Trying to sleep with back pain can be one of the most uncomfortable experiences of your life. What’s more, if your sleeping surface is not supportive and comfortable, it can bring on back pain that was otherwise under control.
Choosing the right mattress can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and spending hours tossing and turning. However, there are many things to think about when you begin your search for a mattress that is suitable for back pain sufferers.
Best Mattresses Comparison Chart
Here’s a handy reference list of our reviewed mattresses for back pain. Further below is a more comprehensive comparison and review guide.
|Saatva Classic Mattress||Leesa Hybrid Mattress||The WinkBed||Avocado Latex Mattress||Layla Sleep Hybrid Foam Mattress|
|Available Sizes||Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, Cal king, split Cal king||Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king||Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king||Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king, split Cal king||Twin, twin XL, queen, full, king, Cal king|
|Mattress Type||Hybrid innerspring||Hybrid (memory foam, pocket springs)||Hybrid (gel infused foam, pocket springs)||Latex||Hybrid (memory foam, coil springs)|
|Firmness Levels||Soft (3), medium (5 - 7), firm (8)||Medium (5 - 7)||Soft (4.5), medium (6.5), medium-firm (7.5), firm (8)||Firm (7.5)||Soft side (4), firm side (7)|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Can Choosing the Right Mattress Help with Back Pain?
While going to sleep may seem as simple as lying down and closing your eyes, one important thing that a lot of people forget is that posture and position are essential.
In days gone by, it was recommended that a firm mattress would provide the best support and protect against back pain. This saw millions of people replacing their old, sagging mattress with something much firmer. However, a recent study has now found that something medium-firm might be much more suitable for people who are prone to back pain.
Evidence of scientific studies demonstrates that, after 90 days of using a medium-firm mattress, reports of back pain were significantly lower than a comparison group using a firm mattress. What’s more, we must consider that when we go in the opposite direction and choose a mattress that is too soft, this could worsen or bring on back pain. Avoiding replacing your mattress can also affect its performance with sagging mattresses providing less than sufficient support.
According to The Sleep Council, a mattress should be replaced between every seven to eight years. When you couple this with the fact that humans spend, on average, one-third of their lives asleep, it isn’t difficult to see the importance of this. That being said, when choosing a new mattress, it is vital that you consider your personal needs. While some people may benefit more from a medium-firm mattress, others may find that they need something with a lesser or greater degree of support.
Benefits of Replacing an Old Mattress
Sleepers should keep in mind that there are many other benefits to replacing an old mattress and while many of us upgrade in order to relieve back pain, you will likely also notice some of the following advantages:
- Spinal alignment is essential for good posture and for keeping pain at bay. A supportive mattress will distribute weight evenly and the result is that the spine is always in an optimal position.
- Softer mattresses may cause the sleeper to sink into the surface. While some might think this is comfortable, it could be a contributing factor to snoring. If you snore, you should look at the firmness of your mattress as sinking down into it could obstruct your airways owing to the fact the head and neck are not fully supported.
- If you find that you wake often in the night to change position, this could be related to your mattress. Many modern mattresses have a feature known as motion transfer. This is related to how easily energy transfers during movement. Not only will your own movements be smoother but those of your partner will likely cause fewer night time disturbances.
- Over time, your mattress will accumulate skin cells, dust mites, and many other substances. Replacing your mattress will mean a much cleaner and more hygienic sleep surface that is lower in allergens.
With all of this in mind, it can be tricky to know when the best time to replace your mattress is. One of the things you should look out for is when your back pain occurs. If you find that you struggle most upon waking up but a number of stretches or moving around appears to relieve the pain, it could be the mattress is to blame.
Types of Mattresses
There are many types of mattress and choosing the right one is essential if you are looking to promote better back health and eradicate pain. Understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each type will allow you to make a more informed decision.
Memory Foam Mattress
A memory foam mattress is made from a polymer known as polyurethane. Chemicals are added to this plastic compound to increase its viscosity and elasticity. This means that the material will bounce back to its original shape after use yet will mold to the contours of the body as you sleep.
Memory foam mattresses have become incredibly popular in recent years and it is not surprising when you consider that they have many wonderful benefits. In a study on the use of medium firm memory foam mattresses for those with musculoskeletal issues, it became evident that various types of back pain were significantly decreased.
Furthermore, a memory foam mattress will conform to the shape of the body much better than other types and this can provide an incredible amount of support. This is particularly good if you are looking for something to more evenly distribute the body weight and relieve pressure points. On older mattresses, the support on the back and shoulders can decrease but with a memory foam mattress, the sleeper is always fully supported. This material will retain its shape night after night meaning that it will typically last much longer.
What’s more, memory foam is excellent if you sleep with a partner since the level of motion isolation is far superior. But while memory foam mattresses do offer exceptional comfort, there is one very significant drawback in the form of body temperature.
The material used to make a memory foam mattress will easily retain heat rather than dispersing it. This means that some people find that they become too warm when sleeping on memory foam.
A latex mattress is made using a latex material which is particularly good for allergy sufferers; unless you have a latex allergy, in which case, this type of mattress should be avoided. While they offer similar responsiveness, support, and comfort to a memory foam mattress, there is one key difference.
Latex mattresses are far more adept at dispersing body heat meaning that they are generally much cooler to sleep on. Furthermore, latex is typically much more bouncy than memory foam so the response of the material contouring to shape tends to be much quicker. This can mean that you don’t get quite as much support.
However, over time, latex will offer superior support because it is typically much more durable and won’t sag or weaken as quickly as memory foam.
One of the most popular mattresses is the innerspring which makes use of a series of internal coils to provide support. While they are incredibly strong where support is concerned, the layers that provide comfort tend to be much thinner around an average of two inches so may not be suitable for people who like something much more responsive and cushioned.
That being said, there are options to purchase an innerspring mattress with a pillow layer if you prefer something more comfortable. In any case, these mattresses tend to be much more budget-friendly.
For many people, memory foam mattresses may be too responsive whereas an innerspring mattress might be too firm. However, there are now a lot of hybrid mattresses available that are a combination of both materials. They will typically feature a series of metal coils along with a layer of memory foam on top. This can often help to find the balance between the two. Plus, with better support around the edges of the mattress, your sleeping area is vastly increased compared to memory foam alone.
One of the most noticeable benefits of the hybrid mattress is that they have much greater bounce than a memory foam yet still wrap around the body providing excellent comfort. They do this at a fraction of the cost of memory foam, some of which are known to be very expensive.
They offer a level of breathability that cannot be attained by a memory foam mattress and so will likely keep you more comfortable and cool as you sleep. That being said, the motion transfer of a hybrid mattress won’t ever match that of pure foam. Essentially, it comes down to personal preference.
Best Mattresses for Different Sleeping Postures
While looking at the different types of mattresses can give you an insight into what you might prefer, it is also crucial that you take your preferred sleeping position into account. Depending how you sleep, your body may require support in different areas. This is especially important if you are struggling with back pain if you want the best level of support and relief.
If you tend to sleep on your side, you are among many since this is the most common sleeping position. However, it pays to keep in mind that it may also be the worst in terms of the pressure it puts on your body. While in this position, there is a lot of pressure on the hips and shoulders which could convert to back pain without the correct support.
In this case, sleepers should be looking for a mattress which has a good level of cushioning and will allow the body to sink into it slightly. Memory foam is typically the best option here although latex and hybrid mattresses may also be sufficient.
The good news is that if you prefer to sleep on your back, you are promoting the best spine health and will likely experience much less back pain than those who sleep in other positions. That being said, it is still imperative that you have a good level of support throughout the night.
Back sleepers will benefit from choosing between a range of firmnesses. This is because their choice can be based more on personal preference than anything else. However, for heavier people, there is a chance that the shoulders and hips may sink too low on a soft surface which puts the spine into an awkward position. For this reason, it may be best to opt for something medium-firm.
Sleeping on the stomach is considered to be the worst position for back pain since the way that the hips sink puts unnecessary pressure on the back and creates an unnatural curvature of the spine. That being said, many people prefer this position and choosing a firmer mattress can be beneficial. What’s more, it can help to use a mattress topper to give an added layer of support as you sleep. In this case, it may be worth considering an innerspring mattress for the best support.
How to Choose the Best Mattress to Relieve Back Pain
Choosing the right mattress to relieve back pain comes with a lot of considerations. Before you part with any money, it is essential to look over the following points to ensure you are getting something that will prove advantageous for you.
How firm your mattress needs to be will vary depending on several factors. Sleepers should find a mattress that provides enough support to keep the spine aligned but with some ‘give’ in the upper part to evenly distribute weight which will help avoid pressure points.
In addition to this, you will need to consider your weight. If you are a larger individual then a firmer mattress will likely provide you with greater support. But you must also consider which sleeping position you favor as this will cause you to need varying levels of support.
Finally, people with back pain may find that sleeping on a very soft, cushioned mattress doesn’t give them the most adequate support. While it was once considered that a firm mattress was the best choice for a bad back, we now know that medium-firm offers the greatest support.
We have discussed the various types of mattress available earlier in this guide, however, we cannot stress enough the importance of this point. Choosing the right type of mattress will help to ensure that your body is fully supported, especially when you compare this with your sleeping position. It will also offer you the most personalized level of comfort allowing for a more peaceful night’s sleep.
Type of Sleeper
For people who prefer to sleep on their side, a more cushioned mattress such as a latex or memory foam product will offer the best support. This is because these mattresses will allow for some sinkage which will remove pressure from the hips and shoulders where most force is placed when sleeping in this position.
If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, it is important to have a more firm support which will prevent the core from sinking into the surface. If this happens, the spine will take on an unnatural curve and the sleeper’s back pain will almost certainly be exacerbated.
Finally, back sleepers have some freedom where mattress type and firmness is concerned since this position puts the least pressure on the body. However, for heavier people, sinkage around the hips and shoulders is a very real problem when lying on the back and so a firmer mattress is better.
Some mattresses, such as memory foam, will very easily retain your body heat. This might sound as though it would be cozy, but evidence has shown that being cool while you sleep is the most beneficial body temperature. Without anywhere to escape, this retained body heat could cause you to become too warm in the night.
If you want something that is just as comfortable but will help to keep you cool then a latex mattress might be a better option. Innerspring mattresses also have excellent airflow and will help to keep you cool.
One of the main reasons that mattresses need to be regularly replaced is that allergens, dust and bacteria can build up within them. However, there are some types of mattress that are considered to be hypoallergenic which is essential if you suffer from allergies. Typically innerspring mattresses are the worst for allergies since there are lots of places for dust mites and particles to hide.
Conversely, a memory foam mattress has tightly packed fibers which prevent dust mites and other allergens from being so easily able to get inside.
It can be easy to fall in love with a mattress that you see advertised online, however, once you get it home, you may find that it isn’t as comfortable or supportive as you had hoped.
Fortunately, many mattress manufacturers are aware of this fact and as such, offer a trial period. This is typically around 100 days and should be enough time for you to determine whether the mattress is suitable for your needs and whether it has effectively alleviated your back pain. In most cases, this is a risk-free trial with no obligation to buy at the end.
Many mattresses come with a hefty price tag and for this reason, it is important to know that the product is going to last a long time. You may wish to look at whether the mattress comes with a warranty which will give you the assurance that, in the event something goes wrong, you won’t have to fork out for the cost.
Best Mattresses for Back Pain
There are so many mattresses on the market that it can quickly begin to feel overwhelming choosing one. We consider that the following products are some of the best on the market and will be very beneficial to sufferers of back pain.
1. Saatva Classic Mattress
Best Overall Mattress
Available sizes: twin to Cal king
Mattress type: hybrid innerspring
Firmness levels: soft (3), medium (5 - 7), firm (8)
Height: 11.5", 14.5"
Trial period: 180-night
The Saatva innerspring mattress is a great choice for any sleeper. One of the most notable things about it is that it comes in a choice of firmnesses so you can tailor the mattress to your needs. The mattress comes with a 180 night trial as well as a 15-year warranty. However, you should be aware that returning the mattress will incur a fee of $99.
This mattress provides you with a Euro pillow top which will effortlessly contour to your body shape offering great weight distribution and wonderful comfort. What’s more, the Saatva uses spinal zone technology to ensure that the spine is always correctly aligned, reducing back pain.
It boasts incredibly durable coils that offer excellent support from the base up and while this is good news, it’s also important to consider that this design does affect motion transfer.
2. Leesa Hybrid Mattress
Best for Back Sleepers
Available sizes: twin to Cal king
Mattress type: hybrid (memory foam, pocket springs)
Firmness levels: medium (5 – 7)
Trial period: 100-night
If you sleep on your back, this medium-firm hybrid mattress could be a good choice for it. it features advanced support that benefits from a top foam layer that is bouncy and super responsive. The mattress features more than a thousand springy coils that add to the overall support and make this mattress feel very durable.
This mattress boasts a breathable design and so is perfect in warmer climates and for people who struggle to stay cool while sleeping. It comes in a choice of sizes and features a 5 layer design so you are getting the best of everything.
While this one does come with a 10-year warranty as well as a 100 night trial, it is important to keep in mind that, in some areas, a return fee will apply.
3. The WinkBed
Best for Side Sleepers
Available sizes: twin to Cal king
Mattress type: hybrid (gel infused foam, pocket springs)
Firmness levels: soft (4.5), medium (6.5), medium-firm (7.5), firm (8)
Trial period: 120-night
Sleeping on your side requires a good cushioned support, but this cannot be too much, otherwise it will begin to have an adverse effect. This hybrid mattress from WinkBeds gives you the best of both worlds, and has many excellent features that will aid your sleep.
The WinkBed 14″ mattress has been designed with side-sleepers in mind. The mattress features a pressure-relieving euro-pillow top with gel-infused foam that is extremely comfortable. The mid-layer contains individually wrapped pocketed coils that effortlessly contour to your body but will provide good support, especially thanks to the reinforced perimeter coils that provide excellent edge support.
This mattress also offers excellent breathability and superior airflow due to the triple layer of heat disperse technology that is used, keeping you cool as you sleep.
One of the stand-out features about this mattress is that it comes with a lifetime warranty and a 120-night risk-free trial. In the event that the mattress develops a manufacturing defect, WinkBeds will replace it with a new mattress free of charge.
4. Avocado Latex Mattress
Best for Stomach Sleepers
Available sizes: twin to Cal king
Mattress type: latex
Firmness levels: firm (7.5)
Trial period: 1-year
If an ethically produced, sustainable mattress is high on your list of priorities then this will likely be something that turns your head. This mattress has been fully certified by GOTS and is 100% organic with the manufacturers using responsibly sourced cotton and wool as well as latex from their own farms in India.
Aside from being eco-friendly, it is also incredibly comfortable and is the brands only all-foam mattress that comes with an incredible 25-year warranty as well as a one year trial period. The mattress offers a balanced level of bounce and responsiveness without too much sinkage. What’s more, it provides the sleeper with a floating feeling and thanks to the waved foam design, motion isolation is second to none.
The Avocado mattress comes with four handles which makes moving it simple. But what is most impressive is the durability of this mattress. It is hand needle tufted which means that it is incredibly short but that the bonds are very tight and robust.
5. Layla Sleep Hybrid Foam Mattress
Best Versatile Mattress
Available sizes: twin to Cal king
Mattress type: hybrid (memory foam, coil springs)
Firmness levels: soft side (4), firm side (7)
Trial period: 120-night
Some people may not have ongoing problems with back pain and as such, may not require the same support at all times. That’s where this flippable mattress with one soft side and one firm side can prove incredibly useful.
It has a whole range of features worth getting excited about including pocket coils which mean that motion isolation is exceptional. What’s more, the copper infused memory foam layer will help to keep you cool as you sleep. There are six layers in total making this a very versatile hybrid mattress. To be sure that you will enjoy this mattress, you get a 120-night trial period and should you decide that you don’t like it, the mattress will be returned free of charge and repurposed through a charity which is a nice touch.
With 16 gauge edge coils in double rows, you can feel confident that the edge support is second to none. The mattress also comes with a removable cover to keep things fresh and clean as well as handle to help with flipping.