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Sleep is a crucial time for the body to rest and restore itself. For many who suffer from back and joint pain, a lack of quality sleep can exacerbate their pain, creating a harmful cycle of pain and poor sleep. Sometimes, simply sleeping on the wrong mattress can trigger back and neck pain.
If you’re experiencing discomfort, you should speak with your doctor to assess the potential causes and treatment options. However, a quality orthopedic mattress that is well suited to your body and sleep preferences can play a role in preventing both the initiation and continuation of mattress-related back, neck, and joint pain. The right model can help alleviate pressure and promote spinal alignment, reducing or preventing aches and pains and enabling a deeper, more restorative sleep.
An orthopedic mattress is one that is intended to relieve bone and joint pain. However, because many manufacturers use the term for marketing, it can be challenging to determine which mattresses use truly orthopedic designs.
Many shoppers struggle with selecting an orthopedic mattress due to the overwhelming number of options. We’ll highlight some of the best orthopedic mattresses and explain what to look for to help you find a model that will work best for your body and sleep preferences
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The WinkBed is an innerspring model available in four firmness levels: Soft (4), Luxury Firm (6), Firm (7), and Plus (8). This selection ensures that there is an option available that will provide an appropriate balance of contouring and support for virtually any body type and sleep position. While each firmness employs similar materials and technology, there is some variation in the construction.
A gel-infused polyfoam Euro-pillow top cushions the surface of the Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm models. It is designed to relieve pressure points by contouring to the shape of the body while simultaneously pulling away excess heat. The Soft version of the WinkBed uses three layers in the quilted cover, while the Luxury Firm and Firm variations use two. A foam enhancement reinforces the center of the bed to support the spine. The Soft option also incorporates a layer of transitional polyfoam for increased cushioning.
The Plus option is designed for individuals who weigh more than 230 pounds. It incorporates a comfort system of polyfoam and zoned latex to create a durable mattress that resists sagging.
All of the firmness options include a zoned layer of pocketed coils, providing a sturdy perimeter, enhanced airflow, notable bounce, and targeted support to promote spinal alignment. The Plus bands the coils together for added support and durability.
The WinkBed rates highly in both durability and pressure relief, supporting good posture without putting excessive pressure on key areas like the hips and shoulders. It is also designed to dissipate heat, helping warm sleepers stay cool throughout the night. Shoppers should note that the WinkBed measures 13.5 inches thick, which is slightly thicker than many models. Extra deep sheets may be required.
WinkBeds offers a 120-night sleep trial as well as free shipping within the contiguous United States and a limited lifetime warranty.
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While orthopedic mattresses frequently cost more, the Serta Perfect Sleeper is a hybrid orthopedic model that’s a fraction of the cost of similarly constructed options. This model comes in three firmness variations: Plush (4), Medium (5), and Extra Firm (7). All three offer exceptional support for certain weight groups and sleep positions.
Each firmness option includes a comfort layer of gel-infused memory foam and a support core of pocketed coils that move independently to decrease motion transfer.
The memory foam molds to the body to relieve pressure and support good posture, while geometric cutouts promote airflow and a gel infusion is intended to provide further cooling properties. The pocketed coils help ventilate the mattress and provide bounce. A foam encasement around the edge of the coil system reinforces the perimeter, which can expand the usable surface and make it easier for some individuals with joint pain to get into and out of bed.
A mattress cover that includes phase change material is designed to further regulate the temperature of the sleep surface and release excess heat. The cover also uses an antimicrobial treatment engineered to prevent bacterial buildup.
The Perfect Sleeper Renewed Night Mattress offers an excellent combination of pressure relief and motion isolation. The memory foam layer provides a tight cradle that alleviates pressure along the back and neck while absorbing motion from across the mattress. This can be crucial to sensitive sleepers dealing with chronic pain who need a peaceful night of sleep.
Serta offers a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year limited warranty on this mattress. The company ships free within the contiguous U.S. and offers White Glove delivery for an extra fee.
Best Pressure Relief
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The PlushBeds Botanical Bliss conforms to the body to relieve pressure, but its resilient latex also resists sagging to better support the spine. Since this material also springs back to its original shape quickly, those who need to change positions frequently due to pain shouldn’t feel trapped in the bed.
This model comes in two firmness options: Medium and Firm, which correspond to medium firm (6) and firm (7) respectively. The company offers 9-inch, 10-inch, and 12-inch height options.
The Botanical Bliss uses organic materials, including GOLS-certified natural latex, GOTS-certified New Zealand wool, and GOTS-certified cotton. Additionally, this model holds a host of other certifications, including GreenGuard Gold, OEKO-TEX, and eco-INSTITUT. The mattress is designed to be free of harmful chemicals and naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic.
All the versions of the Botanical Bliss Mattress are constructed with similar materials, but there are variations depending on the thickness and firmness settings. What is particularly unique about the Botanical Bliss Mattress is its customizability. Owners can rearrange the latex layers to adjust the firmness, thereby accommodating changing needs and preferences.
Each option includes a support core composed of two 3-inch Dunlop latex layers. The 9-inch and 12-inch mattresses have a 2-inch comfort layer of organic Talalay latex, while the 10-inch option uses 3 inches. The 12-inch mattress also incorporates an additional 3-inch layer of Dunlop latex to add height and provide a wider variety of customizable firmness settings.
An organic cotton cover encases the mattress, and a layer of organic wool cushions the surface while wicking away heat and moisture.
While the PlushBeds Botanical Bliss has a higher price-point than average, shoppers should keep in mind that the mattress is durable, which may ultimately make it more affordable than buying a low-quality model that you’ll need to replace sooner. The Botanical Bliss is springy and easy to move on while also cradling the sleeper’s body.
PlushBeds offers a 100-night sleep trial that includes a 30-night mandatory break-in period. PlushBeds provides free shipping in the contiguous U.S. and a 25-year limited warranty.
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The Saatva Classic combines a thick Euro-top with two coil layers to provide a comfortable surface that balances pressure relief, breathability, edge support, and bounce.
Three firmness options are available for this innerspring model: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm, which rate at 3, 6, and 8 respectively. It is also available in two height options: 11.5 inches and 14.5 inches. All of these options employ similar materials and designs.
A 3-inch Euro-top is quilted with 1.25 to 1.5 inches of polyfoam, depending on the firmness level. It also includes .75 inches of fiber fill and one ounce of Dacron. Below the Euro-top are two layers of foam, a .625-inch layer of polyfoam and .375 inches of memory foam. The memory foam layer is exclusively in the center of the bed to cradle the hips and support spinal alignment.
Two layers of coils add support, breathability, and bounce. First, a 4-inch layer of foam-encased coils contours to the shape of the body while limiting motion transfer. The support core is composed of hourglass coils. This layer is 4 inches in the 11.5-inch mattress option and 7 inches in the 14.5-inch option.
The Saatva Classic excels at relieving pressure. Its Euro-top and pocketed coil layer provide close contouring that promotes spinal alignment, while the coil core enhances the supportiveness and responsiveness of the surface. A reinforced foam edge provides a comfortable perimeter for individuals who tend to sit or sleep near the edge of the bed.
With three firmness and two height options, sleepers of all body types and preferred sleeping positions should enjoy the Saatva’s pressure relief capabilities.
Saatva offers free White Glove delivery within the contiguous U.S. A 180-night trial period is available, though returns are subject to a $99 transportation charge. Saatva also includes a 15-year limited warranty.
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The Natural Form Health Series Refresh is an orthopedic airbed with a support core of patented helix air pods that are adjustable. This allows sleepers to customize the firmness of the mattress in a variety of zones. Since this includes selecting different feels for each side of the bed, the Refresh may be a great option for couples with different preferences.
The comfort layer of the mattress is composed of 3 inches of polyfoam for cushioning and contouring. A merino wool cover wicks moisture and heat to help keep sleepers cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Because the Natural Form Health Series Refresh has an adjustable firmness, it rates highly for sleepers of all body types and sleep position preferences. The polyfoam comfort layer and air pods conform to the shape of the body while supporting it, providing pressure relief and promoting spinal alignment. The modular components are also designed to be replaceable and recyclable, enabling a longer lifespan for the mattress.
Though the Natural Form Health Series Refresh Mattress is more expensive than many mattresses on the market, it is close to the average price for an airbed. Natural Form offers a 100-night sleep trial with free returns and free shipping within the contiguous United States. A 10-year limited warranty is also included
Best for Hip Pain
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Designed by a doctor, the SpineAlign Luxury Hybrid is intended to promote proper sleeping posture throughout the night, making it a strong option for combination sleepers. This model is available in three firmness levels: soft (3), medium (5), and firm (7). The medium may appeal to combination sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds, while the firm can support those over 130 pounds regardless of their sleep positions.
This model has five layers. The top layer is composed of 1.5 inches of Energex polyfoam with a copper infusion intended to transfer heat and provide antimicrobial properties. Energex polyfoam is designed to contour closely while remaining responsive, mimicking the properties of both memory foam and latex.
Beneath the Energex is a 2-inch layer of gel-infused polyfoam engineered for cooling and responsive support. Next, a 1-inch layer of memory foam eases the transition from the comfort system to the coil core while restricting motion transfer. The 8-inch pocketed coil core lets air circulate, gives the bed a springy feel, and enhances the edge support. A final 1-inch layer of high-density polyfoam reinforces the pocketed coils.
SpineAlign offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S. as well as a 120-night sleep trial. The company also provides a 10-year limited warranty.
The term “orthopedics” refers to the branch of medicine that focuses on the skeletal system and related structures, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Though many companies describe their mattresses as orthopedic, shoppers should be aware that there are no regulations or standards in place defining what qualifies as an orthopedic mattress. Because of this, orthopedic is often used as a marketing term regardless of whether a mattress is specially designed for optimal support. This doesn’t mean, however, that orthopedic mattresses aren’t beneficial to sleepers. That said, shoppers should select carefully.
Chronic lower back pain is linked to greater sleep disturbance and reduced sleep duration, sleep quality, and sleep efficiency. A true orthopedic mattress should provide an excellent combination of pressure relief and support. This balance can help promote spinal alignment, reducing the aches and pains many sleepers experience after sleeping on an unsupportive or excessively firm mattress.
The most important things to take into consideration when looking for a mattress are your body type, sleeping position, and personal preferences. While some mattress companies may use terms like “best” or “most comfortable” to describe the feel, construction, features, or materials of their mattresses, only you can decide what is ideal for you. Features like the firmness level, contouring, and pressure relief can affect how comfortable your mattress feels to you.
A true orthopedic mattress may be more expensive than other models on the market. This is because striking the right balance between pressure relief and spinal support often requires higher-end materials and/or special design features. While a higher price tag may be a turnoff for some shoppers, a mattress is an investment, so it may be worth spending a little more to get the best option for you.
A proper orthopedic mattress offers an ideal combination of cradling and support. If a mattress is too firm, it could contribute to pressure points and make it difficult to maintain proper spinal alignment, potentially causing your muscles to tense. A mattress that is too soft won’t provide enough support, which could put more pressure on your lower back.
While orthopedic mattresses are often slightly firmer, the ideal firmness level will depend on the sleeper’s body type and sleep position. Sleepers who weigh less typically need a softer model to enjoy contouring, while heavier individuals generally need a firmer option for sufficient lumbar support. Similarly, side sleepers often prefer a slightly softer option to reduce pressure buildup, but back and stomach sleepers usually need something firmer to prevent their midsections from sagging.
Pressure point relief occurs when a mattress molds to the sleeper’s body and redistributes its weight to reduce the pressure around wider, heavier body parts. This can limit joint discomfort and promote spinal alignment. However, achieving optimal pressure relief also requires selecting the right firmness level for your body type and sleep position.
Getting the most for your money may require choosing a model constructed with durable materials that will remain comfortable for years to come. Quality materials are more likely to provide sufficient support while limiting sagging, which may be especially beneficial for those with back pain. While orthopedic mattresses tend to be more expensive than other options on the market, many use quality materials that should resist signs of wear.
Motion isolation refers to how a mattress reduces the transfer of movement. Preventing the spread of vibrations across the surface can decrease disturbances from sleep partners or pets moving throughout the night. Generally, mattresses with substantial foam comfort layers excel at motion isolation.
Temperature regulation refers to a mattress’ ability to remove excess heat or, conversely, keep you warm when it is colder. Individuals who sleep warm should be particularly attentive to this component, as it can make a notable difference in keeping you cool and comfortable throughout the night. Generally, a firmer mattress tends to allow more airflow, while a more conforming mattress may be more likely to trap heat, especially if it uses memory foam and does not include any features designed for cooling.
Edge support refers to the resistance provided around the perimeter of the bed. This can be an important component for those who sleep or sit along the side of the bed and active sleepers who toss and turn. Sleepers who suffer from joint pain who struggle to stand from a lower position may also want to consider a mattress with better edge support.
The contouring of a mattress is what provides pressure relief by cradling your body and preventing your weight from pressing into the mattress in the wrong places. Good contouring can be key in preventing aches and pains. Most quality orthopedic mattresses have a foam-based top to shape to the body and encourage healthy sleeping posture, but keep in mind that each person’s body is different and you should experiment with what is most comfortable for you.
There are four main sleeping positions: back, side, front, and combination, which is any mixture of the first three. The position you sleep in can have a huge impact on what you need in a mattress because it affects pressure points and spinal alignment. Before purchasing an orthopedic mattress, take some time to consider how you sleep and what firmness may be the best fit for your body.
There are four main types of mattresses: foam, innerspring, hybrid, and latex. Each type has potential pros and cons and can vary significantly in materials and construction. However, all mattress types can function as orthopedic models as long as they are designed to offer support to prevent aches and pains in the back, neck, joints, and muscles.
Hybrid, innerspring, foam, and latex mattresses are widely available. Though models vary in their designs and performance, they tend to have a few consistent features. The term “orthopedic” does not mean that the mattress has any special certifications, and it can apply to any of the four types of mattresses. However, some may be a better fit than others for those suffering from chronic aches and pains.
Hybrid mattresses can use a wide variety of materials. The support layer consists of coils, and the comfort system may include polyfoam, memory foam, microcoils, latex, and/or fill composed of cotton, wool, or other fibers.
The primary difference between a hybrid and an innerspring mattress is the added thickness of the comfort system in a hybrid model, which typically creates a more conforming surface.
Hybrids are an excellent option for individuals who sleep warm but enjoy the contour of a foam bed. Coil cores generally provide airflow, bounce, and edge support, while a contouring comfort system can alleviate pressure on the back and absorb motion. Many hybrid orthopedic mattresses also incorporate zoned support systems to target pressure points and promote good posture.
Innerspring mattresses typically have a thin comfort layer of foam or cotton above a thick layer of metal coils. While some individuals prefer the springiness, ease of movement, airflow, and edge support provided by the coil system, others may find innerspring models lack the optimal amount of contouring and cushioning.
Whether an innerspring is right for you will likely depend on the nature of your aches and pains. If your discomfort is triggered by poor spinal alignment due to excessive sinkage, an innerspring model might be ideal. However, if pressure points are your main problem, you may prefer another type of mattress or pair your innerspring model with a mattress topper.
Foam mattresses use foam in both their support and comfort layers. Typically, high-density polyfoam makes up the support layer and a softer, more conforming foam is used for the comfort layer. Memory foam, polyfoam, and latex are all popular choices depending on the mattress’ intended levels of contouring, responsiveness, and breathability.
An orthopedic foam model may be an excellent choice for a sleeper who suffers from aches and pains where their body presses hardest against the mattress. The foam should mold to the body to relieve pressure while supporting the spine. However, foam mattresses are often more difficult to move on and frequently don’t have sturdy edges, which may be more challenging for sleepers with mobility issues.
Latex is often derived naturally from rubber trees but occasionally produced synthetically. Most latex mattresses use naturally derived material, but a synthetic or synthetic blend is not uncommon.
Latex is often used in orthopedic mattresses because it provides contouring without a lot of sinkage, creating a supportive surface that still relieves pressure points. Models constructed of latex also tend to be responsive, breathable, and durable. All-natural latex models are often popular with eco-conscious consumers.
For many, an orthopedic mattress can make a significant impact on the alignment of the back, neck, and spine, helping to reduce back and/or joint pain. Because of this, orthopedic models are often recommended to those suffering from arthritis. However, they are not the perfect solution for everyone, and for some sleepers, a mattress with a different design may be a better fit.
While you should talk to your doctor to explore the possible causes of joint pain and/or sleep problems, the two are often directly linked.
Those suffering from chronic back and joint pain experience discomfort that can cause tossing and turning, making it hard to slip into the deeper sleep stages and get a quality night’s sleep. Because the body’s restorative processes are most active as you sleep, a lack of deeper sleep impacts your body’s ability to repair itself, potentially exacerbating back and joint pain. This can create a vicious cycle in which pain causes sleep quality to deteriorate, putting you at a greater risk of getting sick or injured.
Many conditions can affect back and joint pain, but one of the most common conditions is arthritis. Many with arthritis suffer from sleep problems, since their pain may prevent them from getting comfortable enough to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Chronic pain can arouse your central nervous system, preventing you from drifting off to sleep. Several lifestyle changes can help calm your body and mind, making it easier to get the rest you need.
Another element to getting quality sleep with chronic pain is selecting the right mattress and bedding components to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout the night. What is best for you and your body will depend largely on your sleeping preferences and body type. Some important things to keep in mind are:
Sleep Position: The position you sleep in may contribute to your discomfort. While finding the right mattress can help, some positions are more prone to triggering pain than others. For instance, experts often advise against stomach sleeping because it often puts more strain on the neck and lower back. Experimenting with different sleep positions can help you determine what works for you.
Bedding: Some sleepers may not want or need a new mattress, particularly if their existing bed is still in good condition. A new mattress topper and/or pillows can be more affordable solutions. The ideal mattress topper can fine-tune the firmness of your bed so that it better matches your needs and preferences, while new pillows often provide more support for the neck.
Pillow Placement: Strategic pillow placement can enhance alignment, thereby potentially reducing aches and pains. Side sleepers often benefit from a small pillow between their knees, back sleepers could use a pillow under their knees, and stomach sleepers may use a body pillow to prop themselves onto their sides.
It is always a good idea to talk to a doctor or physician about your sleep and pain management. They may be able to recommend solutions, such as therapies or medicine, to help you sleep better.
An orthopedic mattress can be a big investment, so it’s normal to have questions. We’ll answer some of the most common questions of orthopedic mattress shoppers.
Because the term orthopedic can refer to any mattress designed to prevent joint and back pain, orthopedic models can be made out of any materials you’d find in other beds. There is no special certification or requirement that designates a mattress as orthopedic, and many manufacturers use the term to help sell their products. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the materials, firmness, and design to assess whether a bed is a good fit for your body and sleep style.
Orthopedic mattresses are generally designed to relieve pressure points and support spinal alignment in order to reduce joint and back pain. Most orthopedic models are firmer and more supportive than average to promote healthy sleeping posture, but they also frequently have contouring comfort layers to redistribute the force of the sleeper’s weight.
However, shoppers should keep in mind that an orthopedic mattress has no true, consistent definition since no certifications or specific requirements are attached to the term.
Orthopedic mattresses come at a wide range of price-points starting at under $1,000 and reaching upward of $4,000. Most tend to be more expensive than other models on the market. However, those who experience chronic pain may find that an orthopedic mattress is worth the investment.
Orthopedic mattresses are commonly sold online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Because orthopedic mattresses are often more expensive than other models on the market, monitoring online sales can be a great way to find a high-quality option at a more affordable price. Shoppers should also note that buying directly from a manufacturer’s website is often more budget-friendly than purchasing from a third party.
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