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Research from 2002 shows that sleeping on a bed that’s right for you can reduce back pain. Plus, getting good sleep has many health benefits.

While there are lots of great mattresses out there, there’s no best mattress for everyone. Your height, weight, age, sleeping position, and particular health conditions are factors that will determine what’s most comfortable for you.

Before deciding on a mattress, you may want to test out different styles, like hybrid or all foam, in a store to see what type you prefer. Then, you can start narrowing down brands and looking for particular features. If you choose to buy online, many companies offer home trials.

Read on to get a rundown of basic mattress features to look for, and what the research says about mattress types for back pain. We also provide our eight top mattress picks based on consumer reviews, sleep experts, and clinical studies.

Here are the criteria we used to select our top mattress picks for back pain:

  • Customer reviews. We looked for mattresses with good reviews specifically from people with back pain.
  • Options with added support. We made sure to include mattress options that provide added back support. For example, some mattresses are designed with firmer support in the lumbar region.
  • Company policies. As a rule, we only include mattress brands that let you try before you buy — either in stores or through a free trial period.
  • Different options. We wanted to be sure to include options to suit different preferences, so we list both foam and hybrid options.

Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic
  • Price: $
  • Type: hybrid
  • Height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches

The Saatva Classic is made in the United States with recycled steel springs and an organic cotton cover. The contoured CertiPUR-US certified foam pillow top is designed to support your back, hips, and shoulders.

Saatva mattresses are only sold online, but the brand offers a 120-night home trial period, and you can return or exchange the mattress for a $99 transportation fee. Financing is available, and Saatva will remove your old mattress when they deliver a new one.

While this mattress generally has good reviews, some customers note that the mattress is heavy and that there’s some off-gassing, a common concern for mattresses that include foam.

Buy the Saatva Classic mattress online.

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid
  • Price: $$
  • Type: hybrid
  • Height: 14 inches

This hybrid mattress is made of gel memory foam, a cashmere blend plush top, and individually wrapped innerspring coils. It’s designed to reduce motion transfer, meaning you won’t feel your partner move around too much at night.

However, some reviewers complain it doesn’t have good edge support. That means the sides of the mattress may sink if you sit or lie right on the edge.

Though this mattress is sold online only, it comes with a full year trial and has a lifetime warranty. DreamCloud offers free shipping, delivery, setup, and returns. Financing is also available.

Buy the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid mattress online.

Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Essentials

Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Essentials
  • Price: $
  • Type: hybrid
  • Height: 12 inches

The Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Essentials mattress combines CertiPUR-US certified gel memory support foam in a top layer with a barrel-shaped coil base. The signature of Posturepedic products is that the center of the mattress is reinforced to support the heaviest parts of your body: your back and core.

The polyester cover is designed to draw moisture away from your body, helping keep you cool while sleeping. It also has low motion transfer, so two people can sleep comfortably side by side.

Sealy has manufactured mattresses for over 100 years, and their mattresses are sold both online and in stores, so you can try them before you buy. This product comes with a 10-year warranty.

Buy the Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Essentials mattress online.

King Koil Xtended Life Grayson Firm

King Koil Xtended Life Grayson Firm
  • Price: $$
  • Type: hybrid
  • Height: 14 inches

The Xtended Life Grayson Firm from King Koil is a hybrid mattress that features a high density foam layer and a graphite-infused latex layer for coolness, pressure relief, and durability. The steel coils are placed to support your body shape and alignment and reduce motion disturbance.

King Koil is endorsed by the International Chiropractors Association. The mattresses are sold in stores, so you can try before you buy, but the company doesn’t offer a trial period or sell online. The mattress comes with a 25-year warranty.

Find King Koil mattresses in stores near you.

Nectar Memory Foam

  • Price: $
  • Type: foam
  • height: 12 inches

The Nectar is a medium-firm mattress with almost no movement transfer. Four layers of CertiPUR-US certified foam are designed to support you at pressure points and keep you cool. The top cooling layer of cotton and Tencel fabric molds to your body, and the bottom layers give you firm support.

This mattress is made to work with all types of bed platforms and sleepers. As with all foam mattresses, it may off-gas for a few days after shipment. Reviews are mostly positive, though some reviewers complain that the mattress didn’t expand properly after opening.

With a 365-day trial period, free shipping, free returns, and a lifetime guarantee, you can feel comfortable buying online.

Buy the Nectar Memory Foam mattress online.

Amerisleep AS2

  • Price: $$
  • Type: foam
  • Height: 12 inches

Amerisleep uses partially plant-based memory foam that the company claims is five times more breathable than other memory foam. The AS2 mattress is designed to support the hips and shoulders, and it bounces back, so you won’t have to worry about sinking into it.

With a unique Celliant cover, the mattress sleeps cool. Celliant is designed to increase your blood flow, and it’s recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical device.

The AS2 isn’t sold in stores, but Amerisleep does offer a 100-day trial period and free return or exchange with scheduled pickup. Shipping and delivery are free.

The mattress is made with back and stomach sleepers in mind, so it may not be the best choice for side sleepers.

Buy the Amerisleep AS2 mattress online.

Eight Sleep The Pod Pro

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: foam
  • Height: 12 inches

This mattress boasts four layers of high density foam to provide cushioning and support. While it can be comfortable for back sleepers with back pain, some side or stomach sleepers may find it too soft. Since it’s not as firm as other options, it may be too soft for some.

A high-tech option, this “smart mattress” offers temperature regulation and sleep tracking. Small tubes filled with water are concealed in the removable knit mattress cover.

Dual controls allow you to heat or cool the water, setting the temperature on each side of the bed. Sensors can adjust the temperature levels as your body temperature changes during the night.

The mattress also tracks your sleep phases, heart rate, and pulse. You can also get a regular analysis of your sleep data and trends. It requires a Wi-Fi connection.

Eight Sleep offers a 100-night trial period, free shipping, and free returns. There’s a 10-year warranty on the mattress and a 1-year warranty on the technology and temperature mechanism.

Buy the Eight Sleep The Pod Pro mattress online.

Puffy Lux

  • Price: $$
  • Type: foam
  • Height: 12 inches

The Puffy Lux is constructed with four layers of foam. The bottom layer provides a firm foundation, while the second and third layers offer balanced support to reduce pressure points. The top layer promotes cooling.

As added bonuses, the Puffy mattress works with any kind of bed base, and it comes with a machine washable cover. It’s designed for all sleepers: back, side, and stomach.

While reviews are mostly positive, some side sleepers found the mattress uncomfortable, and others felt that they were sinking into the mattress at night. This is a medium-firm mattress, so if you prefer a firmer option, this may not be the best choice for you.

Puffy doesn’t sell their mattress in stores, but shipping is free. They offer a 101-night trial period with a lifetime warranty.

Buy the Puffy Lux mattress online.

Anyone with back pain knows it can interfere with daily activities, including sleep. Your beauty sleep is important, and lower, mid, and upper backaches can affect your ability to get quality shut-eye and even make it challenging to fall asleep.

Research from 2020 shows that chronic back low pain can negatively affect sleep. The more intense your pain, the more likely it is to wake you up and disturb your slumber. The research also found that people who reported worse sleep quality were also more likely to experience emotional distress and poorer overall function.

Here are 10 factors to consider when you’re mattress shopping:

1. Support

What’s considered proper support?

  • Your spine rests aligned. The mattress should be firm enough to support you in a sleeping position, with your spine in neutral alignment.
  • Your hips and shoulders are comfortable. At the same time, the mattress has to give enough support to keep your shoulders, hips, and lower back comfortable.

When you’re shopping in person, do the following:

  1. Lie on a mattress in your regular sleeping position and have someone check the position of your spine.
  2. Have the other person move on one side of the bed so you can see if motion transfers to you or if the mattress shifts under you.
  3. Make use of assessment software available in some stores.

Some retailers use a technology called BridgeIT, a scanning app that senses your body pressure points, or the areas where your body makes the most contact with a surface.

The app doesn’t recommend specific brands, but it can point you to three or four types of mattresses that best suit your needs.

Keep in mind that a 2003 clinical study shows that a medium-firm mattress is best for back pain. If you’re shopping online, look at firmness levels to get a sense of how well the mattress may suit your needs.

2. Comfort

Comfort is highly individual. That’s why it’s important to shop in person, even if you’re buying online. That way, you can test out features firsthand before comparison shopping.

To ensure comfort:

  • Shop in person. Try out different types and brands of mattresses in a mattress store or a department store and note the make and model of those that seem like they will meet your needs. While some companies don’t sell their mattresses in stores, they may still have showrooms where you can test them out.
  • Take your time. Spend at least 15 minutes testing each mattress. Move around on the mattress to try different sleeping positions.

A 2008 study of just over 100 people with chronic lower back pain found that a waterbed or a foam mattress was marginally superior for back symptoms and comfortable sleeping than a hard mattress. But the differences were small.

Some sleep experts recommend that whatever mattress you select, it’s a good idea to pair it with an adjustable bed base. This will allow you to raise the head, foot, or middle of the bed as needed.

3. Size

Would you sleep better on a larger bed? Consider increasing your mattress size to a queen or king size.

4. Cost and value

Mattresses can be pricey. Consider how much time you’ll be spending on it, and how a comfortable sleep will affect your performance in your waking hours.

As clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle, RN, advises, a comfortable mattress is “not the place to focus on dollars. Your investment will pay off in many ways.”

5. Brand name

You want to have a reputable brand mattress that’s well constructed and made of quality materials.

Be aware that many brands may be made by the same factory and with the same materials and construction. So, some brands may not have significant differences among them.

6. Mattress construction

It’s estimated that more than 80 percent of Americans sleep on an innerspring mattress. If you’re one of them, you may want to explore another mattress type, such as latex or memory foam, pillow top, hybrids, air beds, or waterbeds.

A small 2010 study found that people diagnosed with low back pain and stiffness had better sleep and less pain on a foam or latex mattress.

7. Sleeping position

Your sleeping position can affect your back pain.

If you’re a side sleeper, you may find a mattress with a softer top more comfortable, as it’ll help reduce stress on pressure points. If you’re a back sleeper or stomach sleeper, you may find a firmer mattress to be more comfortable since it will prevent your spine from sinking into the mattress.

8. Allergens

If you have known allergies, such as to latex, check the mattress’s materials list. Some foams can contain toxins, so look for a certified foam.

9. Delivery options

Will the store deliver the new mattress, set it up, and dispose of your old mattress with or without an additional charge?

If you’re buying a mattress online, you may need a plan for disposing of the old mattress and installing the new one.

10. Warranties

Many companies allow you to try the new mattress at home for a month or more. If the mattress doesn’t work for you, you can return or exchange it for a relatively small fee.

Check what the instructions are for physically returning the mattress. What would you be responsible for doing, and what will the mattress company or store take care of?

If you buy a foam mattress that’s delivered shrink-wrapped, this could involve you rolling it back up and re-boxing it.

Mattresses are typically constructed with a support core and an upholstery layer around them. There are many varieties, each with its advantages. Here are nine:

1. Innerspring

Innerspring mattresses use a steel coil system for support. The number of coils and how they are arranged vary, but generally speaking, more coils means more support. Additionally, some mattresses have a higher concentration of coils in the lower back area for added relief.

The coils are covered in various padding materials, which affect comfort and stability.

The particular coil configurations make a difference in how your movements transfer to your sleeping partner if you’re sharing the bed. It also affects how the mattress supports your body contours.

2. Memory foam

Memory foam mattresses use high density polyurethane foam as the support system in the upholstery layer. This foam contours closely to the shape of the sleeper.

3. Latex foam

Latex mattresses have latex foam as the support system. The latex may come from plant- or petroleum-based materials.

4. Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses combine steel coils for support with foam or latex on top for comfort.

5. Pillow top

Pillow top mattresses have an extra layer of padding on top of other support layers. As the name indicates, it’s like having pillows on top of your mattress.

6. Gel

Gel mattresses combine gel and foam. This allows the mattress to dissipate heat better. It also gives the mattress a different feel.

7. Air bed

Air bed mattresses have an adjustable firmness. They fit into standard bed frames and are covered with various padding materials, such as foam. Air beds can also be controlled separately on each side.

8. Waterbed

Waterbeds use water as the support system. They can be hard sided with a wooden frame or soft sided with a foam frame inside a zippered fabric cover. They are made to fit conventional bed frames or platforms.

Some waterbeds have baffles inside that restrict the motion of the water.

9. Adjustable beds

These are made to look like conventional beds, but both the mattress and the base can move. You can raise your head or feet, and some have dual controls so that you and your sleeping partner can individually adjust your position.

The first thing to know is that a super soft, plush mattress is bad news for people with back pain. If you have back pain, a supportive mattress is a must, and something that has too much give can’t provide adequate support for your spine.

Some research from 2015 suggests that medium-firm, self-adjustable mattresses are the ideal sleeping surfaces for people with back pain. A zoned support mattress, one that allows you to target firmer support at the lower back level, is the ideal option.

But if you don’t have the budget for a self-adjusting model, don’t despair. Both hybrid and innerspring mattresses are good choices for people with back pain. And they typically provide more support than foam models.

If you can’t afford a new mattress or aren’t ready to replace your current model, there are a few things you can do to improve the comfort of your existing mattress.

  • Add a mattress topper. A medium-firm mattress might provide great back support, but not everyone finds a hard surface comfortable. A soft mattress topper adds some plushness without sacrificing support.
  • Go to the floor. Try putting your mattress on the floor, as this provides a firmer surface.
  • Better yet, add plywood. Not everyone will love the idea of sleeping on a mattress on the floor. If that’s you, try sticking a hard piece of plywood under your mattress for added support.
  • Use an adjustable base. An adjustable base can help you find a more comfortable sleeping position that puts less pressure on the parts of your back that ache during the night.
  • Look at your pillows. Sometimes, the source of back pain isn’t entirely the fault of your mattress. Your pillows might need a refresh. Or, you might be sleeping on the wrong ones. If you sleep on your stomach or back, opt for a softer pillow than what you would use for side sleeping. Get our top pillow picks here.

Can a mattress cause back pain?

Absolutely. Any mattress that doesn’t support the natural curvature of your spine can cause back pain, even if you’ve never had chronic back pain issues before.

Also, a mattress that’s not comfortable might cause you to sleep differently or toss and turn, potentially causing back pain.

Can replacing your mattress improve back pain?

Sure, but it’s not guaranteed to cure it, especially if your back woes are caused by an underlying chronic condition like osteoarthritis. That said, a supportive mattress may help reduce pain.

What style of mattress is best for back pain?

According to research from 2015, the ideal mattress is probably a medium-firm, self-adjusting mattress.

But that doesn’t account for personal preference. Ultimately, the ideal mattress for back pain is one that you find comfortable and allows you to sleep like a baby.

What style of mattress is worst for back pain?

Again, that sort of depends on your personal preference. But because foam mattresses tend to be softer and less supportive than hybrid and innerspring models, you might prefer to avoid an all-foam mattress. However, some people with back pain may prefer the feel of foam, so we included several options on our list.

You spend about a third of your life sleeping, so getting a mattress you like matters.

One 2009 study shows that simply changing your mattress can improve the comfort of your sleep.

The high cost of some mattresses can be a shock. Most brands have a range of mattresses, including more affordable models.

Consider all the factors above when you’re shopping for a mattress. Sleep experts point out that a good mattress is one of the most important investments you can make for your health.