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How to Choose the Best Mattress for Sciatica Pain Relief and TOP 6 picks

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 35 minLast updated on May 14, 2022

Finding a comfortable mattress can be quite a challenge. 

But if you add sciatica to the equation, the task may start looking like an impossible one.

However, there are many good models on the market. And today, you are going to learn how to pick the best mattress for sciatica among them. This shopping guide is meant to help you make the most informed decision and sleep better with sciatica pain.

A Quick Preview

Puffy
Best Overall - Editor’s Choice

Puffy
Read more about this mattress
Saatva Classic Mattress
Best for All Sleeping Styles

Saatva Classic Mattress
Read more about this mattress
GhostBed Luxe
Best Cooling Option

GhostBed Luxe
Read more about this mattress
AS2 by Amerisleep
Best Value for Money

AS2 by Amerisleep
Read more about this mattress
Winkbed
Best Hybrid Mattress Option

Winkbed
Read more about this mattress
Nolah Natural
Best for Allergy-Prone Sleepers

Nolah Natural
Read more about this mattress

List of the Best Mattresses for Sciatica Sufferers

Best Overall - Editor’s Choice — Puffy

Puffy Mattress

Highlights

  • all-foam construction;
  • comes with a traditional hugging memory foam feel;
  • medium-firm.

The Puffy would suit all the memory foam lovers who appreciate that classic hugging feel. It’s one of the best mattresses for sciatica thanks to its pressure-relieving properties.

As this is an all-foam mattress, the Puffy uses different densities to achieve a more balanced feel. This is a medium-firm mattress, which would be perfect for combo side and back sleepers. The top layer is infused with gel to offer a cooling effect. Also, the Puffy mattress has a slow response and shows great results when it comes to motion isolation. It can effectively adapt to your body’s curves and ensure your spine is properly aligned so that your sciatica pain wouldn’t worsen.

To summarize, the Puffy is definitely worth your attention. It offers a generous hug and gentle cradling, which is not only beneficial to sciatica patients but also appealing to many memory foam fans out there.

Read our full Puffy mattress review for more information.

puffy mattress cover review
Puffy Mattress On Bed Frame

Best for All Sleeping Styles — Saatva Classic Mattress

Saatva Classic Mattress

Highlights

  • multiple firmness and thickness options to satisfy more types of users;
  • enhanced back support to ensure proper spinal alignment and effective pain alleviation;
  • extra-strong edges for additional support when getting out of bed.

I’m sure the second you lie down on the Saatva, you would understand why this model deserves to be among the best mattresses for sciatica pain. The Saatva feels incredibly balanced, with just the right amount of a hug for the pressure points and adequate support for the back. There’s also a special lumbar area that promotes proper spinal alignment. Thanks to such a smart design, sleeping on the Saatva mattress made me feel weightless and free of tension. Naturally, this could also help reduce the pain levels significantly.

However, there is something you might appreciate even before you purchase, receive, and test your Saatva mattress - the variety of comfort options to choose from. This model comes in three firmness and two thickness variations. Therefore, there’s a suitable option for almost any sleeping style or user type. For instance, as a combo sleeper, I was testing the Luxury Firm model, and it worked perfectly for me.

Best Cooling Option — GhostBed Luxe

Ghostbed Luxe

Highlights

  • Gel-infused memory foam that enables thermoregulation at the highest level
  • Ghost bounce layer, good for pain relief and tension reduction
  • High density core that is great for body support

The GhostBed Luxe is a mattress made to suit all kinds of sleepers, but especially the hot ones. The mattress is made from a combination of gel-infused memory foam and latex. This feature makes it that you can have your contouring and body cradling feel, while also retaining the springiness latex is generally known for.

The mattresses’ comfort layers massage your pressure points, thereby reducing tension and pain that may have accumulated in your body. It is also great for side and back sleepers, its medium plush firmness level allows you to have a cushy feeling of weightlessness while you are on bed.

Best Value for Money — AS2 by Amerisleep

Amerisleep AS3

Highlights

  • plant-based open-cell foam for increased breathability and improved thermoregulation;
  • zoned transition layer for targeted support;
  • extended warranty to ensure customers’ peace of mind.

The next model I would love to share is the AS2 by Amerisleep. Offering pinpoint support, it makes one of the best mattresses for sciatica that can redistribute the pressure and aid pain alleviation. This has to do with the adaptive foam and the zoned transition layer the AS2 uses. They respond differently to different body parts and thus, prevent pressure build-up in any of them. I could feel that when testing the AS2 after returning from camping with a stiff back (the side effects of sleeping on the ground). Only after one night, I was free of back pain. And the best part is, such a smart construction (and quality materials) comes at a very reasonable price.

Surprisingly, despite offering close conforming, the AS2 does not sleep hot. Even when lying on one side and sinking a bit deeper, I did not experience heat retention. This is probably the effect of the plant-based Bio-Pur foam Amerisleep uses. It has an open-cell structure and allows the air to move through freely. This leads to better thermoregulation and heat dissipation during the night.

Read our full Amerisleep AS3 mattress review for more information.

Amerisleep AS3 Review-P1133774
Amerisleep-as3

Best Hybrid Mattress Option — Winkbed

Winkbed-P1077807

Highlights

  • hybrid construction;
  • reinforced edges;
  • 4 firmness options.

The next model on the list of the best mattresses for sciatica is this hybrid by Winkbed. This mattress is a good option for those who want to sleep cool without sacrificing nice cradling.

The Winkbed uses a dual-coil system for targeted support (larger-gauge coils for the base and micro-coils on top to aid spinal alignment). The edges are reinforced with coils all across the perimeter of the mattress. As for the 2 comfort layers, they use foam for pressure relief. The top layer is infused with cooling gel and combined with the breathable spring system; it makes the Winkbed ideal for hot sleepers with sciatica.

Overall, this is a great example of a good mattress for sciatica. The Winkbed combines sturdy support and cooling, which are crucial for comfortable sleep.

Read our full Winkbed mattress review for more information.

Winkbeds-P1077851
Winkbed Mattress On a Bed Frame

Best for Allergy-Prone Sleepers — Nolah Natural

Nolah Mattress

Highlights

  • doesn’t sleep hot thanks to its unique design;
  • medium profile to make getting out of bed with sciatica pain easier;
  • natural latex comfort layers are less likely to develop mold or allow for bacteria growth.

The Nolah Natural is the best mattress for sciatica pain sufferers who are prone to allergies. This mattress provides effective pressure and pain relief while creating a fresh, safe sleeping environment. First of all, the Nolah uses natural latex. It excels at tension alleviation but also ensures there’s no moisture or bacteria build-up. As a result, the Nolah Natural kept me free from such unpleasant symptoms as itchy eyes and a stuffy nose.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Nolah mattress has a responsive feel (despite delivering fast pressure relief). I felt like sleeping on the mattress instead of “in” it when testing this model. This allowed me to switch sleep positions effortlessly, which might be excellent news for sciatica pain sufferers. After all, pain often makes simple moves challenging. But the Nolah will provide a boost instead of restricting sleepers (as it often happens with memory foam mattresses).

Read our full Nolah mattress review for more information.

Nolah
Nolah-2

Can Your Mattress Cause Sciatica Pain?

Facts About Sciatica

Source: https://www.findatopdoc.com/Top-Videos-and-Slideshows/Sciatica

As you may already know, the sciatic nerve is a pretty big part of your body. It branches from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and continues down each leg (2). No wonder sciatica, which is the pain radiating through the sciatic nerve, can really mess up one’s life.

And since lower back pain is one of the main symptoms of sciatica (3), many sleepers start worrying that their mattress might be the cause of that.

Here’s the deal:

Sciatica can be caused by numerous (and far more serious) reasons (3), including herniated disc, spinal stenosis, neuromuscular disorders, degenerative disc diseases, and more. The risk factors also include diabetes, obesity (due to increased stress on the spine) (3), and even pregnancy.

Debra Sullivan, PhD recommends that if you are experiencing sciatica pain and have not already consulted your doctor we recommend asking a healthcare professional about potential causes.

So, how about your mattress?

While certain medical conditions can cause sciatica, a bad mattress can only worsen the symptoms. If your bed is old, lumpy, or simply can’t support your body properly, it can make you hurt even more. Why? Because sciatica pain can be triggered by improper spinal alignment, which is also crucial for comfortable sleep. So, a new, suitable mattress for sciatica pain is very likely to increase your general comfort levels during sleep and, consequently, reduce back pain and discomfort (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S15563707080012965).

What Type of Mattress Is Best for Sciatica?

Generally, latex and foam mattresses are thought to be the best types for those who suffer from sciatica pain. Some hybrids can work well too, while innerspring beds are rarely a good option.

These are just general guidelines. But the truth is, sleeping with sciatica can be quite challenging, and the most important thing is to invest in a mattress that will be suitable for you, personally.

So, let’s look at the most common mattress types on the market and how they could potentially work for sciatica pain. 

Foam

Typically, you will come across all-foam mattresses that use polyfoam as a support base and memory foam for comfort layers. Both materials are characterized by close conforming to the body (although polyfoam offers a bit faster response than memory foam). 

A foam bed can make a great mattress for sciatica thanks to its pressure-relieving properties. It has the ability to adjust to your body curves, meaning it will fill in the lumbar area and support your spine properly while relieving pressure in the lower back.

However, this material has its drawbacks too. Firstly, memory foam mattresses typically have weak edges, which can make it hard to get out of bed, especially if you need some extra support and tend to press your hands down against the bed to help yourself stand up.

Additionally, such mattresses tend to trap heat. And while this factor doesn’t really have a direct correlation with sciatica, it can make you feel uncomfortable during sleep, thus reducing its quality. If you are prone to sleeping hot, you may want to consider foam mattresses with gel-infused top layers or switch to more breathable latex foam.

Innerspring

Innerspring beds use coils as a support system and usually a thin layer of foam (both memory and polyfoam) on top. To tell the truth, this type of mattress cannot be called a perfect bed for sciatica due to its low pressure-relieving properties and firmness. Innerspring beds are quite bouncy and don’t allow much sinkage or contouring.

Keep in mind that spring mattresses don’t tend to sleep hot, have strong edges, and offer consistent support around the mattress surface.

Hybrid

Another popular choice among people suffering from sciatica, hybrid mattresses combine support with pressure relief thanks to their construction. These beds typically use pocketed coils for the base layer and foam or natural latex for the comfort layers.

What makes hybrid mattresses stand out among other types is the balanced feel they provide. While the coils offer bouncy support around the whole surface (including near the edges), the foam on top cradles and adjusts to your body curves, relaxing your muscles and providing good pressure relief.

The bounciness of coils makes shifting in bed easy, which is suitable for sciatica since this condition can make moving in bed quite difficult and may remind you of the discomfort people with restless leg syndrome have (5). Hybrids also don’t usually sleep hot while still allowing for a decent amount of sinkage.

It’s worth mentioning that these mattresses usually have a rather high profile. This may come in handy if you have mild mobility issues linked to your sciatica pain. Generally, people find it easier to get out of taller beds rather than low-profile ones.

However, keep in mind that this type falls into the pricier category. Moreover, hybrid beds are usually very heavy and hard to move, which may cause issues in the future.

Latex

Whether it’s natural or synthetic, latex is able to provide good contouring and support. It gently cradles the body, just like foam, but has a faster response and a bouncier feel.

Latex may be a good option for people with sciatica who often change positions during sleep. This material is also great for thermoregulation.

However, latex mattresses don’t always show good results when it comes to edge support, which means this type might not work for all sleepers dealing with sciatica pain.

Keep in mind that the more you weigh, the more you will sink into your mattress. Therefore, heavier users (above 230 pounds) are usually recommended to choose firmer, more supportive mattresses. Hybrid and latex beds tend to be among the most popular options in this case, as they are the least prone to sagging.

What Should Sciatica Sufferers Look For in a Mattress?

A good mattress can contribute greatly to your sleep quality by ensuring proper posture during sleep (6). 

But what makes a good mattress? Especially if sciatica pain isn’t letting you sleep normally?

While the definition of a perfect mattress may vary for each sleeper, there are some general factors that can play an important role:

  • Quality materials. A low-quality bed is very likely to wear out more quickly. Such mattresses tend to sag faster and lose their supportive properties, which can worsen sciatica symptoms. 
  • Pressure relief. Since sciatica is nerve pain, good pressure relief is important. When a mattress minimizes pressure points on your body, it can help decrease the pain levels and make it easier for you to relax. Pressure relief is especially important when sleeping on your side when the hips and the shoulders sink deeper into the mattress. 
  • Contouring. Closely linked to pressure relief, contouring is another important factor that can help deal with sciatica pain. When the mattress effectively molds to your body and its shape, it contributes to proper spinal alignment and thus aids in pain relief (7). 
  • Support and firmness. For proper spinal alignment, it’s important to pick a suitable firmness for your new bed. It has to be hard enough to support your body evenly and distribute the weight, thus keeping the spine in a neutral position. Research suggests that medium-firm mattresses can be effective when it comes to reducing lower-back pain (8), which is one of the common sciatica symptoms. 
  • Temperature regulation. While this aspect won’t have a direct effect on your sciatica symptoms, it can greatly influence your overall comfort and sleep quality. If you tend to sleep hot during the night, it is advised to pick a mattress with good thermoregulating properties. Usually, hybrid, innerspring, and latex beds show the best results. However, if you don’t want to give up on memory foam, you can try models with cooling gel-infused top layers. 
  • Response speed. If sciatica makes you a restless sleeper, you are likely to benefit from a more responsive mattress. If you change positions often during the night, you might need a bed that allows for ease of movement. In this case, you can consider bouncier mattresses like hybrids or latex ones.

How to Choose the Best Mattress for Sciatica Based on the Sleeping Style?

Sciatica pain relief goes hand in hand with proper alignment and pressure alleviation. But to achieve that, users would have different mattress requirements for each sleeping style.

Back sleepers

Considered the healthiest position, back sleeping requires sturdy support with minimal sinkage for the heavier body parts (such as hips and buttocks). Additional lumbar support is a huge plus for this sleeping style. 

In most cases, back sleepers feel the most comfortable using medium mattresses. The right balance between support and pressure redistribution can help sciatica pain sufferers maintain a healthy alignment throughout the night. Ideally, this could lead to reduced levels of pain.

Side sleepers

A good mattress for side sleepers with sciatica pain has to be extra-gentle on the pressure points. However, it should also have a reliable supportive core that would aid proper alignment during sleep. So, side sleepers usually prefer softer mattresses with high-density support layers (or independent coils).

A quick tip: placing a pillow between the knees can promote healthy back alignment in side sleepers. This little trick can also help reduce pressure from the hips by keeping them in alignment with the rest of the body.

Stomach sleepers

This sleeping style is not ideal when it comes to sciatica pain. In fact, stomach sleeping is not recommended even for healthy individuals. This position can put a strain on one’s back and neck, which often causes pain.

But for users who can’t teach themselves to sleep differently, it might be a good idea to invest in a firmer mattress. This way, a sturdier surface will prevent the sinkage of the hips and the belly, thus eliminating unhealthy back curvatures.

Combo sleepers

For combination sleepers dealing with sciatica pain, ease of movement is usually the number one priority. In this case, medium-firm mattresses often perform the best. They do not restrict movement and can work for multiple sleeping styles.

F.A.Q.

Is a hard or soft bed better for sciatica?

The optimal firmness level for people with sciatica pain is medium-firm. But whether this will work for you depends on your body type and preferred sleep position.

Are memory foam mattresses good for sciatica?

Yes, memory foam mattresses are considered one of the best options for people suffering with sciatica pain.

Conclusion

Not all mattresses were created equal, and we are aware of that, especially when we’re talking about sciatica, a condition that can make you experience pain on a regular basis.

Luckily, there are great beds that can help alleviate the symptoms. And my personal champion among them is the Puffy mattress. This model effectively relieves sciatica pain thanks to its adaptive feel. It offers targeted support, allowing pressure to dissipate and reducing pain levels. Plus, the Puffy is simply comfortable. It can guarantee restful slumber for a wide range of sleepers (and for years to come, thanks to its quality construction).

And don’t forget that shopping for a suitable model requires you to look at the materials used, support and firmness levels, and contouring. Consider your personal preferences and these important aspects, and you will make the right choice.

What mattress are you using right now? How does it work for your sciatica pain? Feel free to share your experience in the comments!

References

  1. What is Sciatica? Facts about Sciatica [Infographic]. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.findatopdoc.com/Top-Videos-and-Slideshows/Sciatica
  2. Healthline's Medical Network (2018, January 21). Sciatic nerve. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/sciatic-nerve
  3. Caroline Gillott (2017, December 15). Sciatica: What you need to know. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7619
  4. Mayo Clinic Staff (2019, September 26). Sciatica. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435
  5. Bert H. Jacobson, Ali Boolani, Doug B. Smith (2009, February 20). Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1556370708001296
  6. Harvard Health Publishing (2014, December). Sciatica. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/sciatica
  7. Vincent Verhaert, Bart Haex, Tom De Wilde, Daniel Berckmans, Johan Verbraecken, Elke de Valck & Jos Vander Sloten (2011, February 2). Ergonomics in bed design: the effect of spinal alignment on sleep parameters. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140139.2010.538725
  8. Harvard Health Publishing (2014, March). Posture and back health. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/posture-and-back-health
  9. Francisco Kovacs, Víctor Abraira, Andrés Peña, and more (2003, November 15). Effect of Firmness of Mattress on Chronic Non-Specific Low-Back Pain: Randomised, Double-Blind, Controlled, Multicentre Trial. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14630439/

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