The Formula for the Perfect Bed, No Matter How You Sleep

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The recipe for the perfect bed: couple sleeps back to back

Getting a good night’s sleep comes down to a ton of factors, but if there are a few things you can streamline—namely, finding the combination of pillows, sheets and other comforters to create a bed you can’t wait to faceplant onto at the end of a long day—you’re that much closer to waking up refreshed. That’s why we pored over sleep research, surveys and reviews to uncover the top-recommended combinations for several types of sleepers. Follow these formulas and a better night’s sleep is yours (provided your upstairs neighbor stops deciding midnight is the ideal time to practice tap dancing).

First: Optimize Your Bedroom

  • Position your bed away from distractions. Staring at a stack of work or a charger’s blinking light can just wind you up.
  • Lower the temp to a cool 65 to 68 degrees, says sleep scientist Matthew Walker.
  • Use room-darkening shades to filter out outside light.
  • Keep tech out of arm’s reach. Multiple studies show screentime before bed = poor-quality sleep.
  • Wash your sheets weekly and vacuum your mattress quarterly. This keeps dust and other allergens from building up.

The 10 Types of Pillows for Every Kind of Sleeper (and Need)

Second: Select Your Bedding, Based on Your Needs

woman sleeping on side
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The Best Bed for Side Sleepers

As we age, we’re more likely to prefer sleeping on our sides, and according to Psychology Today, the position has been linked to being more relaxed, open-minded and able to compromise. (It’s also been connected to higher instances of carpal tunnel, so if you suffer from chronic wrist pain, you may want to switch things up.) Side sleepers, you ideal bed should involve:

  • Using a tall, firmer pillow—like shredded memory foam—to keep your spine aligned and support your head without flattening out halfway through the night
  • Keeping a thin, firm pillow between your knees (again, to keep that spine in line)
  • Choosing a supportive mattress that contours to your body. Here, firmness is more personal preference, but chiropractors recommend looking for a memory foam, coil spring or hybrid model to get the cushion you need
man sleeping on back
Dasha Burobina/PureWow

The Best Bed for Back Sleepers

If you struggle with lower back pain, sleeping on your back can help, as it minimizes pressure points and helps ensure proper spine alignment, reports UC San Diego Health. (It’s not so great, though, if you’re prone to snoring or sleep apnea.) If this is you, consider the following:

  • Prop a small pillow under your knees to support the curve of your lower back and reduce knee pain
  • Use a medium firmness, medium-height pillow, so your head isn’t pushed up too high (which can cause neck pain in the morning)
  • Invest in a medium-firm to firm mattress, so you don’t sink in too deeply
person sleeping on stomach
Dasha Burobina/PureWow

The Best Bed for Stomach Sleepers

Ooh, you are rare! Roughly 7 percent of people prefer sleeping on their stomach, according to sleep improvement app Better Sleep. A saggy mattress can cause particular problems for you (particularly when it comes to back and hip pain), so it’s extra important to replace yours every 7 to 10 years, or when you notice it getting lumpy.

  • Try a thin, soft pillow to limit neck strain (WebMD actually recommends sleeping with just your forehead against the pillow, facedown, to keep your airways open)
  • Cover it with a silk pillowcase so you wake up with crease-free skin
  • Opt for a soft to medium-firm mattress
pregnant woman sleeping
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The Best Bed for Pregnant People

It doesn’t seem fair: You’re staring down months of sleepless nights ahead (hello, baby), and yet you already can’t rest?! Let’s fix that. The American Pregnancy Association recommends sleeping on your side—and experimenting with plenty of pillows:

  • Use a firm pillow under your head that supports your neck
  • Place a thin pillow between your legs to reduce pressure on your back and hips
  • Not into a between-the-legs pillow? Reach for a U-shaped body pillow if you toss and turn throughout the night, so you’re not constantly readjusting pillows
  • Opt for breathable, lightweight cotton or bamboo sheets so you don’t overheat at night
hot sleeper
Dasha Burobina/PureWow

The Best Bed for Hot Sleepers

To keep night sweats at bay, breathability is key. Here’s what to look for:

  • Try a gel and/or memory foam pillow, which tend to draw heat away from your body
  • Pair it with linen, cotton or bamboo sheets that wick away moisture
  • Top it off with a lightweight comforter, focusing on cotton or Tencel-blend designs that add fluffiness without trapping in heat
person who tosses and turns all night
Dasha Burobina/PureWow

The Best Bed for Chronic Toss-and-Turners

If we’re being honest, most of us shift positions throughout the night. The question is, where do you spend the most time sleeping? Still can’t answer that? These bedding options may help:

  • Choose a supportive, memory foam mattress topper to provide the cushion you need as you change positions throughout the night (and it’ll help buffer your mattress’s groans as you move)
  • Try a weighted blanket that weighs roughly 10 percent of your weight; it can help you feel more grounded and secure, so you’re less likely to toss around, says Dr. Whitney Roban, Ph.D, and corporate sleep specialist at Solve Our Sleep
  • Play some white noise to minimize distractions, which can cause restlessness
couple sleeping side by side
Dasha Burobina/PureWow

The Best Bed for Couples

Have you considered sleeping in separate beds—or even different rooms? While “sleep divorces” are on the rise, you two can share a bed, even if your sleep preferences vary wildly. Try:

  • Seek out a hybrid mattress, which tends to have a medium-firmness with supportive contouring to cradle you both, and pay attention to ones that minimize motion transfer (aka how much of your partner’s shifting you’ll feel at night)
  • Get separate duvets that fit your unique needs—it could improve your sleep quality by up to 30 percent
  • Add a white noise machine or try ear plugs if your partner’s snoring is keeping you up at night

candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...