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Side sleeping is claimed as one of the most comfortable sleep positions by experts and healthcare practitioners.
But some of you may doubt that. Especially if you suffer from chronic lower back pain or experience morning stiffness in this area.
Don’t panic, though! I assure you that sleeping on a suitable mattress may help you minimize the painful feelings or get rid of them completely!
So, check out my selection of the best mattresses for side sleepers with lower back pain right below and try to find the one that may work for you!
A Quick Preview
Best Value for Money
|Check this Mattress on DreamCloudSleep.com|
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Best for Enhanced Lumbar Support
|Check this Mattress on WinkBeds.com|
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Best for Customized Firmness
Botanical Bliss by Plushbeds
|Check this Mattress on PlushBeds.com|
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Best for Cradling and Pain Relief
|Check this Mattress on Novosbed.com|
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Best for Firm Support
|Check this Mattress on Saatva.com|
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Our Reviews of 5 Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers with Lower Back Pain
Best Value for Money - Dreamcloud
Sometimes, lower back pain becomes very annoying and limits your ability to move comfortably. If this is your case, then you might need a supportive yet comfortably plush mattress to cope with this issue. That’s what the Dreamcloud is, and that’s why it’s in my review of the best mattresses for side sleepers with lower back pain.
The Dreamcloud offers you hybrid construction with a block of pocketed coils hidden inside. This block creates a uniform and supportive sleeping surface and ensures great contouring.
Another interesting feature of the Dreamcloud is that it has a rather soft feel. Three comfort layers made of soft foam, one of which is gel-infused, form a thick cushion that can cradle your pressure points and support proper spine alignment during the night. Also, thanks to the supportive coil base, these layers won’t make you sink too much and hence, you’ll switch positions easily.
Overall, with the Dreamcloud, you get quality materials that work well together to relax your body and deliver great sleep, and you don’t have to pay all the money in the world for that.
- optimal firmness level for cradling and pressure relief;
- doesn’t limit your movements, which is especially good for individuals with acute back pain;
- luxurious high-profile construction;
- instant cushioning and pressure relief;
- doesn’t sleep hot.
- may feel a bit too soft for heavy sleepers;
- may not suit those who sleep on the stomach.
Best for Enhanced Lumbar Support - Winkbed
If you need a truly best mattress for a side sleeper with lower back pain, then the Winkbed can easily become your choice. The manufacturer has made a pronounced lumbar support one of the strongest features of this bed, which can help you deal with your pain.
Winkbeds’ model lineup consists of four firmness options, starting from Soft, which can be great for petite side sleepers, and going up to the Firm Plus, which is designed particularly for large users and has a slightly different construction.
The lumbar support can be delivered in two ways: through a sewn-in lumbar pad and a zoned transition layer. If you go for anything between Soft and Firm, you’ll get a zoned coil-on-coil structure for precise contouring and great pain relief. The Firm Plus option, on the other hand, has a zoned latex layer to offer you close conforming without limiting your movements.
Along with that, hybrid construction has other advantages, such as great edge support and overall temperature neutrality, so it will prevent you from hot sleeping.
I can easily recommend the Winkbed for any lower back pain sufferer who sleeps on the side: it works really well for alleviating the discomfort and brings healthy sleep back into your life.
- versatile, four firmness levels available, including one for heavier users;
- temperature-neutral design;
- made of quality materials and will serve you for years;
- offers exceptional edge support;
- sturdy edges and uniform surface for proper spine alignment.
- may be a bit too bouncy, especially options with two coil layers;
- the coils might start to squeak over time.
Best for Customized Firmness - Botanical Bliss by Plushbeds
The Botanical Bliss by Plushbeds can be a lifesaver for those who haven’t determined their needed level of firmness and cradling yet. The manufacturer puts two firmness levels into one mattress, so you can easily adjust it to your needs. Which is why I’ve placed it in my review of the best mattresses for side sleepers with lower back pain.
So, the Botanical Bliss mattress is entirely made of Dunlop latex. This material has a rather spongy feel compared to foams and offers great rebound, so it won’t mess with your movements during the night.
Each of the latex layers comes in a different firmness, with the top one being the softest. However, if you feel like you need more support and less sinkage, you can unzip the mattress cover and swap the top layer with the one beneath it for a medium feel.
Along with a combo of good cradling and pressure relief, latex naturally sleeps cool, which is also a plus for side sleepers.
So, if you can afford to spend a bit more, go for the Botanical Bliss. It can give you a really blissful and painless sleep.
- dual-firmness design, can suit most sleeper types;
- promotes great pressure relief without limiting your movements;
- made of sustainable materials;
- available in several firmness and thickness options;
- sleeps cool and doesn’t change its properties depending on your body heat fluctuations.
- on the pricier side;
- may have a slight rubber odor at first.
Best for Cradling and Pain Relief - Novosbed
The Novosbed mattress has easily claimed its place among the best mattresses for side sleepers with lower back pain I’ve reviewed. Because you cannot find anything better for pain relief than a memory foam bed!
The mattress is available in three firmness levels. I tested the medium, and my outtakes are mostly based on it, but I believe that the other two firmness options are worthy of consideration too.
So, the Novosbed packs three foam layers under the cover — which is washable, by the way. The first layer is memory foam that precisely molds to your body and supports proper spine alignment.
The next layer is transitional and is made of standard polyurethane foam. It transitions body weight to the foam base and enhances the supportive properties of the mattress.
The bed has good edge support and can absorb impulses from sharp movements, so it would be a great pick for couples and restless sleepers.
Overall, if you’re a memory foam fan and need a mattress to cradle your body, relax the muscles, and support the spine alignment, I definitely recommend you pick the Novosbed.
- three firmness options;
- adjustable firmness after the purchase;
- surprisingly good edge support for an all-foam bed;
- uses open-cell foams that sleep neutral;
- environmentally friendly manufacturing process.
- some off-gassing is possible;
- if you order a Comfort+ kit to adjust the firmness, you’ll have to wait for another 30 days of a break-in period.
Best for Firm Support - Saatva
Surprisingly, a firmer mattress can be as effective for lower back pain alleviation as a soft one, even if you’re a side sleeper. That’s why the Saatva is on my list of the best mattresses for side sleepers with lower back pain. It can offer you more support in this area and still cradle your protruding parts to prevent pressure from accumulating in your pressure points.
The Saatva has two layers of coils atop each other. The first layer is a 4-inch thick pocketed coil system located right under the pillow-top. It is responsible for the aforementioned support and great contouring, but it doesn’t feel like quicksand.
Below, you’ll find a unit of tempered steel coils. Along with enhancing the supportive properties, they contribute to strong edge support and overall anti-sagging design.
And for even more pronounced lumbar support, the Saatva has an additional foam lumbar pad that helps alleviate pain during sleep and relax stiff muscles in your lumbar region.
The mattress is available in Soft, Medium, and Firm levels, but note that due to the ‘coil-on-coil’ construction, even the softest of them may feel firmer compared to other beds of the same firmness level.
So, if you need a mattress with a firm feel and great supportive properties to alleviate your lower back pain, go for the Saatva without hesitation.
- provides uniform support and gentle cradling of your body curves;
- made of quality and hypoallergenic materials;
- versatile, comes in three firmness options;
- sewn-in lumbar support pad for pinpoint lower back support;
- sleeps cool.
- the pillow-top layer might become flat over time;
- the coil layers could be prone to squeaking.
Most Common Causes of Lower Back Pain Explained
A lumbar area is probably the most complex region of our whole vertebrae. It does a lot of work: supports us while we stand, bends and rotates while we’re moving, and has numerous neural and muscular connections with deep muscles, tendons, joints, and extremities (1).
The thing is, such flexibility may also make it the weakest point of our body, resulting in different aches and pains.
Now, lower back pain may have many causes, but they can all be divided into several major groups, such as:
- Muscle strains. The most common problem. Deep muscles that surround our lower back are very tender and you can overstretch them very easily by lifting a heavy item too fast or in an improper way (with a curved spine, for example) (2). Office workers who sit at their desks all day long are also more prone to developing lower back issues.
- Posture problems. If you have scoliosis or lordosis, your spine is initially put out of alignment, which may overstretch the muscles in the lumbar area, causing you pain. This may also happen if you slouch on a regular basis (3).
- Age-related changes. As we age, the cartilage tissue that forms our intervertebral disks, as well as deep tendons, can become harder due to reduced collagen production, and this can result in decreased flexibility in the whole spine. Thus, you may start experiencing discomfort and pain in previously comfortable sleeping positions.
- Injuries. Finally, muscle or tendon tears can give you chronic pain and inflammation in the lumbar area. This pain may be repeatedly triggered by weather changes or sharp movements and become worse over time.
As you can see, some of these causes are irreversible and require professional monitoring and proper treatment, whereas others may be alleviated with some minor changes, such as mattress replacement or switching to a new sleeping position.
How Side Sleeping Correlates with Lower Back Issues?
The way you sleep can affect your spine alignment.
And to be honest, side sleeping isn’t the best position for lower back health.
When you sleep on your side, your shoulders and hips create pressure points and resist the pressure of your mattress. This can put the lumbar area out of alignment and create an awkward curve there, which will result in muscle strains and painful sensations after you wake up (4).
Moreover, the negative effects of side sleeping may become more pronounced in heavy individuals. Large people typically have excess weight concentrated in their stomach and hip areas, so the load on the lumbar spine is initially increased.
There’s a solution, though:
Use an additional pillow between your knees.
This will relax your hip area and make it more aligned with a mattress, so you’ll put the part of the load away from your lumbar area and decrease discomfort.
Can Your Mattress Actually Make Things Worse and How to Spot It?
Before we dive into choosing a suitable mattress for a side sleeper with lower back pain, you need to know what an unsuitable bed looks like.
Things are pretty simple here, indeed. Your mattress might be the one to blame for your sore mornings in the following situations:
- It’s old. An average mattress lifespan is 7-10 years. But the actual wear and tear of comfort layers might become pronounced even earlier. Obviously, an old mattress won’t be as supportive as the brand new one and may contribute to misalignment.
- It’s saggy. Cheaper mattresses tend to wear out even sooner and their most common defect is sagging. This is especially true if you prefer to sleep on a particular side of the bed or in a particular sleeping position. Indentations make the mattress surface uneven and it loses its supportive properties.
- It’s new. Yes, a brand new mattress can also aggravate your pain. The thing is, if you tested the mattress in the store before buying it, it could have been a bit worn out at the moment. Most of the freshly unpacked mattresses tend to feel firmer than the same model exhibited in the store. Along with that, your body simply needs time to adjust to the new feel, especially if your old bed was saggy. With that said, you may eventually suffer from sleeping on a new mattress. Luckily, this shouldn’t last long — just the first couple of weeks.
Now, don’t rush to ditch your current mattress yet!
Even if it meets one of the aforementioned criteria, it might still have nothing to do with your lower back pain.
The great news is, if your bed really contributes to your lumbar issues, you can easily tell it by the following signs:
- Dull pain. If your lower back pain is caused by a mattress, chances are that it won’t be acute or too restricting.
- It passes by itself. Give yourself a thorough morning stretch or do some yoga, and you’ll get rid of the painful sensations pretty easily.
- Changing the mattress helps. If you don’t wake up with pain when staying at a friend’s house or in a hotel and sleeping on a different mattress, then your lower back pain was likely provoked by your mattress back at home.
If any of these statements is right for you, it may be just the right time to replace your mattress with a more suitable one.
Best (And Worst) Mattress Types for a Side Sleeper with Lower Back Pain
Choosing a highly-rated mattress for a side sleeper with lower back pain can easily turn into a headache.
Luckily for you, I can guide you through the essentials and suggest that we begin with the mattress type because it’s a good starting point to significantly narrow down your search.
Memory foam mattresses are a dominant option on the market, and there’s a reason for that. They can easily adjust to your body curves, which is an advantage for a side sleeper, and distribute the weight properly so that your back muscles will be relaxed.
Memory foam is pretty dense and viscous. But this comes with some downsides, such as heat retention and slow motion response, which can be a problem if you have mobility concerns.
A cheaper alternative to memory foam, polyurethane foam is more squishy and has better rebound. The latter means that it won’t drown you like quicksand and will allow you to switch positions easily, which is great for anyone who suffers from aches and pains.
However, polyfoam is less dense — and hence, less durable — so your mattress might start wearing out faster and lose its supportive properties sooner.
Eco-friendly and natural, latex mattresses are pretty durable and can offer you support for a longer time than those made of synthetic foams. Also, the specific spongy latex feel allows you to get in and out of bed easier while still offering a decent hug for your pressure points.
The main drawback of latex mattresses is their price, as they’re typically the most expensive option you can find.
Hybrid mattresses combine coils and foams in different compositions. And this variety of configurations is both an advantage and a downside.
Let me explain:
You can find a mattress with literally any feel, which is a plus, but since many of them are new to the market, it’s impossible to tell how a given bed will perform in terms of pain relief.
My general recommendations for hybrid mattresses are to look for models with individually wrapped coils rather than a solid coil unit because that will give you more precise contouring. Also, choose mattresses with at least two comfort layers above the coils — thus, you will get sufficient cushioning for a side sleeper and maintain your spine alignment through the night.
Innerspring mattresses are still pretty common today, but I think that they won’t make a good pick for most side sleepers. Innersprings typically cannot offer enough cradling for hips and shoulders, and may even aggravate existing pain.
However, if you’re a heavier person, you might benefit from sleeping on an innerspring mattress despite its rigidness. That’s because innerspring beds are more likely to support the increased weight without sagging. Besides, more pressure on the mattress will result in deeper sinkage, so heavier people may still get sufficient cradling.
Important Mattress Checks to Make When if you are a side sleeper with lower back pain
After we’ve determined the mattress type, it’s time to look at other important factors that define whether your next bed will become your ultimate pain-relieving sanctuary.
And I’ve listed them below.
Firmness is crucial when choosing a good mattress for a side sleeper with lower back pain because unsuitable firmness can easily make your aches and pains more pronounced.
So, let’s see how each level of firmness is compatible with side sleeping. Note that I operate the universal firmness scale, where 1 stands for the softest sleeping surface and 10 for the hardest one:
- Soft (3-5 out of 10). These beds offer you a generous amount of cradling, but to some, it may be too much. This level of firmness is perfect for petite side sleepers or average-weight sleepers.
- Medium and medium-firm (5-7/10). According to a 2003 Lancet study, medium to medium-firm firmness is great for almost any sleeper with low-back pain (5). It has a comfortable amount of support and aligns your spine correctly without creating pressure points in hips and shoulders.
- Firm (7-9 out of 10). Extra firm mattresses can serve well for large sleepers with pain. They create a sleeping surface that withstands the increased weight better and supports the lower back.
Consult your healthcare provider for more personalized recommendations on choosing the right mattress surface. Thus, you can select a bed that will work perfectly for your particular needs.
As I’ve mentioned above, sometimes pain may restrict your movements during the night and make shifting positions painful.
In this case, you may need a mattress with higher rebound, such as models made of denser memory foam, polyfoam or latex. Note that if you choose a mattress with comfort layers made of infused foams, they’re usually a bit softer than solid foams.
Some mattress models are specifically designed to help people cope with lower back pain. Check the construction for the following features:
- Lumbar pad. An additional lumbar layer made of dense foam or latex may improve the pain-relieving properties of the mattress and add some more contouring for the lower back area.
- Zoned layers. Some hybrid mattresses feature a coil block with different coil gauges and different coil diameters to provide more precise support and better weight distribution around the mattress surface, which will be especially beneficial to heavier people.
- Pillow-top. If you need extra cushioning for your hips and lower back, the pillowtop layer can help you achieve that. Basically, it’s a top layer quilted with fluffy material to add a plusher feel to the surface.
A comfortable sleeping experience isn’t only about proper lower back support.
Hot sleeping can be as disrupting as painful sensations, and since side sleepers typically have an increased area of contact between their body and the mattress, they need a breathable mattress even more than other types of sleepers.
Choose mattresses with infused foams — but remember about the density — or go for mattress types that are initially more breathable, such as hybrids or latex beds.
We all heal in our sleep. And a proper mattress — along with general treatment and some lifestyle changes — can be your key to recovery even from chronic lower back pain. I believe that the models I’ve reviewed above can suit every demand and help you deal with your back issues.
As for my favorite, it’s the Dreamcloud. Its soft and cradling feel is a rare find among hybrids and is exactly what you may need to relieve your sore lower back area. Plus, the Dreamcloud sleeps cool, which adds some therapeutic points to your sleep and speeds up your recovery.
Now, if you need something without coils but with an equal amount of support, go for the Novosbed. This bed can give you a uniform sleeping surface and ensure easy movement during the night along with a decent hug to support your lumbar area.
How do you cope with lower back pain during sleep? Did you consider replacing your current mattress so it will meet your needs? You’re welcome to share your thoughts below!
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2020, April 27) Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. Retrieved from https://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/low-back-pain-fact-sheet
- John Peloza, MD (2017, April 20). Causes of Lower Back Pain. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/causes-lower-back-pain
- Andrew Bang (2018, December 12). Poor Posture Hurts Your Health More Than You Realize: 3 Tips for Fixing It. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/poor-posture-hurts-your-health-more-than-you-realize-3-tips-for-fixing-it/
- Stephen Gill (2020, January 2). How Should You Sleep if You Have Lower Back Pain? Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320870#the-best-sleeping-positions
- Francisco M Kovacs, Ph.D., Víctor Abraira, Ph.D., Andrés Peña, MD, José Gerardo Martín-Rodríguez, MD, Manuel Sánchez-Vera, MD, Enrique Ferrer, Ph.D., et al. (2003, November 15) Effect of Firmness of the Mattress on Chronic Non-Specific Low-Back Pain: Randomised, Double-Blind, Controlled, Multicentre Trial. Retrieved from https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(03)14792-7/fulltext
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