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Sciatica causes radiating pain in the lower back, hips, and legs that may make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. The pain can be short-term or it can persist for a while. In either case, having a mattress that cushions sore spots and takes pressure off the lower back can be a crucial step to getting some shut-eye.
Our team at Sleep Foundation has researched and tested some of the best mattresses for sciatica on the market today. Drawing on years of experience in the mattress industry, we’ve evaluated beds with special attention toward pressure relief and support, which can both help alleviate sciatica-related pain. Our testers also looked at other criteria such as breathability and motion isolation.
Read our mattress profiles below to learn more about our top picks and how they might benefit people who experience sciatica. We also offer a comprehensive buyer’s guide to finding mattresses that can help with sciatica pain. Our guide dives into the different ways a mattress can impact sciatica pain and provides tips on how to pick a mattress for your body type, preferred sleep position, and other factors.
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The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress with layers of memory foam and polyfoam over a support core of individually-wrapped coils. The cover is made of a moisture-wicking cashmere blend and quilted with polyfoam for added plushness. Thick memory foam and polyfoam comfort layers reduce motion transfer and cushion pressure points for those with sciatica.
The mattress has a medium firm feel that equates to a 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale. With the exception of side sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds, who may find the mattress a little firm, the mattress provides a balance of support and pressure relief that is suitable for most body types and sleeping positions.
Breathable cashmere, airflow through the coil layer, and gel infusions in the foam work together to help the mattress stay cool. The mattress has a quick response to pressure and decent edge support thanks to the coils, which may be helpful when getting in and out of bed for people with limited movement.
DreamCloud guarantees the mattress against manufacturing and workmanship defects with a limited lifetime warranty. The mattress ships free in the contiguous U.S. and comes with a full year-long sleep trial.
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The Nectar Mattress is a well-rounded foam bed that provides excellent cushioning for people who experience painful pressure buildup during sleep. It also has a medium firm (6) feel that offers above-average support compared to many other all-foam beds, not to mention a reasonable price-point.
The bed starts with a quilted poly-blend cover that is designed to stay cool and wick moisture from the body. The top layer is made of gel-infused memory foam that conforms to the body for generous pressure relief. Balancing out the memory foam is a polyfoam layer beneath, which still provides contouring but is overall firmer and generates some pushback. The bottom layer contains high-density foam that creates support for the entire bed and also promotes longevity.
Like many all-foam beds, the Nectar is a great choice for side sleepers, since it amply cushions the shoulders and hips. Thanks to its slightly firmer feel, it is also supportive enough to benefit back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds while still cradling the spine. If you share the bed with a restless partner, the Nectar is effective at isolating motion to minimize disturbances from your partner’s nighttime movements.
Nectar provides a generous 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty with all mattress purchases. Shipping is also free throughout the contiguous U.S.
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WinkBeds recently released the GravityLux, an all-foam mattress tufted with gel-infused foam. People who suffer from sciatica will likely appreciate the zoned transitional layer, which provides targeted pressure relief in the shoulders and extra support for the lower back.
WinkBeds uses proprietary AirCell foam in the comfort layer of the GravityLux Mattress. This open-cell foam is engineered to mimic the motion isolation and pressure-relieving properties of memory foam without the heat retention. A Tencel cover tufted with gel-infused foam is designed to further increase airflow.
The GravityLux is available in three firmness levels, which equate to medium soft (4), medium (5), and firm (7). Between the three options, every sleeper should be able to find a good fit, no matter their body type or preferred sleep position.
The WinkBeds GravityLux is handmade in Wisconsin. Customers have 120 nights to sleep on the mattress before committing. After this, any manufacturing or workmanship defects will be covered under a full replacement lifetime warranty.
Best for Back Pain
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People who experience back pain may benefit from a mattress that promotes spinal alignment. The Helix Midnight Luxe is a hybrid mattress that features zoned lumbar support and memory foam. Together, these components help evenly support the spine and alleviate pressure build-up. Back and side sleepers should find this model’s medium firm (6) feel most comfortable.
The Midnight Luxe’s hybrid construction begins with polyfoam that provides a durable base. Eight-inch pocketed coils form the support core. These coils are reinforced at the perimeter and zoned to provide targeted support beneath your midsection and lower back. The comfort system features three foam layers designed to hug your body closely and relieve pressure beneath your hips and shoulders.
The topmost layer is a pillow-top that feels plush and cool to the touch. Breathable Tencel fabric enhances airflow and promotes temperature regulation. In addition to pressure relief, the Helix Midnight Luxe is adept at isolating motion. The foam layers in this model help prevent this by absorbing motion instead of transferring it across the mattress’ surface.
Shoppers in the contiguous U.S. enjoy free shipping and a 100-night sleep trial. A 15-year limited warranty covers all manufacturing defects.
Best for Hip Pain
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Radiating hip pain is a defining characteristic of sciatica. A mattress that doesn’t provide adequate support around your midsection may not alleviate sciatica pain, and could even exacerbate your discomfort. For people with sciatica who weigh up to 230 pounds, the GhostBed Flex is a safe bet thanks to its medium firm (6) feel and a robust coil system to reinforce the sleep surface. The mattress has proven particularly popular with side sleepers, but anyone in this weight range who deals with sciatica pain should receive the support they need around the hips and lower back.
The Flex features a pillow-top surface padded with adaptive foam to help the surface feel plush. Two layers of memory foam cushion and contour to the body, while a transitional layer of responsive Ghost Bounce foam delivers enough pushback to prevent you from sinking too deeply. The cover is composed of proprietary Ghost Ice fabric that feels cool to the touch and woven with fibers intended to disperse heat from the surface. This can offset the memory foam’s heat-absorbing properties and maintain a comfortable temperature, even if you’re prone to overheating in bed.
The support core contains 8.5-inch pocketed coils that provide excellent stability for the entire mattress. This layer is zoned with extra-strength coils along the perimeter, which should cut down on deep sinkage when you get in and out of bed or sleep near the edges. A base layer of high-density polyfoam offers extra reinforcement.
GhostBed provides free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and includes two free GhostPillows with each purchase. Your Flex comes with a 101-night sleep trial, and is also backed by a 25-year warranty against structural and workmanship defects.
Best Pressure Relief
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The Nolah Evolution 15 is a quintessential hybrid because it contours to the body and alleviates pressure without sacrificing the support of a coil system. A Euro-top cover padded with soft foam creates a plush surface, while two additional foam layers provide additional cushioning for sensitive areas along the spine. The mattress is available in three firmness levels – medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (8) – so virtually anyone can choose a feel that suits their body type, sleep position, and pressure relief needs.
The support core is divided into zones based on gauge, or coil thickness. This provides extra reinforcement for the lower back and hips – two areas of the body greatly affected by sciatica pain. Sturdier coils also line the perimeter to prevent deep sinkage when you get in and out of bed. Edge support is particularly robust for the two firmer models. The coils promote consistent air circulation throughout the interior and the cover is quilted using proprietary Arctic Tex fibers, so overheating won’t be an issue for most people.
Nolah offers free ground delivery to anyone in the contiguous U.S. The company’s sleep trial runs 120 nights in length, but you can opt out of the trial to knock some money off of the asking price. All Evolution 15 mattresses are covered by lifetime warranties against structural defects.
Best for Side Sleepers
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The Layla Hybrid Mattress has a flippable design that allows sleepers to choose how firm they want their mattress. The mattress’ pocketed coil support core provides lumbar and lower back support while the comfort system alleviates pressure points. Sleepers can choose between a medium soft (4) or firm (7) surface.
Both sides share the same support core and comfort layers, though the foam layers differ in thickness and firmness. Side sleepers who seek pressure relief and spinal alignment are most likely to experience the Layla Hybrid’s benefits.
The soft side has an extra 1.5 inches of copper-infused memory foam, which hugs and conforms to the body. The firm side of the Layla Hybrid has a thinner memory foam comfort layer and the transition layer is firmer. As a result, the softer side is best for side sleepers under 130 pounds and the firmer side is better suited to side sleepers weighing more than 130 pounds.
The mattress’ hybrid construction lends itself well to couples who want a responsive mattress that also isolates motion. Its support core and copper-infused memory foam layer provide airflow and temperature regulation so that it sleeps cool. The Layla Hybrid’s price-point is in the mid-range for a hybrid mattress.
The Layla Hybrid’s cover is a machine-washable blend of polyester, viscose, and spandex. Layla ships mattresses for free to the contiguous U.S. and will ship to Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada for an additional charge. The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty. Customers who take advantage of the sleep trial must sleep on the Layla Hybrid for a minimum of two weeks before they can return the mattress for a full refund.
Best for Back Sleepers
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People with sciatica often encounter hip pain on a regular basis, and a mattress that lacks even support can exacerbate the discomfort level. The Zoma Hybrid mitigates this issue with a memory foam comfort layer with three different firmness zones. The design creates gentle cradling for the head and shoulders, extra-firm support for the midsection, and a more moderate feel below the waist. As a result, the surface keeps you on an even plane without feeling too stiff beneath lighter areas of the body.
An additional foam layer delivers transitional support for your body, allowing you to lie comfortably without excessive sinking, while a pocketed coil base stabilizes the entire mattress. The perimeter is further reinforced with high-density foam to protect the edges and help you get on and off the mattress with relative ease. The coils promote a decent amount of airflow and the cover is ventilated for extra breathability. These components make the Zoma Hybrid an excellent pick for hot sleepers.
The price-point is well below average compared to the average hybrid model and ground delivery is completely free for anyone in the contiguous U.S. Your order includes a 100-night trial with complimentary return shipping. Should you decide to keep the Zoma Hybrid, you’ll also receive a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
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The Plus from Majestic Beds is a luxury mattress composed of premium, pressure-relieving materials. The topmost layers contour to the body and alleviate sciatica-related discomfort around the lower back, hips, and thighs, while the denser base layers stabilize the mattress and prevent sleepers from sinking excessively. The Majestic Plus has a medium firm (6) feel, making it well-suited to side sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds and back sleepers in the range of 130-230 pounds.
The Plus consists entirely of proprietary materials. The mattress features a top layer of Ergo Gel followed by a second layer of gel-infused, high-density Ergo Comfort foam. A transitional layer of synthetic latex provides great reinforcement for the first two layers, resulting in minimal sinkage for sleepers. The support core includes a second layer of Ergo Comfort, followed by a high-density Ergo Core base.
Many all-foam beds absorb and trap body heat, creating a sleep environment that some may find uncomfortably warm. The Plus remedies this problem with cooling gel in the top two layers. This gel is intended to draw heat away from the body, and a breathable cover also promotes cool temperatures on the surface. Couples should sleep soundly on this mattress thanks to its excellent motion isolation, which limits transfer across the mattress when you or your partner moves in bed.
The Plus has a steep sticker price that reflects its high-end design, but ground shipping is free of charge for customers in the contiguous U.S. The mattress is backed by a 60-night sleep trial, as well as a manufacturer’s warranty that covers structural defects for up to 15 years.
When it comes to choosing the best mattress for sciatica, there are a number of factors to consider. The Sleep Foundation team has spent years testing mattresses and researching sleep health, so we know what to look for when selecting the best models. We perform rigorous testing on each mattress we review. This process includes a thorough look at pressure relief and support, which are both critical for those who experience sciatica.
The team at Sleep Foundation is made up of sleep product experts who have a range of body weights and sleep preferences. Using a diverse testing group helps us accurately match sleepers with the appropriate mattress for their lifestyle. When reviewing mattresses, we use physical methods like lying down and switching sleep positions as well as technology for pressure point mapping. We continually review new mattresses so that we can provide you with the most comprehensive and current information about the best mattresses for sciatica.
Not surprisingly, people who suffer from sciatica often have trouble finding a comfortable sleep position. Unfortunately, poor-quality sleep can lead us to experience pain more vividly, provoking a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
A mattress with above-average pressure relief and support can help minimize aches and pains from sciatica and help you get a better rest. Some sleepers may also have additional needs, such as motion isolation to reduce disruptions from their partner’s movement or strong edges to facilitate getting in and out of bed.
This guide discusses the impact of sciatica on your sleep and provides advice on how to choose the best mattress for sciatica based on your body type, preferred sleep position, and other factors.
It can feel overwhelming to sift through the confusing terminology that saturates the mattress industry. At the end of the day, however, buying a mattress basically boils down to a few key points. Focusing on the following factors can help you see past the marketing hype and choose the best mattress for your sciatica.
Most mattresses available today fall into one of the five categories listed below. Mattresses of a given category will share some common qualities thanks to their similar construction.
Of course, there is plenty of variation within each mattress type depending on design, materials, and other special features. Nevertheless, understanding the basic differences between mattress types can be a useful way of narrowing down which mattress is right for you.
Definition: Hybrid mattresses combine a thick comfort layer section with an innerspring support core. The comfort layers may be made of polyfoam, memory foam, latex, micro-coils, fiberfill, cotton, wool, or down.
Best of Both Worlds. Hybrids aim to provide the support, airflow, and edge support of an innerspring mattress as well as the conforming pressure relief and motion isolation of an all-foam or latex model. This makes hybrids ideally placed to deliver the balance of support and pressure relief that is needed to ease pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Definition: Innerspring mattresses feature a construction made primarily with metal coils. While this is sometimes supplemented by a thin comfort layer, this does not noticeably affect the way the mattress feels.
Affordable. Innerspring mattresses are widely available and are one of the most affordable mattress options. While they don’t provide enough pressure relief for sciatica sufferers on their own, using an innerspring mattress with a mattress topper can be an inexpensive way to customize the feel to your liking.
Definition: Latex can either be made synthetically or naturally, from a substance originating in the rubber tree. Latex mattresses usually use a denser latex in the support core and a plusher pressure-relieving latex in the comfort layers.
Responsive Pressure Relief. Latex offers substantial pressure relief without the close “hug” feeling of memory foam. This makes it a good option for sciatica sufferers who frequently change sleep positions.
Definition: The support core of an airbed consists of air chambers that can be inflated or deflated to adjust the bed’s firmness level. Mattresses for two people usually feature individual air chambers so each user can choose their own firmness level. Additionally, many airbeds soften the feel of the mattress with foam, latex, or other comfort layers.
Immediate Relief. No other type of mattress comes close to giving you such exact control over the firmness of the bed. This can be a lifesaver for sciatica sufferers whose pain changes from night to night or every time they switch sleeping positions.
Definition: Foam mattresses are constructed without a coil support core. They most often feature a support core of high-density polyfoam, plus comfort layers consisting of memory foam, polyfoam, or latex.
Advanced Pressure Relief. Foam mattresses, especially those which include memory foam in the comfort layers, offer unrivaled pressure relief that soothes and cushions pressure points. The foam’s conforming abilities can also fill in the lumbar area to prevent pressure build-up in the gap between the lower back and the mattress.
The sciatic nerves originate in the lower back and run through the buttocks, back of the legs, and soles of the feet down to the toes. Sciatica is the result of a problem with the sciatic nerves, most often a pinched or irritated nerve caused by a herniated disc. Risk factors for sciatica include poor posture, injury, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, arthritis, or bone spurs.
Sciatica is often described as a radiating pain that starts in the lower back and travels down the back of the legs and sometimes the feet. It can present as numbness, tingling, throbbing, heat, inflammation, sharp pain, aching, or even muscle spasms in the areas affected by the sciatic nerve. These symptoms can be mild or severe, acute or chronic, and they often occur only on one side of the body. Patients may find some relief with anti-inflammatory drugs or by applying ice, but for severe cases, surgery is sometimes required.
Many people with sciatica find it difficult to find a comfortable sleep position. Lying down can put pressure on the hips and lumbar area, leading many people to experience flare-ups when trying to sleep or upon waking up after lying in the same position all night. People with sciatica require a mattress that can distribute body weight and support the lower back in order to help take pressure off the sciatic nerves.
Chances are your sciatica keeps you tossing and turning to try to find a comfortable position. Those who suffer from severe sciatica may also have problems with bladder control. In these cases, choosing a mattress that isolates motion transfer can help reduce disturbances to a sleeping partner during midnight bathroom visits. Strong edge support and a responsive surface can also make it easier to get in and out of bed.
Other techniques to relieve sciatica pain include elevating the knees, using an adjustable base or zoned mattress, tucking a pillow between your knees to keep the hips in line when side sleeping, or inserting a pillow below your midsection to relieve pressure on your lower back when stomach sleeping. Taking a warm bath or doing some light stretching before bed can also provide some temporary relief. You should always consult your healthcare professional before starting any treatment.
Different sleeping positions put pressure on different parts of our bodies, which can have a significant impact on sciatica pain. Back and side sleeping are commonly touted as the best positions for people with sciatica, but as we’ll see here, this advice comes with some caveats.
Back sleeping encourages healthy spinal alignment and is typically regarded as the healthiest sleeping position. That said, there are a few factors that sciatica sufferers should watch for in order to ensure they’re getting the maximum benefits from their mattress.
One of the most notable issues for sciatica sufferers to look out for when sleeping on the back is insufficient support to the lumbar region. A mattress that is too firm can leave space between your lower back and the mattress, leading to pressure build-up in the lumbar area. By contrast, a mattress that is too plush may let your hips sink in too far, which also puts pressure on your lower back. The best mattress for back sleepers with sciatica needs to balance pressure relief and support. You may get additional relief from using a thin pillow under your knees.
Side sleepers often develop pressure points in the hips and shoulders as a result of these areas digging into the mattress. This can be doubly painful for people who have sciatica in the hips. For this reason, it’s important to choose a mattress that cushions the hips and shoulders. Memory foam is generally considered to have the best pressure-relieving capabilities.
It may be tempting to go with the softest mattress possible to alleviate pressure points, but mattresses that don’t offer enough support in the lumbar area may also cause lower back pain as a result of the hips bending at awkward angles. The best mattress for side sleepers with sciatica will contour to these curves, filling in the lumbar area and allowing the hips and shoulders to sink in just enough to keep the spine on an even plane. Some side sleepers may find that tucking a pillow between the knees can ease pressure on the lower back and hips.
Side sleeping is an excellent choice for people who only experience sciatica pain on one side. Strategically-placed pillows can help prevent you from rolling over to the painful side during your sleep.
Sleeping on your stomach is not usually recommended for people with sciatica as it is very likely to exacerbate symptoms. Since most people carry the bulk of their weight around their hips, this heavier area is prone to sinking into the mattress, which in turn puts pressure on the lower back and neck.
If you must sleep on your stomach, you’ll do best with a firm mattress that supports the hips. Using a thin pillow or even no pillow for your head and placing a pillow beneath your hips can also help promote a more natural position for your spine.
No matter how comfortable the mattress, people who have sciatica often find they need to switch sleep positions sometimes to take pressure off a given area. Therefore, in addition to pressure relief and support, a mattress for combination sleepers should facilitate movement. Latex and hybrid mattresses can provide the extra responsiveness that keeps you from feeling stuck in the bed when you switch sleeping positions.
Regardless of whether or not you suffer from sciatica, there are some general principles that every shopper should keep in mind when purchasing a new mattress.
Spending thousands of dollars on a mattress isn’t for everybody, but with a bit of digging, you should be able to find a mattress that meets your needs without breaking the bank.
The recent rise of online mattress companies means that customers now have access to a wealth of options at affordable price-points. These reflect the lack of sales commissions and other costs associated with brick-and-mortar stores.
Another option is to keep an eye out for sales, which are commonly offered on major holidays at both online and traditional retail stores. Your local newspaper may also have cut-out coupons.
If your current mattress hasn’t lost its supportive ability and all you need is a firmness adjustment, you may have luck with a mattress topper. Mattress toppers are layers of foam, latex, wool, or other materials that are designed to lie on top of your mattress and make it firmer or softer. They are a cost-effective way to get added pressure relief for your sciatica without buying an entire mattress.
The more you weigh, the more you’ll sink into a mattress. This is why lighter people tend to prefer plush, conforming mattresses and heavier people tend to prefer a firmer, more supportive surface. For example, an all-foam mattress may provide the extra pressure relief needed for a person under 130 pounds, while someone over 230 pounds may prefer the more supportive feel of a hybrid or latex mattress. Of course, this will also depend on your preferred sleeping position and other factors.
The average price for a good-quality foam mattress starts around $800, with other mattress types or more sophisticated models costing up to $2,000 or more. Additional features such as cooling technology tend to be reflected in the price tag, so the budget of your mattress will depend on what features are important to you.
Most online mattress companies offer sleep trials so you can try out the mattress in your own home before committing to a purchase. You should look for a sleep trial that’s at least 90 nights long, which will give your body time to adjust to the feel of the new mattress. Some mattress companies impose mandatory break-in periods or charge return fees, so be sure to check the fine print before ordering.
After the sleep trial ends, a mattress warranty can protect you against premature sagging, ensuring your mattress will continue to deliver the support you need to reduce sciatica pain. Mattress warranties tend to last at least 10 years and cover significant defects in materials and workmanship. That said, mattress warranties shouldn’t be the main factor that influences which mattress you buy.
The best mattress for people with sciatica will provide ample cushioning around the sciatic nerve, which originates in the buttock and runs down the thigh and lower leg. A mattress should also alleviate pressure in the lower back, where people often feel sciatica-related pain. While cushioning is important, the mattress should also provide decent support and resist deep sinkage in areas of the lower body.
The best firmness is somewhat subjective because it also depends on the sleeper’s weight, but added support around the lumbar region, hips/buttocks, and thighs is often needed to reduce sciatica pain. If you weigh less than 130 pounds, then a softer mattress may be comfortable, but those who weigh more may prefer a firmer bed instead.
Some mattresses feature zoned designs with firmer materials to bolster the lower body and softer materials to cradle the head and shoulders. These models may be a good compromise for those who enjoy a plusher feel up top and more support where sciatica pain tends to strike.
Not really, but the wrong mattress certainly won’t help. Sciatica typically occurs due to issues with discs in the lower back that put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t provide enough support to the lower body probably won’t cause sciatica on its own, but this can certainly exacerbate symptoms for people who already have sciatica. Conversely, a supportive mattress that cushions the affected areas may not completely eliminate your pain, but can eliminate discomfort and help you sleep better.
Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
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