If you wake up every morning feeling like you slept on a slab of concrete, it might be a tell-tale sign that it is time for a new mattress. “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” was supposed to be a fun sleepover game, not a description of how you feel when your alarm goes off. If you already have upper or lower back pain, mattress selection is even more important. It’s time to find the best mattress for back pain.
The right mattress can change your life for the better. The wrong one could send you straight to the chiropractor.
At Layla Mattress, we believe an educated decision usually leads to the right decision. Before you purchase a new mattress set, you should consider all your options.
Our guide to the best mattress for back pain includes tips for how to sleep when you suffer from lower back pain, the types of mattresses available for back pain, and a breakdown of the five top brands. Read on, then buy a new mattress that will have you sleeping like Goldilocks before you know it.
Identifying Common Types of Back Pain
Before you can fix your back pain, you need to know what you’re up against. If you have chronic issues, whether they’re acute or dull, it’s time to go to your doctor to find out what is happening.
If you have a physically demanding job or spend a lot of time on your feet, you could also have run of the mill aches and pains – which are still no fun. Below are some of the most common culprits for lower back pain that can lead to loss of sleep.
General Lower Back Pain
A whopping 80% of adults in the U.S. will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. It can be the result of picking up a small child all day, having bad posture at work, sleeping on a mattress with a firmness level that doesn’t agree with your body, or going too hard at the chicken dance at your sister’s wedding.
This type of pain can often be treated with over the counter anti-inflammatories and a heat/ice rotation. Sleeping on the right mattress could also speed up recovery times or eliminate a chronic dull ache.
Your sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in your entire body. It starts on either side of your lower back, leads down each leg, and ends at your feet. Sciatica refers to pain caused by any pressure to your sciatic nerve.
If you have sciatic nerve pain, you can’t miss it. It’s not like a little man gently tapping on your back… it’s more like a construction worker is taking a jackhammer to your nervous system. Yeah, ouch. Sciatica requires tender care of your pain points and sleeping on a painful mattress could exacerbate acute pain in your back, buttocks, or legs. If you have sciatica, you need to shop around for the best mattress for back pain.
Arthritis represents swelling in your joints. While it tends to affect older people, it can also cause serious pain for people of any age. Your joints will ache and get really stiff. Sleeping on a regular mattress may lead to nightly aches and mornings where it’s hard to stretch your legs.
Your vertebral discs have a tough outer layer that surrounds a jellylike material on the inside called a nucleus. Sometimes, a fragment of the nucleus can be pushed out through a tear in the tough outer layer into the spinal canal. Due to limited space in the spinal canal, the disc can press on spinal nerves. That’s when the pain kicks in. If you have a herniated disc, you will definitely need to create habits and use a bedding system that caters to your specific joint needs.
Signs You Need a New Mattress
Aches and pains aren’t the only sign you need to swap out your mattress. If you spot any of the red flags listed below, it’s time to start scouting out the best mattress for back pain. Can you check off all of these warning signs? Do some mattress online shopping, pronto! Here are four signs you’re due for a mattress makeover:
1. Your Current Mattress is 10 Years Old
There isn’t a hard and fast rule about when to throw out a mattress, but every 7-10 years is a pretty good rule of thumb. If your mattress could enter the 4th grade, it’s time to retire it. After a decade, most mattresses start to slouch and have a ton of germs living on the surface and inside their filler. You can only get away with rotating your mattress so many times before you need to let it go.
2. You’re Waking Up in Pain
There could be a lot of things contributing to morning time stiffness and discomfort. Some doctors believe our bodies suppress our natural anti-inflammatories while we sleep. If you have a chronic issue like arthritis, that also explains some of your pain. But morning aches and pains could be your body telling you to break up with your mattress. A mattress with correct firmness and more consistent support soothes sensitive pressure points and will rise to meet voids (such as between your hip and the bottom of your shoulder).
3. You’re Sleeping on Broken Springs
Is that a spring in your mattress or is it just happy to see you? In all seriousness, if you can hear or feel a broken spring – your mattress has clearly seen better days. Broken springs are an inevitability in traditional mattresses, but that doesn’t mean they should be accepted. A broken mattress will dip in inconvenient places and poke you with faulty springs. You don’t have to live (or sleep) like this. The best mattress for back pain will have a reliable filling that doesn’t poke and prod you as you sleep.
4. You Notice Obvious Sagging
Whether it’s because of broken springs or years of use, sagging is a sign that it’s time to replace your current mattress. Sagging means a loss of firmness and your mattress is no longer able to support crucial pressure points along your body. If your butt sags, for instance, your spine will be arched all night and your hips aren’t getting the love they deserve.
Types of Mattresses for Lower Back Pain
If you have identified yourself as someone who needs a new mattress, you’re probably swimming in choices. What type of mattress is best for back pain? There are all sorts of different mattresses on the market, and one of the primary differentiators is the type of filler. Here are some of the main types of mattresses you’ll find and how to know which one is the best mattress for back pain (spoiler: we’re partial to memory foam).
Memory foam mattresses were a major sleep innovation and used to be a luxury. Unless you were having a “Treat Yourself” moment, you probably wouldn’t splurge on one. But that’s not the case anymore. Memory foam has gotten better as it has become more affordable.
This type of bed filler is made mainly of polyurethane, and the foam cells tend to be open to allow for better air circulation. It’s also more elastic than other types of foam. Memory foam got its name because its elasticity allows it to remember the impression of your body for a few moments when you get up. This same feature ensures all the right levels of firmness in all the right places. Most models in contention for being named the best mattress for back pain incorporate memory foam.
Innerspring mattresses are what most people grew up on. Springs combined with materials like cotton and wood are covered in a plush topper. While these mattresses can offer a lot of firm support, they’re not exactly known for conforming to your personal figure. They are also apt to sag over time as the coils in the springs experience regular wear and tear.
Want the best of both worlds? If you’re the type of person who could never decide between chocolate and vanilla ice cream and ended up with a swirl – you might also like a good hybrid mattress. These mattresses can combine springs and memory foam, or latex filler with memory foam. In any case, they speak to the heart of anyone who likes a little bit of this and a little bit of that… and a whole lot of comfort.
Finally, we would be remiss not to mention toppers. If you’re not ready to commit to a new mattress, you want more customization when it comes to the level of firmness, or it’s just not in your budget, a mattress topper could come to your rescue. Just as the name suggests, these cozy attachments fit right on top of your regular mattress and they’re usually filled with memory foam.
If you want to give regular foam a test run or reinvent your old mattress, try a topper to see if it helps relieve some of your back pain. If it does, you can always upgrade to a memory foam mattress in the future.
What to Look for in a New Mattress
Most people with back pain land on a memory foam mattress, but the filler isn’t the only thing to focus on. Like a good pair of shoes, not all memory foam creates comfort equally. If you slept on a hot, too firm, smelly memory foam mattress once upon a time… we’d ask you to give foam another chance! Otherwise, you could miss out on the best mattress for lower back pain.
When you’re on the hunt for a mattress to soothe your back pain and leave you feeling energized in the morning, here are the top factors to put on your checklist.
That one foot in, one foot out trick only works for so long. At some point, you need a cooling mattress if you don’t want to overheat in the middle of the night. Copper-infused mattresses, the newest of sleep innovations, and convoluted foam pull your body heat away from you while you sleep and allow for air circulation. This one-two punch means you get to slumber without sweating. Temperature control is particularly important for controlling back pain because tossing and turning to throw off the covers could aggravate your back.
Bounce Back Factor
The best mattress for back pain should bounce back soon after you get out of bed. In other words: firmness is here to stay, and the sag factor is limited. A sagging bed leaves your spine unsupported and it will almost certainly cause noticeable pain over time. When you’re testing out new mattresses, make sure you don’t notice a huge divot on your side of the bed when you stand up. And make sure the filler has a reputation for standing the test of time.
Motion Transfer Control
Do you and your partner often bicker in the morning because one person got up four times to pee? If you feel like kicking your sleeping buddy at night because you notice their every toss and turn, you probably don’t have a mattress with motion transfer control. This helpful feature means that the mattress limits the amount of movement you feel when someone else in the bed can’t stay still.
Deciding on the right firmness is hard. In fact, 36% of people who sleep next to someone else say they prefer a different firmness than their partner. If you have back pain, you may need to up the firmness factor on your mattress so you have enough support. Back sleepers need a particularly firm mattress because it’s hard for a soft mattress to offer sufficient support to your lower back.
Body Contouring Capability
A big part of treating back pain at night is making sure your mattress rises to meet your pain points. For instance, if you sleep on your side and have lower back pain, any gap between your side and the mattress could aggravate lower back muscles. You want your mattress to fill the space between your ribs and hip so your spine remains straight.
Body contouring materials, like quality memory foam, are gentler on your body than other traditional materials. Memory foam also allows two people with very different body weights and types to be comfortable on the same mattress. Fighting over the best mattress for back pain is a lot less contentious when each sleeper has their body catered to.
Durability and Warranty
How long is your mattress guaranteed? A mattress worth buying will be backed by a warranty. This reflects the manufacturer’s confidence in the durability of their product. Customer reviews are also a good indicator of whether the mattress actually stands the test of time or falls apart after six months. As a person with back problems, you can’t afford to gamble on the quality of your mattress. Don’t risk it.
Avoiding dust, germs, and other allergens is smart for your health in a lot of ways. But does it really help with back pain? It could. Not only does avoiding allergens help you breathe better and avoid getting sick, but it could eliminate sneezing and other sleep disturbances. Antimicrobial bedding is another way to help your health while you’re snoozing.
Top Mattresses for Back Pain in 2019
With so many mattress ads popping up on your social media page, it’s hard for a guy or gal to know what to sleep on. You don’t want to spend too much, end up with an uncomfortable bed, or get a mattress with unreliable materials. Finding the right mattress for back pain feels like a huge quest.
We’re here to break down some of the best mattress brands for back pain. Even as mattress innovation continues to grow and change, we’re confident these top contenders will have you sleeping on a cloud for years to come. The best mattress for back pain won’t leave you stiff and sore after just a few months, so consider these beds an investment in your long-term happiness.
Price Range: $499-999
Layla Mattress has several key features that make it great for back pain. It’s even been identified by Forbes and other publications as one of the best mattresses for back pain relief. This memory foam mattress has:
- Two firmness options. One side of the mattress is firmer than the other, so you can flip it as often as you’d like to change your sleep experience. The firmness options also mean it can help a wider variety of sleepers deal with more back problems. Whether you like a soft or firm sleep surface, this could be the best mattress for your back pain.
- Copper-infused memory foam. Copper is a heat conductor, so it pulls body heat away from you like a magnet as you sleep. Copper also has antimicrobial properties, so it helps keep your bed free of some of the most common germs as it cools you.
- Multiple foam layers. The carefully engineered interior of the Layla Mattress includes multiple layers of foam and a convoluted foam core that aids in air circulation.
- Variable support. The copper foam cells inside the mattress adapt to your specific body. Wherever the most pressure is applied, the mattress offers the most support. This isn’t a one-size fits all type of mattress, it a one-size adapts to all and customizes itself to your unique body.
Price Range: $350-1250
Casper is another popular memory foam brand. It boasts a lot of features that will make your body feel good all night and more rested during the day. Some of the most notable characteristics of a Casper mattress include:
- Open-cell foam. Open cell foam allows for air circulation throughout the mattress. This may keep you cooler while you sleep.
- Zoned support. Casper mattresses have softer support at the top and bottom and firmer support in the middle.
- Layer options. You can choose from either 3, 4, or 5 layers of foam depending on the type of support you need to eliminate your lower back aches and pains.
- Base memory foam layer. The base layer of the mattress creates a foundation of support. This could help people with back pain that is exacerbated by a lot of bouncing or motion during the night.
Price Range: $649-1299
These mattresses are manufactured here in the USA and they are built to accommodate a variety of different body types and needs. The features of the Purple mattress include:
- A Smart Comfort Grid. The Purple mattress was designed with adaptability in mind. Their memory foam grid adapts to the unique shape of your body and relieves your specific pressure points.
- Temperature neutral interior. The inside grid of the mattress is also engineered to allow airflow. The mattress disperses body heat and keeps you cool while you sleep.
- Motion transfer control. The purple mattress isolates your movements so they don’t affect your partner in the middle of the night.
- Plush comfort core. The middle of the Purple mattress is made of plush comfort foam, so the comfort grid remains well supported.
Price Range: $399-899
Like Layla Mattress, Nectar only sells one mattress. In addition to being great for a wide variety of body types, the mattress has four layers to reinforce spine alignment and potentially limit back pain. A few notable features of the Nectar mattress are:
- A cooling cover. The top layer of a Nectar mattress is a TENCEL brand cooling cover that helps wick away heat and maintain airflow near your body.
- A CertiPUR-US® certified core. The center of the mattress is comprised of a material that is certified to be free of mercury, ozone depleters, and other harmful toxins.
- A breathable base layer. The foundation of a Nectar mattress reinforces the contour and support layers.
Price Range: $505-1015
Options are always good when you’re trying to figure out how to sleep well. Leesa offers two unique mattresses, so people with a variety of needs can create a bed that works for them. The most notable aspects of Leesa mattresses include:
- Focused pressure relief. You want your mattress to support you where you need it most. Leesa promises that their new hybrid mattress is able to target your pressure points and offer ample support.
- Enhanced cooling top layer. A top layer with airflow helps you stay cool at night, though it doesn’t necessarily draw the heat away from your body.
- Body contouring. Like other memory foam mattresses, the Leesa offerings will adapt to your body shape throughout the night, even as you shift around the bed.
- Individually wrapped springs. In the hybrid mattresses, individually covered springs are topped with memory foam.
Compare these top brands side-by-side to choose the best mattress for back pain for you.
Tips for Getting Better Sleep on Your New Mattress
If you have any type of back pain, finding relief can feel out of your control. But that’s not necessarily the case, especially if you have general upper and lower back pain. Are your bedtime habits hurting your back more than you realize?
Changing the way you approach sleep could be the key to unlocking pain-free slumber. Here are some quick tips for creating nighttime routines that promote lots of sleep and an energized life.
Hydration is Key
Are you getting enough water throughout the day? The discs between your vertebrae need to stay hydrated to function the way they’re supposed to. When the gelatinous materials in the discs are dehydrated, they may lose their ability to hold your weight and put pressure on spinal nerve endings. In other words: drink some more water an hour before bed so you have time to go to the bathroom and then go to bed hydrated as a fish.
Exercise can build stronger back muscles – and stretching does yourself a lot of favors, too. The more flexibility and strength you build in your lower back, the more likely you are to crawl into bed without a ton of pain. Not sure where to start? Yoga, planking, and other core-building exercises can all be done at home without any equipment.
A No Phone Policy Does Wonders
Do you lay in bed scrolling through your social media accounts before you go to bed, or first thing in the morning? Be honest, do you do both? While you’re keeping up with your college roommate’s new dog, you’re also straining your neck and potentially inviting pain into bed with you. Put away your phone before you lay down, so you don’t practice bad bed posture.
Good Mattresses Can Change Your Life
As you can already guess, we believe the best mattress for back pain is also a key to finding back pain relief. The right mattress will have the right firmness to support your main pressure points, hug your body, and won’t make you sink down as you sleep.
When your spine is better aligned all night long, you’ll wake up feeling ready to take on the day – not reaching for the pain relievers. If you regularly wake up feeling like you strained a muscle in the middle of the night, your mattress may be to blame. Even doing all the yoga can’t compensate for a mattress with broken springs or bad memory foam.
Supportive Pillows Have Your Back
If your neck is craned while you snooze, guess what? You’re going to wake up feeling bad. Not only is neck and shoulder pain in your future, but you could notice referred pain elsewhere in your body. A quality pillow may eliminate back pain, headaches, and more from your morning routine. Coupled with the best mattress for back pain, a pain–relieving pillow can do wonders for your spine health.
Extra Pillows Aren’t Just for Show
An extra pillow between your knees can help keep your back feeling great. While your supportive mattress lifts your knees from below, a pillow can align your spine. If you’re a back sleeper, try putting a pillow under your knees while you rest.
The Best Way to Buy One of the Top Mattresses
Some mattresses are easier to buy than others. Strapping a new mattress to the top of your SUV and driving home with the flashers on isn’t ideal. You don’t want to end up on the evening news because you lose your bed on the freeway.
On the other hand, can a new mattress really fit in a small, deliverable package? The best buying experience for a new mattress has:
1. A Bed in a Box Delivery. The best mattress for back pain can be rolled up small enough to fit in a package that fits on your front porch. Even better, you can carry it inside all by yourself. This type of delivery is affordable and simple, and even someone with lower back pain can manage the unboxing.
2. Shipping with a Trial Period. Since you can’t lay down on your mattress before you buy it if you shop online, a trial period is only fair. A reputable mattress company will allow you to sleep on your new purchase for at least a few months before you decide if it’s a match made in heaven.
3. Fitting Accessories. You want a foundation and set of pillows that jive with your new mattress. Look for a mattress that is easy to purchase alongside compatible frames and other accessories.
Shop Layla Mattress Now
Sleep innovations have come to a point where a mattress can help your back pain. The best mattress for back pain is just a few clicks away! The Layla Mattress is known as the best mattress for side sleepers with lower back pain and a good choice for people who sleep hot. You could be waking up every day more awake to life. What are you waiting for?
Contact Layla today to purchase a quality memory foam mattress with infused copper and two firmness options. You’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud in no time.