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- Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
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- Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
- Best hybrid mattresses: Saatva Classic, DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid, Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Essentials, King Koil Xtended Life Concerto
- Best foam mattresses: Nectar Memory Foam, Amerisleep AS2, Eight Sleep The Pod Pro, Puffy Lux
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.
Read more about how we vet brands and products here.
- $ = under $1,500
- $$ = $1,500–$2,000
- $$$ = over $2,000
Mattress prices vary by size and brand. We based our price equivalents on a standard queen-size mattress. Many brands also have more affordable and more high-end models available.
- Price: $$
- Why we chose it: has additional lumbar support and comes in three firmness levels to accommodate most types of sleepers
- Type: hybrid
- Height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches
The Saatva Classic is made in the United States with recycled steel springs and an organic cotton cover. The contoured CertiPUR-US certified foam pillow top is designed to support your back, hips, and shoulders.
Saatva mattresses are only sold online, but the brand offers a 120-night home trial period, and you can return or exchange the mattress for a $99 transportation fee. Financing is available, and Saatva will remove your old mattress when they deliver a new one.
While this mattress generally has good reviews, some customers note that the mattress is heavy and that there’s some off-gassing, a common concern for mattresses that include foam.
- three firmness levels
- comes in less common sizes
- many reviewers say the mattress doesn’t sleep hot
- free white glove delivery
- returns have a $99 fee
DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid
- Price: $$
- Why we chose it: has contouring soft foam and individually wrapped coils for extra support
- 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.
- full-year trial
- minimal motion transfer
- lifetime warranty
- subpar Better Business Bureau (BBB) reputation
- only one firmness level
- lack of edge support
Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Essentials
- Price: $
- Why we chose it: comes in two firmness levels and has a pressure-relieving memory foam layer that alleviates pressure points
- 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 pelvis.
The polyester cover is designed to wick 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.
- reinforced structure
- cooling features
- excellent motion isolation
- warranty is shorter than some
- Price: $$$
- Why we chose it: combines pressure-relieving foam layers with adaptable coils that contour your body
- Type: foam
- Height: 12 inches
The Puffy Lux is constructed with three layers of foam atop a base that combines supportive coils with 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.
- supportive yet plush
- medium-firmness appeals to many
- free returns
- some find it too soft
- only one firmness level available
Nectar Memory Foam
- Price: $
- Why we chose it: budget-friendly mattress with a medium to medium-firm feel that suits most types of sleepers
- 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 setups 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.
- excellent motion isolation
- compatible with any foundation
- comes with a year-long trial and lifetime guarantee
- company has poor BBB reviews
- prone to off-gassing
- Price: $$
- Why we chose it: made of a specialized foam that responds faster to movement and more closely contours the body
- 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.
Since this mattress is medium-firm, it’s a solid option for all types of sleepers.
- good for back and stomach sleepers
- doesn’t trap heat
- cooling cover
- not ideal for side sleepers
- shorter trial than others
Eight Sleep The Pod 2 Pro
- Price: $$$
- Why we chose it: has advanced back support and independent heating and cooling zones
- Type: foam
- Height: 12 inches
This mattress boasts four layers of high-density foam to provide cushioning and support. While it can be comfortable for back sleepers with back pain, some side or stomach sleepers may find it too soft. Since it’s not as firm as other options, it may be too soft for some.
A high-tech option, this “smart mattress” offers temperature regulation and sleep tracking. Small tubes filled with water are concealed in the removable knit mattress cover.
Dual controls allow you to heat or cool the water, setting the temperature on each side of the bed. Sensors can adjust the temperature levels as your body temperature changes during the night.
The mattress also tracks your sleep phases, heart rate, and pulse. You can also get a regular analysis of your sleep data and trends. It requires a Wi-Fi connection.
Eight Sleep offers a 100-night trial period, free shipping, and free returns. There’s a 10-year warranty on the mattress and a 1-year warranty on the technology and temperature mechanism.
- independent temperature control
- provides sleep insights
- free shipping and returns
- very short warranty compared to others
- limited sizes
|Price range||Type||Height (inches)||Warranty length||Pressure points|
|Saatva Classic||$$||hybrid||11.5 or 14.5||lifetime||plush Euro top that alleviates pressure points and comes in three firmness levels for all sleeping positions|
|DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid||$$||hybrid||14||lifetime||medium-firm feel alleviates pressure points in the hips and shoulders|
|Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Essentials||$||hybrid||12||10 years||adaptable coils and gel memory foam for pressure relief|
|Puffy Lux||$$$||hybrid||12||lifetime||body-conforming memory foam that adapts as you move to alleviate pressure|
|Nectar Memory Foam||$||foam||12||lifetime||3-layer foam that provides a body-hugging feel to reduce pressure|
|Amerisleep AS2||$$||foam||12||20 years||more rapid response time than other memory foam beds to alleviate pressure as you switch positions|
|Eight Sleep The Pod Pro||$$$||foam||12||2 years||4-layer bed designed to reduce major pressure points in the hips, back, and shoulders|
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.
Here are 10 factors to consider when you’re mattress shopping:
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:
- Lie on a mattress in your regular sleeping position and have someone check the position of your spine.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Buying a new mattress may help your back pain. But if you have pain that persists, it’s best to seek a professional opinion.
If your back pain prevents you from participating in day-to-day activities or lasts longer than 2 weeks, it’s time to talk with a doctor. If the pain is more severe, seek care sooner.
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.
Also, an uncomfortable mattress 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?
But that doesn’t account for personal preference. Ultimately, the best 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 want 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.
What mattress types are best for people with back pain?
There isn’t one mattress that’s universally best for those with back pain. It largely depends on your preferences and needs.
All-foam options may not provide enough support, causing your spine to sag as you snooze — whereas overly firm options could make the spine too straight.
Fortunately, many online mattress companies, including most of the brands featured in this article, have at-home trials, so you can literally sleep on it before you buy.
At-home trials can still be a hassle, as you still have to do something with the mattress if it doesn’t work for you — whether it’s coordinating for the company to pick it up or donating it. Nonetheless, if you’re not sure what will work best for you, the trials could help.
If you have back pain and prefer the feel of foam for its cushioning effect, a hybrid option that’s supportive and has foam on top could bring the best of both worlds.
You spend about a third of your life sleeping, so getting a mattress you like matters.
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.