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Home / Best Mattress / Best Mattress for Sciatica

Best Mattress for Sciatica

Keith Cushner

Written by

Keith Cushner, Sleep Product Expert

Jenny Iyo

Medically Reviewed by

Jenny Iyo, Physical Therapist

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Methodology

We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guide to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn More

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Following a recent round of product tests, we've updated this page to include the Bear Elite Hybrid as our best cooling pick and the Leesa Original Hybrid as our top pick for pressure relief. The DreamCloud remains our best overall mattress for sciatica.

Sleepfoundation.org is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

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.

The Best Mattresses for Sciatica

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.

July 4th is a great time to buy a mattress, with many mattress companies offering major discounts. Sales typically start in the weeks leading up to July 4th, so check our product reviews below for discount information. You can also head to our list of July 4th deals and discounts.

Product Details

Best Overall

DreamCloud Mattress

DreamCloud Mattress
Price Range: $899 - $1,499
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • People who enjoy sleeping on high-profile mattresses
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who value reliable edge support
Highlights:
  • Generous 365-night home sleep trial, plus a lifetime warranty
  • Approachable price-point
  • Individually wrapped coils offer robust, responsive support
DreamCloud Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on DreamCloud mattresses

The DreamCloud is high-quality hybrid mattress offering thoughtful construction at an approachable price-point. A medium firm (6) feel, foam comfort layers, and pocketed coils create a feel that is equally supportive and pressure relieving.

What It’s Made of

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 support core contains individually wrapped coils that provide targeted support to your body. A base layer made of high-density foam provides stability for the entire bed and enhances durability.

How It Performed

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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The DreamCloud is one of the most balanced hybrids we have tested. Plush on the surface but ultimately very supportive, this mattress could be a good option for people with sciatica pain who need some extra reinforcement.”

Best Value

Nectar Mattress

Nectar Mattress
Price Range: $399 - $1,138
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who experience painful pressure buildup at night
  • Value shoppers
Highlights:
  • Even balance of contouring and support for a foam bed
  • All-foam construction isolates motion
  • 365-day sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Nectar Mattress

$599 off! $100 off + $499 in free accessories included.

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.

What It’s Made of

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.

How It Performed

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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Nectar has that classic cushioned all-foam feel, but with just the right amount of firmness to make it more supportive than other foam beds we’ve tried out.”

Most Comfortable

Helix Midnight Luxe

Helix Midnight Luxe
Price Range: $1,199 - $2,499
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Back and side sleepers
  • People who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • Those who experience back pain
Highlights:
  • Foam comfort system closely contours to relieve pressure
  • Tencel cover enhances airflow
  • Core features zoned lumbar support
Helix Midnight Luxe

Get up to $350 off + 2 free Dream Pillows

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 buildup. Back and side sleepers should find this model’s medium firm (6) feel especially comfortable.

What It’s Made of

The Midnight Luxe’s hybrid construction begins with a breathable Tencel cover and a quilted pillow-top for a luxuriously plush surface. The comfort system features three foam layers designed to hug your body closely and relieve pressure beneath your hips and shoulders. The first layer is adaptive memory foam that closely contours to the body. Next is a layer of denser memory foam that evenly distributes weight to promote spinal alignment. A polyfoam transitional layer reduces sinkage and adds cushion between the foam comfort system and the coil support core.

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 coils rest on a base layer of dense polyfoam for stability.

How It Performed

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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Midnight Luxe feels like a mattress made for people with back and hip pain. The pillow-top feels plush and adaptive, but the zoned coils provide enough pushback where it’s needed.”

Luxury Firm WinkBed

Best for Back Pain

Luxury Firm WinkBed

Luxury Firm WinkBed
Price Range: $1,149 - $2,049
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Couples
  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • People who have trouble getting in and out of bed
Highlights:
  • Quilted Euro-top gives the surface a plush initial feel
  • Coil system enables air to circulate and cool the bed
  • Reinforced perimeter enhances edge support
Luxury Firm WinkBed

Get $300 off all mattresses

The WinkBed is a well-rounded hybrid mattress available in an array of firmness levels, but the Luxury Firm WinkBed stands out for its balanced feel that caters to sleepers with back pain. The foam layers contour to the body to relieve pressure buildup, while zoned pocketed coils offer ample pushback to the midsection.

What It’s Made of

With a medium firm (6) feel, the Luxury Firm WinkBed has a Euro-top quilted with gel-infused polyfoam. Beneath is a transitional layer of SupportCell polyfoam that promotes contouring but has a higher-density composition to make it feel a bit firmer. This layer also serves as a buffer between the comfort system and the support core. The core is composed of pocketed coils that provide substantial support, with a zoned design that delivers extra support to the lumbar region and extra coil reinforcement around the edges. A breathable and moisture-wicking Tencel cover encases the mattress.

How It Performed

Our testing found the mid-range feel and supportive construction benefit back sleepers and stomach sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds. These sleepers should feel a good amount of cushioning without sinking too deeply into the mattress. Side sleepers who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds should also appreciate the cradling from the foam layers.

If you tend to run hot during sleep, the coil system enables plenty of air circulation to help keep the bed cool. We also recommend the mattress for couples, who should be able to move across the mattress easily and lay near the edges without sinking. The coils also provide responsiveness that many couples prefer for sex.

WinkBed backs this mattress with a 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“As someone with persistent back pain, I found the Luxury Firm WinkBed incredibly supportive. The foam layers offered moderate cushioning to my lower back, but I didn’t experience any uncomfortable sagging.”

Nolah Evolution 15

Best for Side Sleepers

Nolah Evolution 15

Nolah Evolution 15
Price Range: $1,099 - $1,699
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Back sleepers
  • Those who run hot in bed
  • People who feel tenderness or soreness around the lower back and hips
Highlights:
  • Three firmness levels available
  • Zoned coils create an exceptionally strong support system
  • Option to opt out of sleep trial for added savings
Nolah Evolution 15

Get an additional $30 off the Nolah Evolution Mattress for total savings of $730 with code: SF730OFF

The Nolah Evolution 15 is a quintessential hybrid because it contours to the body and alleviates pressure for side sleepers without sacrificing the support of a coil system. This construction also facilitates airflow and creates a supportive perimeter for those who have trouble getting in and out of bed.

What It’s Made of

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 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.

How It Performed

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. 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 ArcticTex 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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“I felt a lot of cushioning on the Evolution 15 but the zoned coils provided enough support for my hips and lower back. People who usually find hybrids too firm should test out the medium-feel option for this mattress.”

Bear Elite Hybrid

Best Cooling

Bear Elite Hybrid

Bear Elite Hybrid
Price Range: $1,865 - $2,798
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night break-in period)
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • Couples who usually find hybrids too responsive and disruptive to sleep
  • Those who experience painful pressure points along their spines
Highlights:
  • Memory foam hybrid design contours evenly without sacrificing support
  • Available in three firmness levels to accommodate different types of sleepers
  • Zoned transitional layer reinforces heavier areas of the body
Bear Elite Hybrid

30% off sitewide, plus 2 free Cloud Pillows with mattress purchase

Optimizing your temperature in bed can help you fall asleep when your sciatica symptoms are acting up. The Bear Elite Hybrid is one of the latest mattresses from Bear Sleep, a brand best known for sleep products that incorporate cooling technology to promote consistent temperature regulation. A cover engineered to dissipate heat on contact and coils that generate airflow throughout the interior should help the mattress sleep comfortably any time of year – even on hot and humid nights.

What It’s Made of

The Elite Hybrid is available in three firmness levels: medium (5), medium firm (6), and firm (8). All three designs begin with a memory foam comfort layer infused with copper, a material with natural cooling properties. The convoluted polyfoam transitional layer is divided into five firmness zones to reinforce the midsection while gently cushioning the head, shoulders, and legs.

Pocketed coils and dense base foam make up the support core. Thicker coils line the perimeter to push back against your weight and prevent deep sinkage when you lie close to the edges of the mattress or get in and out of bed. The cover is a blended fabric containing Celliant, an innovative material that absorbs and releases heat to maintain a cool surface at all times.

How It Performed

We tested all three of the Elite Hybrid’s firmness levels. Our side and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds felt most comfortable on the medium design. These models contour closely to cradle our spines and alleviate pressure in our hips, lower back, and other areas affected by sciatica pain. The medium firm feel earned favorable ratings across the board, though the highest marks came from our side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds, and our back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds. Lastly, we recommend the firm feel to side sleepers over 230 pounds, back sleepers of at least 130 pounds, and stomach sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds. Our testers who fall into these groups received adequate support and light, even conforming from the firm design.

We were impressed by the Elite Hybrid’s cooling abilities during our temperature control tests. Our thermal sensors detected minimal heat buildup and our testers felt comfortable lying on the mattress. The thick foam layers also allowed the Elite Hybrid to excel when we tested it for motion isolation, as our testers didn’t notice any movement on their side of the mattress. We also found the Elite Hybrid easy to move across and didn’t sink excessively along the edges.

Bear offers free ground shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. You can choose to receive two free pillows with your Elite Hybrid purchase, or upgrade to a sleep accessories bundle that includes two pillows, a sheet set, and a mattress protector at a discounted price. The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial, and is further backed by a lifetime warranty if you decide to keep it.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Bear Elite Hybrid sleeps cooler than other mattresses we’ve tested with thick foam layers. A heat-dissipating cover, copper-infused top layer, and steady air circulation throughout the interior should help the mattress sleep comfortably throughout the year.”

Leesa Original Hybrid

Best Pressure Relief

Leesa Original Hybrid

Leesa Original Hybrid
Price (Queen): $1,299
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who tend to overheat in bed
  • Those whose sciatica symptoms seem to worsen while they sleep
Highlights:
  • Dual-layer foam comfort system cushions the spine and reduces pressure in the shoulders and hips
  • Steady air circulation through the coil system helps the mattress sleep cool
  • Reinforced perimeter reduces sinkage to help you get in and out of bed
Leesa Original Hybrid

Up to $400 off Mattresses + 2 Free Pillows

Sciatica pain and pressure points along the spine often go hand in hand. The Leesa Original Hybrid features two foam layers for deep, adaptive cushioning in areas most impacted by sciatica. This helps alleviate pressure, and can also help you sleep comfortably during sciatica flare-ups.

What It’s Made of

The Original Hybrid contains a memory foam comfort layer and dense polyfoam transitional layer. The mattress has a medium firm (6) feel, but the topmost layer makes the surface feel invitingly plush when you get into bed. As your body settles, the transitional foam contours evenly to provide additional cushioning while keeping you on an even plane.

The support core consists of pocketed coils over high-density base polyfoam. Extra perimeter support protects the edges from deep sinkage and allows you to get on and off the mattress with relative ease. A cover made of breathable knit fabric encases the interior components. At 11.25 inches thick, the Original Hybrid is a medium-profile mattress and shorter-than-average compared to other hybrids we’ve tested.

How It Performed

The Original Hybrid’s balanced feel made the mattress popular among our testers. Side sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds and back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds awarded the most favorable ratings, but our testers across most weight and position groups found the mattress comfortable and sufficiently supportive.

Due to the thick foam layers, the Original Hybrid performed well in some areas where hybrids tend to struggle. Our testers noticed minimal buildup during our pressure relief tests, and our motion isolation tests revealed a low amount of motion transfer despite the mattress’ sturdy coil support. We recommend the Original Hybrid to anyone who lives with day-to-day sciatica pain and needs a supportive mattress that also delivers deep, even body cushioning.

The mattress carries a much lower price-point than most of the hybrids we’ve evaluated and shipping is free of charge to customers in all 50 states. As an added bonus, you’ll receive two free pillows with your purchase. Each Original Hybrid is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty against structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Original Hybrid’s balanced design and mid-level feel should appeal to a wide range of sleepers across different weight and position groups. Consistent cooling, above-average motion isolation, and a pressure-relieving comfort system set it apart from other hybrids we’ve tested firsthand.”

GhostBed Flex

Best for Hip Pain

GhostBed Flex

GhostBed Flex
Price Range: $1,795 - $3,900
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 101 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • People who tend to overheat or sweat in bed
  • Sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • Couples who use an adjustable base with their mattress
Highlights:
  • Thick foam layers and sturdy coils provide balance of contouring and exceptional support
  • Cover fabric promotes exceptional cooling on the surface
  • Zoned support core protects the edges from deep sinkage
GhostBed Flex

30% off GhostBed mattresses & 2 free pillows + 10-year stain protection plan ($489 value)

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.

What It’s Made of

The Flex features a pillow-top 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 is woven with fibers intended to disperse heat from the surface. The support core contains pocketed coils that provide excellent stability for the entire mattress. A base layer of high-density polyfoam offers extra reinforcement.

How It Performed

The mattress has proven particularly popular with side sleepers, but anyone who weighs up to 230 pounds who deals with sciatica pain should receive the support they need around the hips and lower back. The support core 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. The Ghost Ice fabric helps offset the memory foam’s heat-absorbing properties and maintain a comfortable temperature, even if you’re prone to overheating in bed.

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.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought
“The Flex is a true hybrid in the sense that the top layers conform but you never feel like you’re sinking too much. The edges feel remarkably stable – none of the roll-off you often find with foam hybrids.”

ViscoSoft Edge Mattress

Best for Spinal Alignment

ViscoSoft Edge Mattress

ViscoSoft Edge Mattress
Price Range: $1,550 - $2,250
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 120 nights
Warranty: 10 Year
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Anyone who wakes up easily due to their partner’s movements
  • People who weigh up to 230 pounds
Highlights:
  • Deep comfort system ensures ample cushioning and close body contouring
  • Excellent motion isolation and no noise
  • Free accessories and accident protection with each purchase
ViscoSoft Edge Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on ViscoSoft mattresses

ViscoSoft is best known for its extensive selection of mattress toppers, many of which are produced from dense memory foam. The ViscoSoft Edge Mattress is constructed with the same material in the comfort system, followed by dense support layers. The result is a deeply conforming sleep surface that can alleviate sciatica-related aches and pains for sleepers – particularly those who sleep on their back or side.

What It’s Made of

The Edge’s two comfort layers are made of memory foam, both of which measure 2 inches thick. The topmost layer is infused with silver fibers intended to keep the surface cool. Transitional and base layers of high-density polyfoam provide additional cushioning while reinforcing your body and preventing you from sinking too much.

A jacquard-knit cover encases the entire mattress. The cover contains phase change material, which is engineered to capture and release heat. This helps create a cool, comfortable sleep surface at all times. Altogether, the Edge measures 12 inches thick and is considered a high-profile mattress. Its feel is considered medium (5).

How It Performed

During our hands-on tests, the Edge fared quite well with our team’s side and back sleepers. The side sleepers felt plenty of cushioning around the shoulders and hips – two areas where they tend to experience pressure buildup. Back sleepers could lie comfortably without sinking too much around the midsection. The most favorable ratings came from testers weighing up to 230 pounds.

The Edge also excelled during our motion isolation tests. The foam layers absorb most movement and practically eliminate transfer across the surface, so the mattress is a good option for couples who constantly wake each other up when they change sleep positions or get up during the night. The mattress is also completely silent when bearing weight.

The Edge Mattress is competitively priced, and ViscoSoft offers free ground delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. Each order includes two pillows, a mattress protector, and a sheet set – all at no extra cost. You’ll also receive 3 years of accident protection, which covers stains, liquid damage, and other issues not covered under the standard 10-year manufacturer’s warranty. The mattress is further backed by a 120-night sleep trial.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The ViscoSoft Edge is a very balanced mattress for people who deal with sciatica pain. I felt close contouring from the memory foam layers, but the transitional and support foams prevented me from sinking too deeply beneath the surface.”

Why You Can Trust Us

Our Sleep Foundation team ranges in body weight and sleep preference, allowing us to accurately match sleepers with the appropriate mattress. We have spent years testing mattresses and researching sleep health, so we know what to look for when selecting the best models. Our rigorous testing process includes a thorough look at pressure relief and support, which are critical for those who experience sciatica.

How We Evaluated These Mattresses

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 to provide you with the most comprehensive and current information about the best mattresses for sciatica.

Read on to find out about our product research methodology:

  • Motion Isolation: Motion isolation can be particularly important for partners of those with sciatica, who tend to change positions frequently. Mattresses made with thick, foam comfort layers tend to absorb more motion and perform best in this category.
  • Temperature Control: Overheating at night can lead to sleep disruptions and fatigue the next day. The best temperature-neutral mattresses often feature materials like breathable cotton or latex comfort layers to trap less heat.
  • Pressure Relief: Pressure relief is especially important for sleepers with sciatica. These sleepers may prefer a mattress with a thick, memory foam comfort system that cradles the body and reduces uncomfortable pressure buildup.
  • Off-Gassing: Off-gassing is temporary and usually harmless, but the odors can be frustrating for many sleepers. Volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions or other material smells can cause these odors after unboxing a mattress.
  • Ease of Movement: Many sleepers with sciatica toss and turn at night to prevent pain associated with staying in the same sleep position. These sleepers may appreciate a responsive mattress that allows them to move across the surface easily, like those with latex comfort layers.
  • Edge Support: Sleepers with sciatica that experience difficulty getting out of bed may benefit from a mattress with greater edge support. A sturdy perimeter allows sleepers to comfortably sit on the edge for extra assistance.
  • Sex: Bouncier mattresses are generally preferred for sex, but noise suppression and temperature regulation are other important factors. Latex hybrids tend to rank highly in this category thanks to responsive comfort layers that trap less heat.
  • Body Weight: Body weight is a major determining factor of your firmness and support needs, in addition to sleeping position and other personal preferences. Since these picks are largely subjective, we recommend testing multiple firmness levels to discover which is best for you.

How to Choose a Mattress for Sciatica


People with sciatica experience pain and numbness in the lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs. The pain can occur on one or both sides of the body, and in severe cases, sciatica may even interfere with bladder function. Studies estimate that the lifetime prevalence of sciatica may be between 13 and 40 percent.

Not surprisingly, people who have 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.

What to Look for in a Mattress

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.

  • Price: There’s no need to break the bank to get a mattress that can help relieve sciatica pain. Before you start to research mattress options, work out a budget and filter your choices accordingly. Many mattress companies even offer significant discounts, especially around major holidays.
  • Quality Materials: A mattress made with poor-quality materials may succumb to premature sagging or indentations, which affects its ability to deliver support and alleviate pressure points. Higher-quality mattresses may cost more, but they are a better guarantee of long-lasting relief.
  • Firmness Level: Mattress firmness is a subjective measure, and the best firmness for you will depend on your body type, preferred sleeping position, and personal preference. People with sciatica should look for a mattress that is sufficiently firm to support the lumbar area, without putting unwanted pressure on the hips and shoulders.
  • Pressure Relief: Pressure relief is essential for people who experience sciatica, especially side sleepers whose sciatica flares up in the hips. Mattresses with memory foam or latex comfort layers tend to perform best at pressure relief, cushioning heavier parts of the body to ease pressure build-up.
  • Edge Support: A mattress with strong edges can make you feel more secure when lying near the edge of the bed. This can also be an invaluable support when getting in and out of bed, particularly if your sciatica makes some movements painful or awkward.
  • Contouring: Materials that mold themselves to the body’s curves promote proper spinal alignment and help provide pressure relief, both of which are essential for people with sciatica. Memory foam typically offers the best contouring, and some latex and polyfoam mattresses also do well in this category.
  • Temperature Regulation: While temperature won’t necessarily have a direct effect on your sciatica, a sleeping environment that’s too warm can severely impact your sleep quality. People who are prone to overheating at night may find that a cooling mattress helps them get the rest and recovery they need.
  • Ease of Movement: Many people with sciatica find the pain gets worse after they stay in the same position for a long time. For these people, latex and hybrid mattresses provide a responsive surface that makes it easier to switch sleeping positions.
  • Mattress Type: Mattresses aren’t one-size-fits-all, and the right mattress for you will depend on your individual needs. Having a general idea of which features you value most can help guide you toward a specific mattress type and make it easier to reach a decision.

What Type of Mattress is Best for 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.

Hybrid

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, microcoils, 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.

Innerspring

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 may not provide enough pressure relief for sleepers with sciatica, using an innerspring mattress with a mattress topper can be an inexpensive way to customize the feel to your liking.

Latex

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 people with sciatica who frequently change sleep positions.

Airbed

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 people with sciatica whose pain changes from night to night or every time they switch sleeping positions. Airbeds tend to be very expensive compared to other mattress types and may be too pricey for those looking for a cheap mattress.

Foam

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.

How Does Sciatica Affect Sleep?

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 may have difficulty finding 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 experience 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.

How Does Sleep Position Affect People with Sciatica?

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 Sleepers

Back sleeping encourages healthy spinal alignment and is typically regarded as the healthiest sleeping position. That said, there are a few factors that sleepers with sciatica should watch for in order to ensure they’re getting the maximum benefits from their mattress.

One of the most notable issues for people with sciatica 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

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.

Stomach Sleepers

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.

Combination Sleepers

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.

Last Things to Consider with a Mattress for Sciatica

Regardless of whether or not you experience sciatica, there are some general principles that every shopper should keep in mind when purchasing a new mattress.

How Can I Get Relief On a Budget?

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. You can save some money by buying a smaller size like a full mattress, but most sizes under a queen tend to be insufficient for those who switch sleep positions frequently.

The recent rise of online mattress companies means that customers now have access to a wealth of options at affordable price-points. These “mattress in a box” purchases 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.

How Does Body Type Affect Mattress Selection?

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.

How Much of an Investment Do I Need to Make?

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.

Mattress Warranty and Other Policies

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of mattress is best for sciatica?

    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.

  • What mattress firmness is best for sciatica?

    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.

  • Can sciatica be caused by a mattress?

    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.

Still have questions?

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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About Our Editorial Team

author
Keith Cushner

Sleep Product Expert

Keith is a sleep product expert with nearly a decade of experience researching, developing, and testing sleep products.

author
Jenny Iyo

Physical Therapist

DPT

Dr. Iyo is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at an orthopedic clinic in Seattle. She specializes in hands-on therapy and tailored exercise programs.