I am a back sleeper by necessity with sleep apnea. Mattress recs?
February 4, 2017 4:00 PM   Subscribe

I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea a couple years ago. While I don't use a CPAP, I did have surgery and I use an oral appliance at night. This remedies the sleep apnea so long as I am on my back. Are you back sleeper who absolutely loves their mattress? Please share :-)

More info: If I roll onto my side, the problems start. It's not so much the case with stomach sleeping, but it's difficult with the oral appliance so I prefer not to sleep like so.

The problem is my current mattress is becoming uncomfortable to sleep on my back. It's too soft. I wake up in the middle of the night with a sore back, which means I start tossing and turning or ending up on my side, which then aggravates the OSA.

Another problem with the current mattress is it's a cheapo memory foam mattress, so it traps heat. Despite putting a wool topper on it along with sleeping on top of my comforter, it still traps heat below me, again causing me to eventually toss and turn.

TLDR: can you recommend a mattress that will not trap heat and is great for a someone who *needs* to sleep on their back?

P.S. - I am open to memory foam mattress suggestions so long as they mitigate trapping heat.
posted by hobodeluxe to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I have both sleep apnea and a bad back. As such, I use a hard mattress. I think it is some sort of Sealy model. I keep from rolling over by putting a wedge I purchased at a medical supply store under my legs. That position with my legs on the wedge helps both relieving pressure on the lower back and keeps me there. For me, sleeping on my back with my legs straight is not so comfortable regardless of the mattress used and its firmness (or not).

As for trapping heat, I have no experience with or understanding of the issue.
posted by AugustWest at 6:39 PM on February 4, 2017

You can start tonight while you're mulling over mattress ideas. Just put a pillow under your legs (knees) and it will relieve lower back pressure as the other poster said. I didn't realize they have special wedges for this.
posted by Coffeetyme at 7:03 PM on February 4, 2017

If you want something that you can try first, I can highly recommend Casper Mattress. I got one from them. They give a 100 day free trial with return shipping at their cost if you don't like it. There are quite a few discount codes to give you $50 off if you like as well.
posted by slavlin at 7:43 PM on February 4, 2017

Get a Helix omggggg! Like the above mentioned Casper, it has a 100 day guarantee. However! You get to take a quiz and they build the bed for you, covering things like if you get hot when you sleep, if you sleep on your back, and if you have sleep apnea. We've had ours about a month and I can't imagine having anything else. I have never ever been able to sleep on my back but on the Helix, I start on my back and then wake up in the same position, never having moved. It's amazing!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 8:51 PM on February 4, 2017

No specific rec but also consider how many pillows you use to support your head. If I have more than under my head my neck gets sore over night, it feels comfy all right while I'm in bed but I suffer the whole next day as a result.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:21 AM on February 5, 2017

Another quick fix suggestion while you figure out mattress replacement - if it's your upper back that's bothering you, a rolled towel placed lengthwise parallel to your spine beneath you can keep you from hunching in your sleep. You may have to experiment a little to get the towel roll the right circumference.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 6:30 AM on February 5, 2017

I trust The Sweethome for all of these sorts of recommendations. They have never steered me wrong. They recommend Tuft & Needle for back sleepers, but also say Casper is a good choice.
posted by decathecting at 7:13 AM on February 5, 2017

Definitely start by putting a pillow under your knees.

If your regular mattress feels too soft, you may not like a foam one like Casper or Tuft and Needle. I popped in to the T&N showroom recently and laid down for 2 seconds and felt like I was falling into the bed. People love them, but you may or may not.
posted by radioamy at 1:09 PM on February 5, 2017

After a failed too-soft-for-me mattress buy, Mr. Nat got a latex mattress from SleepEZ, which allows you to customize stiffness. And if you share with a partner who wants a softer bed, you can pick different firmnesses in the layers you choose. Also nice because if they are wrong at first you can adjust them without changing the whole mattress.

I am pretty happy with it, but I am a stomach sleeper (my mild, untreated sleep apnea is better that way). He also lives pretty close to one of their locations, so it would be very easy to exchange layers; I don't know if that's true if you need shipping.
posted by nat at 10:02 PM on February 5, 2017

Oh also my side is stiffer than his, and consequently if we look at each other while lying down, I sort of "loom" over him. But there is no noticeable edge, the transition from one side to the other is smooth.
posted by nat at 10:05 PM on February 5, 2017

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