort layer of Bio-Pur foam. With its open-cell design, this foam keeps you cool but it has the right degree of bounce, so you never feel stuck. With its Targeted Pressure Relief system, this mattress is great for all types of sleepers because it keeps your spine in proper alignment no matter how you sleep.
In addition to being affordable, the Amerisleep AS3 comes with a risk-free, 100-night trial as well as free shipping and returns. If you end up keeping it, you’ll be protected by a 20-year warranty.
- Pros: Five models to choose from, plant-based Bio-Pur materials, targeted pressure relief system
- Cons: Could be stronger in edge support, may not have enough bounce for some 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. 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.
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, throwing 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 Body Adapting 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 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. Try the 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, comfort and support
- Cons: May not be firm enough for heavy sleepers, foam may be slow to respond
It can be tough to find the perfect mattress, but things get a little 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 what you find comfortable than your body weight. That being said, if you are particularly skinny you may find certain positions more comfortable. If you’re sleeping on the mattress and you sleep on your side, you may find extra pressure being exerted on your hips and shoulders. Switching to your back might help, or you can change to a new 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 – that comes down to more than just body weight. You need to think about your personal preferences as well as your sleeping style. If you sleep with a partner, you’ll need to find something that works for the two of you. You don’t necessarily need to choose 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. As long as you choose a memory foam mattress soft enough, you should have no trouble simply because you are lightweight.
- 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.