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Are Pillowtop Mattresses Good For Your Back?

Are pillowtop mattresses good for your back? Yes, pillow top mattresses provide optimal support and comfort for your back, ensuring a restful night’s sleep. They are designed to contour to your body’s unique shape, distributing weight evenly and reducing pressure points. Our guide below delves deeper into why pillow top mattresses are a top choice for those prioritising back health.

Are pillowtop mattresses good for your back?

Yes, pillow top mattresses can indeed be beneficial for your back. Still, this benefit largely hinges on selecting the correct pillow top mattress, appropriate feel and spring tension. Let’s explore this in more detail:

The pillow top advantage

  • Pillowtop mattresses offer an additional layer of cushioning on the surface of the primary mattress. This cushioning can provide added comfort, making the mattress feel softer and more luxurious. For those with back pain or discomfort, this supplementary layer can offer relief by easing pressure points, especially around significant areas like the hips and shoulders.

The importance of the right feel

  • Comfort is subjective and what feels good to one person might not feel the same to another. Selecting a mattress with a feel that aligns with your preference is crucial. If the mattress is too soft or firm for your liking, it might not provide the necessary support for your back, leading to discomfort or exacerbating existing issues.

The role of spring tension

  • The spring system within a mattress is primarily responsible for providing support. Spring tension determines how firm or soft a mattress is. Choosing the correct spring tension ensures the mattress can adjust and contour to your body’s shape, maintaining proper spinal alignment throughout the night. If the spring tension is too low (soft), the mattress might sag, causing misalignment. Conversely, if it’s too high (firm), the mattress might feel stiff and uncomfortable, leading to pressure points. Balancing for optimal back support is essential, ensuring the mattress aligns with your body weight and sleeping habits.

Sleeping position

  • Each individual’s sleeping position is unique. For instance, side sleepers might prefer a slightly softer feel pillowtop mattress to cushion their hips and shoulders, while back or stomach sleepers might opt for a firmer feel pillowtop mattress.

What is the significance of spring tension in a pillowtop mattress?

Spring tension plays a pivotal role in assessing the support a mattress offers. In many traditional mattresses, springs are the primary element providing essential support to the sleeper.

The tension of these springs dictates the level of support you’ll receive, as each tension caters to a specific weight bracket. For instance, a soft spring tension, with a thickness of 1.2mm, is designed to support up to 11 stones. Anyone weighing more than this will over-compress the spring, leading to inadequate support.

Conversely, a medium spring tension, at 1.4mm thick, is tailored for those weighing 11-16 stones. Anyone below this weight range may under-compress the spring, resulting in insufficient support.

Choosing the correct spring tension is essential to ensure the mattress aligns with your body weight and sleeping habits. Inappropriate spring tension can lead to inadequate support, causing pressure points and potential back problems.

When correctly chosen the spring tension in a pillow top mattress complements the soft layer on top, providing a balanced mix of comfort and support.

The science behind support and comfort

The spine plays a pivotal role in our overall health and posture. Proper spinal alignment while sleeping is critical. A too soft or firm mattress can cause misalignment, leading to back pain and discomfort. Pillow top mattresses, especially double-sided ones, can offer a balanced solution.

Pressure relief

  • The plush layer of a pillow top assists in distributing the sleeper’s weight evenly across the mattress. This uniform distribution helps reduce pressure points, particularly around the hips and shoulders. It means less tossing and turning and a more restful sleep.

Joint pain alleviation

  • The additional cushioning can benefit those suffering from joint pain. It gently cradles the body, offering relief and comfort.

Balanced support

  • While the pillow top provides comfort, the underlying spring system offers support. When the spring tension is correct, the mattress adjusts to the body’s contours, promoting proper spinal alignment.

What feel is best for your back on a pillowtop mattress?

When considering the best feel for your back on a pillow top mattress, it’s vital to consider individual weight, as this significantly influences the mattress’s overall support and comfort.

A medium soft feel pillow top mattress is recommended for those weighing between 11 and 22 stones. This is because:

Balanced support and comfort

  • A medium soft feel perfectly balances firmness and plushness. It offers ample support to maintain spinal alignment while still providing the cushioning effect of the pillow top for pressure relief.

Weight distribution

  • Within this weight range, the body requires a mattress that evenly distributes weight, ensuring no pressure points. A medium-soft feel caters precisely to this, cradling the body’s curves without allowing it to sink in too deeply.

Spinal alignment

  • Proper spinal alignment during sleep is crucial for back health. For those within the 11-22 stones weight range, a medium-soft feel ensures the spine remains in its natural alignment, preventing potential backaches or strains.

For individuals weighing under 11 stones, a soft feel pillow top mattress is ideal. Here’s why:

Pressure relief

  • Lighter individuals press down less heavily on a mattress. A soft feel ensures they can still benefit from the cushioning effect, offering relief around the hips and shoulders.

Adequate conforming

  • A softer mattress will adapt more to the contours of a lighter person’s body, ensuring they’re adequately cradled and supported throughout the night.

Avoiding over-firmness

  • A mattress that’s too firm for someone under 11 stones might fail to conform to their body shape, potentially leading to pressure points and discomfort.

In conclusion, the ideal feel for a pillow top mattress largely depends on the individual’s weight. Choosing a mattress that complements one’s weight range is essential to ensure optimal support, comfort and overall back health.

Which pillowtop mattresses should you avoid?

When searching for the ideal pillowtop mattress, there’s one type you should be wary of one-sided pillow top mattresses. These are mattresses where the pillow top layer is permanently stitched to the primary mattress, meaning it cannot be flipped or rotated. Here’s why you might want to steer clear of them:

Uneven wear and tear

  • Over time, all mattresses experience wear, especially in the areas where the body exerts the most pressure, such as the hips and shoulders. If you cannot flip or rotate the mattress, these areas may sag or compress more quickly than the rest, leading to unevenness.

Limited longevity

  • The inability to rotate or flip the mattress can shorten its lifespan. The constant pressure on the same side can cause the materials to break down more rapidly.

Compromised support

  • As the mattress wears unevenly, it might fail to provide the necessary support, which can harm back health. Over time, this can result in poor spinal alignment and potential discomfort.

In contrast, our pillow top mattresses are double-sided. This means the topper section and the primary mattress are connected via buttoned handles, offering a unique advantage. Both the topper and the mattress are designed to be double-sided, which means they can be detached, flipped and rotated. Here are the benefits of this design:

Extended lifespan

  • Regularly flipping and rotating both the topper and the mattress ensures even wear and tear, thereby prolonging the life of the mattress.

Consistent support

  • Rotating and flipping prevent any particular mattress part from experiencing continuous pressure. This consistency ensures the mattress remains supportive, which is crucial for good back health.


  • The ability to detach, flip and rotate means you can adjust the mattress based on your comfort preferences or changing needs.

Optimal back health

  • A consistently supportive and evenly worn mattress is fundamental for maintaining proper spinal alignment. By ensuring your mattress remains in prime condition, you’re taking a proactive step towards safeguarding your back health.

While one-sided pillowtop mattresses might seem appealing initially, their limitations can lead to compromised support and a shorter lifespan. Like ours, opting for double-sided versions provides durability, consistent support and the flexibility to cater to your unique needs – all essential factors for ensuring good back health.

In conclusion

A double sided pillow top mattress can be an excellent choice for your back, but it’s contingent on selecting the correct spring tension. The combination of soft cushioning and firm support, when tailored to your needs, can provide a therapeutic sleep experience while promoting the health of your back. However, always remember to consider individual preferences and seek expert advice when making a purchase. For more information, read our useful guide on ‘What is a pillow top mattress’.

Still have questions or need further assistance? Don’t hesitate to reach out! Call us at 0161 250 9200 or drop us an email at [email protected]. Our dedicated team is here to guide you every step of the way.


Published: 18th October 2023 (Updated: 18th October 2023) | Rebecca

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