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Current material and manufacturing technologies used by most brands give you many options for choosing a comfortable mattress.

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.

With all that in mind, we chose three mattresses and two brands that have large product lines to choose from.

We based our picks on consumer reviews, sleep experts, and clinical studies. And we give you the rundown on basic mattress features to look for and what the research says about mattress types for back pain.

The independent Consumer Mattress Report ranks the Saatva Classic as No. 2 for back pain. Saatva is a relatively new company, founded in 2010, and its mattresses are only sold online.

Pros

  • It has a hybrid innerspring design with a cotton fabric cover.
  • It includes delivery, setup, and disposal of your old mattress
  • There is a home trial period, and you can return or exchange the mattress for a $99 transportation fee.
  • It has two heights: 11.5″ and 14.5″
  • There are three levels of firmness available.
  • It’s made in the United States with eco-friendly materials, like recycled steel for the springs.
  • Financing is available.

Cons

  • Some customers complained of the innerspring feel, off-gassing, and the mattress being too heavy.
  • Saatva mattresses are only sold online. You can’t try them in a store.

Price point: $$-$$$
Available at: Saatva

Founded in 2010, Amerisleep uses mainly plant-based memory foam. The AS2 mattress is described as medium firm, and it’s available in seven mattress sizes, from twin to split king.

Pros

  • It has memory foam with zoned support layers to accommodate your hips and shoulders.
  • Its open-cell design, called Bio-Pur, is claimed to be five times more breathable than other memory foam.
  • It bounces back more quickly than other memory foam, according to the manufacturer.
  • It sleeps cool.
  • A unique fabric cover (Celliant) is designed to increase your blood flow, and is recognized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical device.
  • There’s a 100-day trial period and free return or exchange with scheduled pickup.
  • There’s free shipping and delivery.

Cons

  • It’s only sold online, so you can’t try it in a store.
  • It may not be best for side sleepers.

Price point: $$$
Available at: Amerisleep and Amazon

DreamCloud is ranked the No. 3 mattress for back pain on the independent Consumer Mattress Report. This 15-inch-high hybrid mattress has gel memory foam, a quilted plush top, and individually wrapped innersprings.

Pros

  • It comes with a full-year trial.
  • There’s a lifetime warranty.
  • There’s delivery and setup.
  • There’s free shipping and returns.
  • It sets up on a box frame or box spring.
  • Financing is available.

Cons

  • It’s available online only. You can’t try it in a store.
  • Some reviewers said it had no edge support.
  • Other reviewers reported delivery problems.
  • The plush top is advertised as cashmere, but it’s a synthetic material in a proprietary blend, according to DreamCloud.

Price: $$$
Available at: DreamCloud

Sealy offers many varieties of its basic Posturepedic mattress, starting with its affordable Essential model. The signature of Posturepedic products is that the center of the mattress is reinforced to support the heaviest part of your body — your back and core.

Sealy has been manufacturing mattresses for over 100 years.

At the top of the line is a hybrid mattress that combines Sealy’s traditional innerspring for support with memory foam on top for comfort.

Pros

  • Sealy is sold online and in department and mattress stores.
  • Most mattresses have a 10-year warranty.
  • Stores have financing available.

Cons

  • Some customers found the warranty hard to enter online.
  • Some complained that the mattress cover is polyester, not cotton.
  • Some buyers complain that the mattress sags in the middle.
  • Customer service varies, depending on store policy.

Price point: $$-$$$$
Available at: Sealy and in stores

King Koil makes a variety of innerspring and hybrid models that range in price from very affordable, under $600, to pricey.

King Koil also has the endorsement of the International Chiropractors Association.

Pros

  • Hybrid models combine wrapped innerspring coils with foam layers.
  • Different firmness options are available.
  • Limited warranty is available.

Cons

  • King Koil is sold in stores only — except for air beds, which are available online.
  • Information on materials isn’t easily available.
  • No trial period is available.
  • Prices may be higher than similar mattresses from other companies.

Price point: $$ to $$$$
Available at: retail stores

A note on price

The products on our list range from very affordable to high-end. Our price indicator reflects how these products compare to each other.

Before deciding on a mattress, be sure to test out different styles and read the materials list so you know exactly what you’re getting.

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

1. Support

What’s considered proper support?

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

Keep in mind that clinical studies show that a medium firm mattress is best for back pain.

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 particular brands, but it can point you to three or four types of mattresses that 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. Why? If you shop for a mattress online, you may be able to better compare features after testing out models in a store.

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 might meet your needs.
  • Narrow it down and take your time. Spend at least 15 minutes testing your favorite mattress. Move around on it to try different sleeping positions.

A 2008 study of 160 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.

One sleep expert recommended 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. But 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.

But be aware that many brands may actually be made by the same factory with the same materials and similar construction. So there may not be significant differences among some brands.

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 with chronic back and shoulder pain had better sleep with less pain on foam or latex mattresses.

7. Sleeping position

Your sleeping position can affect your back pain.

If you’re a side sleeper or a stomach sleeper, you may find a mattress with a softer top more comfortable. If you’re back sleeper, you may find a mattress with more support to be more comfortable.

8. Allergens

If you have known allergies, such as to latex, check the materials list for the mattress. 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?

In you buy a foam mattress that is 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 it. There are many varieties, each with its advantages. Here are nine.

1. Innerspring mattress

Innerspring mattresses use a steel coil system for support. How many coils and how they’re arranged matter. According to the International Chiropractors Association, these are the basic guidelines to look for:

  • 300 or more coils for a twin-size mattress
  • 375 or more coils for a queen mattress
  • 450 or more for a king-size mattress

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 mattress

Memory foam mattresses use a high-density polyurethane foam as the support system in the upholstery layer or both. This foam contours closely to the shape of the sleeper, according to the Better Sleep Council.

3. Latex foam mattress

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

4. Hybrid mattress

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

5. Pillow top mattress

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 mattress

Gel mattresses add gel to foam, which allows the mattress to dissipate heat better. It also gives the mattress a different feel.

7. Airbed

Airbed mattresses have an adjustable firmness. They fit into standard bed frames and are covered with various padding materials, such as foam. Airbeds 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’re made to fit into 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.

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

Studies show that simply changing your mattress can improve the comfort of your sleep.

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

And sleep experts point out that a good mattress is one of the most important investments you can make in your health.