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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
BEST OVERALL - EDITOR’S CHOICEs
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BEST FOR COMBINATION SLEEPERS
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BEST FOR BACK SLEEPERS
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Best Value for Money
AS2 by Amerisleep
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Best for Allergy-Prone Sleepers
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List of the Best Mattresses for Sciatica Sufferers
Best Overall - Editor’s Choice - Plank
- It’s a flippable mattress with both firm and extra-firm sides suitable for back and stomach sleepers.
- Designed with an optional cooling panel which exhibits temperature regulation, ensuring sleepers sleep cool all night.
- The dense poly foam layer absorbs motion ensuring movement is restricted to one side of the bed for partnered sleepers.
The Plank by Brooklyn Bedding is our first option because of its solid structure which helps keep the body well positioned when sleeping. The mattress is designed with two different firmness - firm and extra-firm levels to keep the spine correctly aligned, especially for stomach and back sleepers. However, the firm side offered a little contouring with no pressure buildup around my body when I slept on the mattress.
Apart from providing a firm surface for even pressure distribution for sciatica sufferers, the Plank mattress also has strong edge support. You might feel a little compression when you sit on the side; however, you can sleep close to the edge without feeling like you'd roll off. Also, the solid edge allowed for more sleeping space when I shared the mattress with my partner.
While reviewing this product, I noticed that the firm side supported my head, neck, and hip; ensuring my spine was correctly positioned. In addition, despite being firm, I felt the mattress contoured around my body, reducing pressure points.
- A firm feel that supports your head and neck for proper spinal positioning.
- Flippable with firm and extra-firm options for a personalized comfort experience.
- It has an extra-firm option that is sturdy enough for heavier stomach sleepers.
- Solid edge support makes getting in and out of bed easier.
- No release of offensive chemical odor when unpacking the mattress.
- It might not provide enough cushioning for side sleepers.
- Non-removable cover means it can't be easily maintained by washing.
Runner Up — Winkbed
- hybrid construction;
- reinforced edges;
- 4 firmness options.
Our next mention of the best mattresses for sciatica is this hybrid mattress by Winkbed which offers more body weight support than the all-foam Puffy mattress. The Winkbed mattress is in our list of top-rated products because it helps 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.
While testing this product, I felt more cushioning around my head, neck, and back and my sleep posture was quite comfortable. Also, the mattress offered the right amount of cushioning that helped my body relax better.
Read our full Winkbed mattress review for more information.
- strong edges, great for couples;
- consistent support, promotes correct spine alignment;
- breathable construction;
- good conforming ability;
- quality-made and durable;
- versatile, many firmness levels available.
- even the softest option might lack cradling for petite sleepers;
- might feel overly bouncy, especially for those who are used to all-foam mattresses.
Best for Combination Sleepers With Sciatica — Puffy
- all-foam construction;
- comes with a traditional hugging memory foam feel;
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.
- contours the body precisely and relieves pressure;
- classic hugging feel for memory foam lovers;
- good motion absorption;
- affordable price;
- great for side and back sleepers.
- some users may find the edges weak;
- may not be supportive enough for heavier individuals or strict stomach sleepers;
- might sleep hot if you are larger and sink in deeper.
Best for Side Sleepers — Zoma
- The memory foam generously adapts around the body curves, ensuring the spine is kept in a neutral position.
- The bouncy transition layer which could make movement and switching sleep position on the bed much easier.
- Its perforated cover design enhances good air circulation, which allows you to sleep cooler.
The Zoma mattress is a memory foam model made to gently cuddle around the body's curves, allowing for proper spinal alignment, a feature most sciatica sufferers find handy. Personally, I loved that despite being hugged by the mattress, I didn't feel trapped, and this is all thanks to the bouncy transition layer.
Compared to traditional memory foam mattresses, this model has decent edge support that makes getting in and out of bed easy. Furthermore, I like how supportive it is regarding changing sleep positions. Finally, the cover is made of breathable materials, which further enhance comfort by allowing more airflow.
From reviewing this product, I could tell that it offers impressive support for the spinal region. The transition layer provided a firm surface, so my hip didn't sink, allowing my spine to be aligned appropriately.
Read our full Zoma mattress review for more information.
- Fast response to applied pressure allowing easy change of sleep positions.
- The cover is removable and machine washable for easy maintenance.
- It adapts around the body, evenly redistributing tension from pressure points.
- The memory foam is gel-infused and not likely to sleep hot.
- Solid edge support allows sleeping close to the mattress edge without the fear of rolling off.
- It might feel less supportive for heavier stomach sleepers.
- Off-gassing while unpacking, however, the odor could dissipate in about an hour.
Best Value for Money — AS2 by Amerisleep
- 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.
After testing this mattress, I can attest that the cradling support was more noticeable around the protruding areas of my body. The comfort layer adequately adapts around my shoulder, hip, and spine while evenly redistributing pressure for pain relief.
Read our full Amerisleep AS3 mattress review for more information.
- well-made and durable, despite an attractive price tag;
- targeted support thanks to the zoned transition layer;
- 20-year warranty to ensure longer-lasting customer protection;
- breathable plant-based foam, sleeps neutral;
- does not restrict movement, great for combo sleepers.
- mediocre edge support, might be an issue for those users who want more sleeping space;
- might not be hugging enough for strict side sleepers.
Best for Allergy-Prone Sleepers — Nolah Natural
- 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).
While reviewing the Nolah mattress, I enjoyed how the comfort layer softly cradles around my hip and shoulder for pressure relief.
Read our full Nolah mattress review for more information.
- natural and safe construction, great for environmentally-conscious shoppers;
- doesn’t sleep hot;
- breathable and naturally resistant to mold and dust mites (great for allergy sufferers);
- delivers responsive support, allowing for unobstructed movement;
- has an adaptive feel that results in effective pressure alleviation.
- allows for some motion transfer, which might be an issue for partnered sleepers;
- not firm enough to properly support stomach sleepers.
Can Your Mattress Cause Sciatica Pain?
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A good mattress for cradling support would be one that contours well to the body’s protruding parts for better spine positioning. Hence, my favorite pick is the Plank mattress, as this model is flippable, making it fit for back and stomach sleepers to achieve proper spinal alignment. This mattress also does well with cradling the body pressure points necessary for pain relief. Plus, its solid edge supports easy transference, a feature needed by sciatica sufferers to adjust to a comfortable position when it becomes challenging to sleep.
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!
- What is Sciatica? Facts about Sciatica [Infographic]. (n.d.). Retrieved August 18, 2020, from https://www.findatopdoc.com/Top-Videos-and-Slideshows/Sciatica
- Healthline's Medical Network (2018, January 21). Sciatic nerve. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/sciatic-nerve
- Caroline Gillott (2017, December 15). Sciatica: What you need to know. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/7619
- Mayo Clinic Staff (2019, September 26). Sciatica. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/symptoms-causes/syc-20377435
- 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
- Harvard Health Publishing (2014, December). Sciatica. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/sciatica
- 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
- Harvard Health Publishing (2014, March). Posture and back health. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/posture-and-back-health
- 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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