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It’s estimated that 2-3 percent of the American population suffers from scoliosis. Characterized by the presence of an unnatural curve in the spine, scoliosis can cause added pressure and sore spots that make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
While the right mattress won’t cure scoliosis, some of the pain from scoliosis can be alleviated with a mattress that delivers pressure relief and spinal support where it’s most needed. In turn, this can help you get the quality sleep you need to work your way toward healthy spinal alignment.
We’ll offer advice on how to choose the best mattress for scoliosis, diving into the science behind how scoliosis affects your sleep and explaining how to choose a mattress that fits your individual needs. We’ll also include some of our top picks for mattresses on the market today.
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People living with scoliosis typically need a mattress that will cradle the body and alleviate pressure along the spine. The Nectar Lush fits this description to a T. The mattress is constructed with a 3-inch comfort layer of medium-feel memory foam that contours very closely to reduce aches and pains in sensitive areas.
The Lush also features transitional and base layers of high-density polyfoam to reinforce the sleep surface and prevent sleepers from sinking too much. Since the Lush has a medium feel, it is best suited to people who weigh up to 230 pounds – side and back sleepers in particular. People in this weight group receive a comfortable balance of cushioning and support.
This mattress is also a good choice for co-sleepers. The foams absorb movement and prevent it from transferring across the surface, which can be useful for those who share their bed with people who have scoliosis and are prone to tossing and turning. The Lush is also completely silent, allowing you to sleep soundly whenever their partner gets in and out of bed.
Although the Lush is somewhat expensive for an all-foam mattress, Nectar offers a few perks for customers. Ground shipping is free anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and the company’s 365-night sleep trial is one of the longest in the industry. Additionally, the mattress is backed by a lifetime warranty that protects against structural defects for as long as you own it.
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Designed with pressure relief in mind, the all-foam Leesa mattress has a top layer of responsive polyfoam, a second layer of memory foam, and a high-density polyfoam support core. Due to its proprietary foam designed to reduce heat retention, the Leesa sleeps relatively cool for an all-foam mattress.
The mattress has a medium feel, or 5 out of 10. Its contouring foams align the spine and relieve pressure points in side and back sleepers under 230 pounds, including adolescents with scoliosis.
The all-foam construction of the Leesa mattress ensures that very little motion gets transferred from one side of the bed to the other. This makes the mattress a good choice for sensitive sleepers who share the bed. Despite this commendable motion isolation, the Leesa mattress also has a bit of bounce. This comes in handy for sex, and it makes it easier to switch positions to avoid pressure points from your scoliosis.
Leesa is a certified-B corporation that works with non-profit organizations to donate mattresses to children in need. The Leesa mattress comes with a 10-year warranty and 100-night sleep trial, subject to a 30-night break-in period.
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Some people with scoliosis have firmness preferences that vary from night to night. A reversible mattress is ideal for these individuals because these models have distinct feels on the top and bottom sides. The Idle Hybrid is one such mattress. You can choose between a medium firm (6) or firm (8) feel for both sleep surfaces. Selecting a different feel on each side allows you to flip the mattress and adjust the feel whenever a change is needed, while opting for the same firmness level on both sides can extend the bed’s lifespan if you periodically rotate it.
Both sleep surfaces of the Idle Hybrid feature comfort layers of adaptive polyfoam. This material contours evenly like memory foam, but without the signature “body hug” that some people find uncomfortable. The medium firm feel conforms more closely, but both firmness levels offer decent support thanks to transitional layers of dense polyfoam and a shared support core of strong pocketed coils.
The Idle Hybrid is also well suited to hot sleepers because the coils promote steady airflow throughout the mattress core. Responsiveness is another strong point. Thanks to the coils, both surfaces have a springy feel that allows you to move across the mattress without sinking. Couples typically prefer bouncier mattresses for sex too.
The Idle Hybrid’s price-point is quite reasonable compared to other hybrid models and Idle provides free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The company also offers an 18-month sleep trial, which is one of the longest in the mattress industry, and a lifetime warranty for added peace of mind.
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The WinkBed delivers targeted spinal support for scoliosis patients using a combination of micro-coils, a lumbar pad, and zoned pocketed coils. With four firmness options to choose from, the WinkBed has appeal for sleepers of any body type or position preference.
The mattress is available in medium soft (4), medium firm (6), firm (7-8), and Plus (7-8) options. The medium soft model provides above-average motion isolation for couples. In turn, the Plus option replaces the micro-coil layer with a layer of latex to provide added support for sleepers over 300 pounds. All four models have a plush Euro-top cover that provides some initial pressure relief.
WinkBeds boasts excellent edge support due to reinforced coils around the perimeter of the bed. The mattress’s breathable Tencel cover and coil-on-coil construction also allow for a healthy amount of airflow to keep the mattress cool. Combination sleepers will appreciate the bed’s responsive surface, which facilitates movement and is an advantage for sex.
The WinkBed is made with durable materials and backed by a lifetime warranty against workmanship and manufacturing defects. WinkBeds also offers a 120-night sleep trial, on the condition that customers are required to sleep on the mattress for at least 30 nights before requesting a return.
Best for Side Sleepers
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The all-foam Bear Pro has a 12-inch profile and a medium firm feel which falls at a 6 out of 10 on our firmness scale. The mattress combines four layers of premium foams that form a supportive yet pressure-relieving cradle for side and back sleepers with scoliosis.
Most memory foam mattresses respond slowly to pressure, giving sleepers the feeling of being trapped in the bed. In contrast, the Bear Pro has a top layer of polyfoam that shields sleepers from the sinking feel of memory foam. This gives the bed a bit more bounce and makes it easier to shift positions. The best part is that the Bear Pro still manages to provide the great motion isolation that we expect from all-foam beds.
The Celliant fabric in the cover is designed to reflect body heat back at the sleeper in the form of infrared energy. This is meant to improve circulation and help tissue recovery. In combination with copper and gel infusions in the foams, this also prevents heat build-up in the mattress.
The Bear Pro ships free in the contiguous U.S. and comes with a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
Best for Back and Stomach Sleepers
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The Amerisleep AS2 is a 12-inch all-foam mattress. The top layer is made of a plant-based open-cell foam that conforms to reduce pressure points. This rests on top of another foam layer that’s zoned using surface modification technology. Specially designed grooves in this layer enhance airflow and provide targeted cushioning and spinal support for sleepers with scoliosis.
The mattress is supported by a high-density polyfoam base layer. Amerisleep also makes a hybrid version of the mattress, replacing the polyfoam base layer with pocketed coils.
The AS2 is the second-firmest mattress in Amerisleep’s line-up, with a medium firm feel that equates to a 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale. The mattress provides an even balance of support and pressure relief that is especially comfortable for sleepers under 230 pounds.
It’s rare for an all-foam mattress to sleep cool, but the Amerisleep AS2 succeeds in maintaining quite a neutral temperature overnight thanks to the breathable cotton-blend cover and proprietary foams. Because the top layer of foam has a fairly quick response to pressure, the AS2 allows for relatively easy movement. It also has stronger edges than many of its competitors, and people who sleep with a partner should experience minimal disruptions as the foams absorb most motion.
Amerisleep ships the mattress free within the continental U.S. and offers a 100-night sleep trial with a mandatory 30-night break-in period. A 20-year warranty protects against manufacturing and workmanship defects.
Best Memory Foam
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Available in two firmness options, the Loom & Leaf is a 12-inch mattress with a quilted organic cotton cover and pressure-relieving layers of memory foam.
The Loom & Leaf has two primary comfort layers, both made with dense memory foam that conforms slowly to the sleeper’s body to ease pressure points. The top layer of memory foam contains cooling gel swirls, phase-change material, and pincore holes to fend off heat retention. Additional gel in the lumbar area gives extra support to the spine, and several layers of high-density polyfoam provide a stable base for those with scoliosis.
Loom & Leaf customers can choose between a medium firm (6) and firm (7-8) mattress. The medium firm model relieves pressure points in sleepers under 230 pounds, while the firm model supplies excellent support to sleepers over 230 pounds. Since the firm mattress conforms less to the sleeper’s body, it offers better temperature neutrality and a bouncier surface for sex. Both models absorb movement so you don’t have to worry about waking your partner every time you switch positions.
The Loom & Leaf is not compressed for shipping. Instead, Saatva delivers all its beds with free White Glove delivery, including old mattress removal if needed. The Loom & Leaf has a 180-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty.
Finding a mattress that ticks all the boxes can seem like an impossible task, especially if you have additional considerations due to your scoliosis. Many mattress companies also like to take advantage of their consumers, using fancy-sounding words to inflate the price of their products.
But choosing a mattress for scoliosis doesn’t have to be that difficult. We’ve laid out the most important factors to prioritize to help you narrow down your search.
The majority of mattresses that are currently sold are classified either as hybrid, innerspring, latex, airbed, or all-foam. Because they are built similarly, mattresses of a given type will resemble each other to some extent in terms of performance and feel. That said, they will also vary depending on the quality of the materials used and the exact makeup of each individual model. The best type of mattress for scoliosis will depend on your needs.
Definition: Hybrid mattresses feature an innerspring support core and a substantial comfort layer section. The comfort layers can be made of polyfoam, memory foam, latex, cotton, wool, or other similar materials. The coils are usually pocketed coils.
Highlight: Meet In The Middle. Hybrid mattresses are defined by their balanced features. The comfort layers add pressure relief and motion isolation, while the coils contribute to edge support, bounce, temperature neutrality, and overall support. This makes them ideal for people who suffer from pressure points but need an extra-supportive mattress.
Definition: Made with a support core of metal coils and occasionally a very thin comfort layer, innerspring mattresses revolutionized the mattress industry in the late 1800s and remained the most popular model for decades. They are steadily decreasing in popularity as people start to explore options with thicker comfort layers.
Highlight: Cheap And Cheerful. Innerspring mattresses provide a solid support system and good airflow, which is a perfect starting base but usually not cushy enough for someone with scoliosis. For an economical and personalizable bed, those who wish for added pressure relief can purchase a mattress topper in the material of their choice.
Definition: Made from the milky-white substance of the rubber tree, natural latex can be processed in several different ways. All-latex mattresses take advantage of this versatility, combining different types of latex in the support core and comfort layers. Mattresses can also be made with synthetic latex, which tends to be more affordable.
Highlight: Responsive Contouring. Latex provides pressure relief without conforming as closely to the body. Its resilient surface helps distribute body weight to provide support while enabling sleepers to switch positions easily.
Definition: Airbeds have a support core made with air chambers that can be inflated or deflated. By adjusting the amount of air within the air chamber, users can control the firmness level of the bed. Most airbeds have a separate air chamber for each sleeper, and may feature an additional comfort layer system made with foam, latex, or other materials.
Highlight: Ongoing Firmness Control. Airbeds allow users to adjust the firmness in real time, which means the mattress can adapt almost instantaneously to the needs of someone with scoliosis as they switch positions or experience pain in different areas.
Definition: Foam mattresses eschew coils in favor of a high-density polyfoam base layer. The comfort layers may be made of memory foam, polyfoam, latex, or occasionally materials that add padding such as cotton or wool.
Highlight: Unbeatable Conforming. Of all mattress types, foam mattresses tend to perform the best on contouring. This is particularly true of memory foam mattresses, which conform closely to the sleeper’s body to alleviate pressure points and encourage natural spinal alignment.
Scoliosis happens when the spine curves unnaturally to one side by a factor of at least 10 degrees. Looking at the spine from the back, this causes a C-shaped or S-shaped curve.
In most cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown, although some cases have been linked to cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or problems with bone formation before the baby is born. Scoliosis appears to be genetic and is usually more severe in females. While signs of scoliosis usually appear just before puberty, it occasionally presents in babies. Some adults may develop scoliosis later in life as a result of wear-and-tear on the spine.
Scoliosis can manifest differently depending on the type of scoliosis and its degree of severity. Common signs of scoliosis include uneven shoulders or hips, an off-kilter gait, poor posture, ill-hanging clothes, or protruding ribs or shoulder blades on one side. Some children may exhibit a visible curve in the spine.
Wearing a back brace during adolescence can help slow the curve of the spine until the person is finished growing. More rarely, some people may also resort to surgery to correct the curve.
Around 40 percent of adolescents with scoliosis experience chronic back pain that can lead to insomnia and daytime sleepiness. Even when scoliosis doesn’t cause pain, it may lead to unnatural curves in the body that affect the way you interact with your mattress, making it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Children or adolescents who wear a brace may have extra pressure points that make it difficult to find a comfortable position at night.
There is evidence to suggest that sleeping on the convex side of a thoracic curve may cause respiratory difficulties that lead to frequent nighttime awakenings. Pain medication may also interfere with sleep, and studies have found that people can suffer from impaired sleep for up to 6 months after scoliosis surgery.
People with scoliosis may have trouble getting back to sleep after nighttime awakenings. Like many chronic pain sufferers, this cycle may be exacerbated by the anxiety and depression caused by the scoliosis itself. Practising proper sleep hygiene and using a mattress that’s quiet and isolates motion transfer may help minimize added disruptions.
Scoliosis causes important structural changes to your body, so it’s crucial to pick a mattress that delivers strong support for your spine and minimizes pressure points in the shoulders, hips, or other parts of the body that are affected by the curve of the spine. Many sleepers with scoliosis find that a medium firm surface provides the best balance of support and pressure relief. Still others swear by a zoned mattress that provides targeted support and pressure relief.
When selecting mattress firmness, keep in mind that different sleeping positions put stress on different parts of the body. This can have a heightened impact in people with scoliosis, especially those with asymmetrical hips, shoulders, or ribcages.
Typically, doctors recommend that people with scoliosis sleep on their back or side. These positions put less strain on the spine and are less likely to lead to back pain and pressure points.
Back sleeping is considered the healthiest position because it encourages natural spinal alignment. It also helps distribute body weight, avoiding the pressure points that can occur in heavier body parts such as the hips and shoulders.
Back sleepers with scoliosis should sleep on a mattress that’s firm enough to keep the spine on an even plane, yet soft enough to prevent pressure build-up. For most sleepers, this translates to a medium firm mattress, although this will depend on your body type as well.
You may find that tucking a pillow beneath the lumbar area or the shoulders can help take pressure off sensitive areas.
Depending on the type of scoliosis, sleeping on your side may or may not be recommended. People with misaligned hips and shoulders may find it uncomfortable to sleep on their side.
A mattress that’s too soft may allow the hips to sink in too far, which can interfere with spinal alignment. On the other hand, a mattress that doesn’t allow the hips and shoulders to sink in far enough can cause pressure points in these areas and contribute to lower back pain where the hips meet the spine. The best solution is to find a mattress that contours just enough to allow the hips and shoulders to settle naturally.
Side sleepers can place a pillow between the knees to keep the hips in line. Many people with scoliosis also insert a pillow under the ribcage to coax the spine towards a healthier position.
Most doctors recommend against sleeping on your stomach if you have scoliosis. This position allows the hips to sink in and forces the neck to bend at unnatural angles, which can put stress on the spine. Stomach sleepers will do best with a firm mattress and a flat pillow, which will keep the hips in line with the rest of the body and won’t force the neck to contort as much.
Sleepers who frequently switch sleeping positions benefit from a mattress that is more responsive, such as a latex or hybrid mattress. This extra “bounce” makes it easier to move around and may be doubly beneficial from those who suffer from pressure build-up when they stay in the same position for too long.
When choosing a new mattress, it’s important to consider not only your usual sleeping position but also your body type. People who weigh more than 230 pounds put extra pressure on a mattress. These sleepers need a mattress that’s firmer and more supportive to keep heavier body areas from sinking in too far and throwing off spinal alignment.
In contrast, those who weigh less than 130 pounds benefit from a plusher and closer-conforming mattress. This reduces pressure points while allowing the hips and shoulders to sink in just enough for proper spinal alignment.
Additional things to consider when shopping for a mattress include budget, pillow, and sleep trial and warranty policies.
The good news for people with scoliosis is that memory foam mattresses tend to be among the most affordable models, and this is usually the type that’s recommended for scoliosis patients. But if the price of a new mattress is too prohibitive, you may also consider buying a mattress topper. This won’t be able to fix a sagging mattress, but it can add contouring to relieve pressure points.
The average price of a good mattress starts at around $800 and can be as much as $2,000 or more depending on the type and the features it offers. All-foam mattresses usually cost between $900 and $1,300, hybrid mattresses run between $1,300 and $2,000, and latex mattresses will set you back around $1,600 to $2,000. You may be able to find exceptions or seasonal discounts that lower the price.
Along with your mattress, your pillow can also affect your spinal alignment. A pillow that’s too low or too high will fail to keep your head, neck, and spine aligned. Side sleepers should opt for a pillow that’s as high as the space between the ears and the tip of the shoulders, and back sleepers will need a slightly thinner pillow that supports the neck without curving it too far upwards. Stomach sleepers usually need a flatter pillow, or sometimes none at all.
Some people with scoliosis relieve pressure on the spine by tucking an extra pillow between the knees when lying on the side, under the lumbar area or shoulder blades when lying on the back, or under the hips when lying on the stomach.
Mattress companies typically offer a sleep trial of at least a few months. This allows time for your body to adjust to the feel of the mattress, and gives you leeway to return it if you discover it’s not right for you.
Mattresses should also be backed by a warranty against workmanship and manufacturing defects. Among other things, this usually covers permanent indentations in the foam that limit the mattress’s ability to deliver pressure relief and support. Mattresses that sag prematurely can exacerbate pain caused by scoliosis, so you may want to look for a warranty of at least 10 years.
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