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Sleep Foundation Mattress Testing Lab
Credit: Sleep Foundation Test Lab

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

In-Depth Reviews

The WinkBed is an evenly balanced model that ensures plenty of support while keeping your body nicely cushioned. You can also choose between different firmness options to optimize your ideal feel.

  • Pros

    1. Luxurious design pairs dense, adaptive comfort layers with a robust coil system

    2. Available in four firmness levels

    3. Zoned support core reinforces the midsection and reduces sinkage along the edges

  • Cons

    1. Foam may release some off-gassing odors right after unboxing

    2. Coils produce some bounce

Mattress Type

Innerspring

Firmness Options

Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7), Firm (8)

Price Range

$1,149 – $2,049

Trial Period

120 nights (30 night requirement)

Product Details

Determining your ideal mattress firmness is key to alleviating upper and lower back pain. The WinkBed is available in four firmness levels. These include medium soft (4), medium firm (6), and firm (7) options for the standard model, which is constructed with adaptive polyfoam comfort layers. You can also select the WinkBed Plus, which is specifically designed for people over 230 pounds with a latex transitional layer for extra support.

All versions of the WinkBed feature pocketed coil support cores. The coils are thicker and stronger beneath your midsection, creating extra pushback for added weight in your chest, stomach, and hips, while thinner coils cradle the head and legs. Thicker coils also line the perimeter to protect the edges from excessive sinkage. A cover of breathable Tencel fabric encases the mattress. The Tencel has moisture-wicking properties and air circulates freely through the support core, so the WinkBed should sleep cool for most people.

Our hands-on tests show the medium soft feel’s deep contouring is best suited to side sleepers, particularly those weighing less than 130 pounds. Back sleeping testers in this weight range also found the mattress comfortable. The medium firm feel is the most balanced option, and drew favorable ratings from all testers on our team weighing up to 230 pounds across all position groups. Those who want less cushioning and more support should opt for the firm or Plus designs.

Standard ground shipping is free of charge for all customers in the contiguous U.S. and each order includes a 120-night sleep trial. If you aren’t satisfied with your initial firmness selection, WinkBeds allows you to exchange the original mattress for a model with a different feel. This process won’t cost you anything extra, and the replacement model comes with its own 60-night trial period. Whichever model you choose to keep is backed by a lifetime warranty.

The Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid has several firmness options to pick from, and they all offer a nice mix of foam cushioning and coil support. You also can’t beat the price, which is lower than many comparable hybrid beds.

  • Pros

    1. Design features adaptive, pressure-relieving foams over sturdy coils

    2. Available in three firmness levels and more than a dozen sizes

    3. Below-average pricing for a hybrid

  • Cons

    1. May produce some off-gassing at first

    2. Returns incur a $99 fee

Mattress Type

Hybrid

Firmness Options

Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)

Price Range

$499 – $1,199

Trial Period

120 nights (30-night requirement)

Product Details

With any mattress, a key to orthopedic support is the right balance of cushioning and reinforcement. The Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid is available in three distinct firmness levels, helping to ensure most people can pick out a comfortable design regardless of how much they weigh or which sleep position they use. The mattress is also very affordably priced compared to the average hybrid model, making it a high-quality orthopedic model that won’t break the bank.

Our team tested all three firmness levels. The medium soft (4) design conforms closely to cradle the body and alleviate pressure along the spine. This model was most popular among our side sleepers up to 230 pounds, and our back sleepers under 130 pounds. The medium firm (6) model provides more support but still cushions the body to a noticeable extent. Due to its balanced construction, this design earned favorable ratings from our testers between 130 and 230 pounds across all sleep positions. If you’re looking for the bare minimum of body-contouring and a more robust feel, the firm (7) model should meet your needs.

Composition varies slightly based on firmness. The two softest models begin with a memory foam comfort layer, while the firm model features TitanFlex polyfoam for a more responsive surface. All designs contain dense transitional polyfoam and a pocketed coil support core. The cover is composed of cotton, and the medium soft and medium firm models feature a thin layer of foam quilted into the cover for added plushness.

You can upgrade your Signature Hybrid with a cooling pillow-top containing an extra layer of adaptive foam. This feature is available for all three firmness levels. The GlacioTex phase change fabric is engineered to dissipate body heat on contact, so this may be a useful add-on if you’re a hot sleeper.

The Signature Hybrid is available in 14 different sizes. These include standard mattress dimensions, a split California king for couples with adjustable beds, and several RV-friendly options. Shipping is free within the contiguous U.S., and each order comes with a 120-night sleep trial. You’ll also receive a 10-year warranty against structural defects.

The Helix Midnight is a favorite among the side sleepers on our team, due in large part to the memory foam that cradles your shoulders and hips on the surface. Meanwhile the coils keep your lower back nicely supported.

  • Pros

    1. Memory foam conforms to the body without sinking too much

    2. Perimeter coils push back against compression to minimize sinkage

    3. Affordable pricing and free shipping to all 50 states

  • Cons

    1. Foam surface may trap some heat

    2. Side sleepers over 230 pounds may need a firmer bed

Mattress Type

Hybrid

Firmness Options

Medium Firm (6)

Price Range

$749 – $1,399

Trial Period

100 nights (30-night requirement)

Product Details

Helix Sleep’s mattress line includes more than a dozen hybrids designed for specific body types and sleep positions. The Helix Midnight is one of the company’s most balanced models. While the mattress is geared toward side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds, the Midnight’s medium firm (6) feel and even contouring made it popular among the side and back sleepers on our team – especially those weighing up to 230 pounds.

A memory foam top layer over a polyfoam transitional layer creates an adaptive yet supportive comfort system. Pocketed coils make up the support core. Thicker coils along the perimeter help reduce sinkage to make you feel more stable when lying close to the edges or getting in and out of bed. The coils also promote steady airflow to maintain a cool, comfortable temperature for the mattress.

If the Midnight sounds intriguing but medium firm is too soft or too firm for you, we recommend completing Helix Sleep’s online mattress questionnaire. You’ll answer questions about your weight, height, primary position, and other personal factors. Based on your responses, the company points you toward mattresses in both the standard and Luxe hybrid lines.

The Midnight and other standard Helix models carry price-points that fall well below average compared to other hybrids, and shipping is free for customers in the contiguous U.S. Each purchase includes a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty against structural defects.

The Nolah Evolution 15 comes in a few firmness models, but all of them have a sturdy base that guarantees support in the right places. Meanwhile the quilted surface cradles your body and eases pressure off your joints.

  • Pros

    1. Three firmness options

    2. Plush Euro-top

    3. Lifetime warranty

  • Cons

    1. 15-inch height may require deep pocket sheets

    2. Mattress returns incur $99 fee

Mattress Type

Hybrid

Firmness Options

Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)

Price Range

$1,004 – $2,143

Trial Period

120 nights (30-night requirement), $99 return pickup fee

Product Details

The Nolah Evolution 15 is a hybrid mattress that comes in three firmness options. Designed with a quilted Euro-top, the bed is ideal for sleepers seeking a cushioned surface to cradle areas of the body that are susceptible to painful pressure buildup.

The Evolution has a 15-inch profile and is available as a plush (5), luxury firm (6), or firm (8) model. The plush Euro-top is quilted with a cooling foam that conforms to the body, followed by a layer of proprietary AirFoamICE polyfoam. Together, these layers offer ample contouring to help ease pressure off areas like the hips, shoulders, and spine. Next is a firmer foam layer that prevents the lower back from sinking into the bed, followed by high-density foam for enhanced support. A thick coil system provides strong support but is responsive enough to provide some pressure relief.

With three firmness options to choose from, sleepers across all weight categories and sleep positions should find this bed comfortable. Side sleepers will likely find the softer models more suitable, while stomach sleepers may gravitate toward the firmer models. For shoppers seeking a bed with temperature neutrality, this mattress has excellent cooling features. The Euro-top and AirFoamIce are engineered to draw heat from a sleeper’s body at night. A breathable gusset around the comfort layer helps aerate the foam comfort layer, and the coils allow air to circulate through the bed’s interior.

The Nolah Evolution 15 comes with a generous lifetime warranty as well as a 120-night trial for those who would like to try out the bed. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S.

The Saatva Rx is one of the most cushioned mattresses we’ve tested in our lab. The deeply plush surface is great for cradling achy joints, and it also helps keep motion transfer to a minimum.

  • Pros

    1. Exceptionally plush and adaptive hybrid design

    2. Foam-tipped coils stabilize the mattress without creating too much motion transfer

    3. Free White Glove delivery and a 365-night trial with each order

  • Cons

    1. $99 fee for all mattress returns

    2. Above-average price-point for a hybrid

Mattress Type

Hybrid

Firmness Options

Medium Soft (4)

Price Range

$1,696 – $3,732

Trial Period

365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)

Product Details

Many mattresses are suitable for people with back pain and achy joints, but the Saatva Rx was specifically designed with this purpose in mind. A medium soft (4) feel and thick foam layers ensure deep cushioning and cradling, which can alleviate pressure and soreness along the spine, while a dense memory foam pad beneath the lower back is intended to reduce discomfort in your lumbar region. 

The Rx also features pocketed minicoils in the transitional layer. These create a gentle buffer between your body and the support core, which contains standard-size pocketed coils with foam tips to suppress motion transfer. Air flows freely through both coil systems to help the mattress maintain a comfortable surface temperature, while a breathable organic cotton cover encases the mattress and keeps the surface cool. 

As a softer model, the Rx performs well in areas where other hybrids typically fall short. The mattress isolates motion exceptionally well and should minimize sleep disruptions for you and your partner. We also found the mattress alleviates pressure well, particularly for side sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds.

The Rx carries a fairly steep sticker price, but Saatva sweetens the deal with free White Glove delivery for all U.S. orders. This service includes a scheduled delivery date and time, full assembly in a room of your choice, and removal of your old mattress and box spring upon request. Your purchase comes with a generous sleep trial spanning an entire year. If you decide to keep the mattress, you’ll also receive a lifetime warranty.

The Leesa Sapira Hybrid pairs responsive coils with a thick foam comfort system. The result is a versatile feel that satisfied a wide array of testers on our team, across various weight groups and sleep positions.

  • Pros

    1. Thick foam layers create a pressure-relieving cradle for your body

    2. Ventilated top layer helps keep the surface cool

    3. Reinforced coils prevent excessive sinkage along the perimeter

  • Cons

    1. Not firm enough for stomach sleepers over 230 pounds

    2. Foam produces some off-gassing at first

Mattress Type

Hybrid

Firmness Options

Medium Firm (6)

Price Range

$1,349 – $2,299

Trial Period

100 nights (30 night requirement)

Product Details

If you’re looking for a mattress with orthopedic support and normally sleep with a partner, the Leesa Sapira Hybrid checks both boxes nicely. Three foam layers over robust pocketed coils create a balanced medium firm (6) feel, so you’ll feel deep cushioning for your sore spots without sinking excessively. Other strengths we noticed during hands-on testing include consistent temperature control, above-average motion isolation, and sturdy edge support.

All three of the Sapira Hybrid’s foam layers share an open-cell composition, meaning they’re engineered to resist heat retention. The topmost layer is ventilated for additional airflow on the surface, while steady circulation through the pocketed coil support core helps the mattress maintain a comfortable interior temperature. Extra reinforcement along the perimeter reduces sinkage when you get in and out of bed, and allows you and your partner to use the entire mattress surface for sleep or sex.

Thanks to its well-rounded design, the Sapira Hybrid was warmly received by most of our testing team. The most favorable ratings came from our side sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds, and our back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds. We also found the mattress alleviates pressure well, especially compared to other hybrid models. This can be attributed to the even weight distribution and gentle cradle from the three foam layers.

The Sapira Hybrid is competitively priced and shipping is free for customers in all 50 states. Each order includes a 100-night sleep trial, giving you more than three months to decide whether to return the mattress for a refund or keep it. If you opt for the latter, Leesa further backs your purchase with a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.

The Bear Elite Hybrid earns high marks for cushioning thanks in large part to the thick layer of adaptive foams on the surface. With three firmness levels to pick from, you can pick a feel that best optimizes your pressure relief.

  • Pros

    1. Zoned transitional layer delivers targeted upper and lower back support

    2. Three firmness options to accommodate different types of sleepers

    3. Celliant-blend cover excels at cooling and temperature control

  • Cons

    1. Some foam off-gassing may occur upon unboxing

    2. Foam may inhibit some movement

Mattress Type

Hybrid

Firmness Options

Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)

Price Range

$1,231 – $2,548

Trial Period

120 nights (30-night break-in period)

Product Details

Those who live with chronic shoulder, back, or hip pain should consider a mattress that provides extra support for these areas of the body. The Bear Elite Hybrid contains a zoned transitional layer of convoluted polyfoam that feels firmer beneath the midsection and gentler for lighter areas of the body. A robust pocketed coil system provides additional reinforcement to keep your entire body on an even plane and reduce pain in your most sensitive places.

The Elite Hybrid’s topmost layer is composed of adaptive memory foam that hugs the body without sinking too much. You can choose from three firmness levels. Those who need close contouring to sleep comfortably may want to opt for the medium (5) feel, while the medium firm (6) provides slightly more support. The firm (8) feel was most popular among our back and stomach sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds. If you and your sleep partner have contrasting firmness needs, you can select a split king with a different feel on each side.

A cover made of Celliant-blend fabric encases the mattress. Celliant is engineered to capture and dissipate body heat, creating a cool surface at all times – even on hot and humid nights. Steady air circulation through the coils also helps the interior maintain a comfortable temperature. Sinkage shouldn’t be an issue along the edges thanks to sturdy perimeter coil support, and most of our testers were able to move across the mattress without sinking or feeling stuck.

The Elite Hybrid is competitively priced and shipping is free throughout the contiguous U.S. Each order includes two Bear Pillows at no extra cost, but you can also upgrade to a discounted sleep accessories set that includes both pillows, a sheet set, and a mattress protector. Bear’s sleep trial runs for 120 nights, and those who keep their mattress also receive a lifetime warranty against structural defects.

The PlushBeds Botanical Bliss is a latex bed that gently cradles your body without compromising on support. The responsive design is perfect for sleepers who want pressure relief minus the deep hug of a foam surface.

  • Pros

    1. GOLS-certified latex and GOTS-certified wool and cotton

    2. Adjustable layers to change the feel

    3. Two firmness and three thickness options

  • Cons

    1. Not suitable for sleepers who are allergic to latex

    2. Bouncy latex produces motion transfer

Mattress Type

Latex

Firmness Options

Medium Firm (6), Firm (7)

Price Range

$1,199 – $2,998

Trial Period

100 nights (30-night requirement)

Product Details

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.

If firmness is what you need to feel comfortable during sleep, the Plank Firm Luxe is the mattress for you. The dual-sided bed has a different firmness on each side, and both are extremely supportive.

  • Pros

    1. Reversible design with an exceptionally firm feel on each side

    2. Optional GlacioTex cover dissipates body heat on contact

    3. Available in 12 different sizes

  • Cons

    1. Mattress returns incur a $99 fee

    2. Sleepers under 130 pounds may find the mattress too firm

Mattress Type

Hybrid

Firmness Options

Firm (7), Extra Firm (9)

Price Range

$693 – $1,299

Trial Period

120 nights (30-night requirement)

Product Details

Many people mistakenly assume the best orthopedic mattresses are exceptionally soft. If you weigh more than 230 pounds, you may need a firmer mattress to ensure adequate spinal support, even alignment, and reduced pressure in the shoulders, lower back, and hips. The Plank Firm Luxe from Brooklyn Bedding is a reversible hybrid featuring a different feel on each side. One surface is firm (7) with minimal contouring and sturdy support, while the opposite extra firm (9) side feels flat and even. The latter is one of the firmest sleep surfaces we’ve tested in our lab.

The firm side begins with fibers quilted into the cover, creating a bit of plushness when you get into bed, followed by two dense polyfoam layers for added cushioning. The extra firm side features less quilting material and one foam layer, so this surface is noticeably firmer and more supportive. Pocketed coils located between the comfort systems serve as the support core for both sides.

Most of our testers preferred the firm side, with the most favorable ratings coming from back sleepers over 230 pounds and stomach sleepers of at least 130 pounds. Stomach sleepers weighing more than 230 pounds also felt comfortable on the extra firm side, but this surface did not provide enough cushioning for the majority of our testing team.

The mattress also performed well during our temperature control tests, which we’ve attributed to steady airflow through the coils and a breathable cotton-microfiber cover. If you need extra cooling, you can upgrade your mattress to include a cover made of GlacioTex phase change material that captures and releases body heat on contact. We recommend this addition if you tend to sweat in your sleep, or if your local climate is relatively hot or humid.

The Firm Luxe is available in a dozen sizes. These include standard mattress dimensions, a split California king for couples who share adjustable beds, and several RV-friendly options. Shipping is free of charge for customers in the contiguous U.S., and each order includes a 120-night trial. Should you decide to keep the mattress, Brooklyn Bedding also backs it with a 10-year warranty.

The Birch Mattress combines latex and coils for an appealing balance of cradling and support. Many back and side sleepers on our team gave this bed glowing reviews.

  • Pros

    1. Latex hybrid design is supportive, responsive, and long-lasting

    2. Breathable and moisture-wicking materials help ensure a cool surface

    3. Coils are reinforced along the edges to minimize sinkage

  • Cons

    1. Not suitable for people with a latex allergy

    2. Stomach sleepers over 230 pounds may prefer a firmer mattress

Mattress Type

Latex Hybrid

Firmness Options

Medium Firm (6)

Price Range

$1,099 – $1,799

Trial Period

100 nights (30-night requirement)

Product Details

If you’re a combination sleeper who uses more than one position on any given night, your mattress needs are a bit more complicated compared to those of single-position sleepers. The Birch Mattress is a medium firm (6) latex hybrid designed for gentle cushioning, strong bounce, and sturdy coil support. This balanced construction offers broad appeal to sleepers across different body type groups, and also ensures a helpful bounce when you switch positions.

The mattress begins with wool batting layers intended to act as a natural fire barrier. Wool has moisture-wicking properties, so this component also wicks away moisture to keep you dry on hot or humid nights. Springy Talalay latex forms the comfort layer. The latex contours to a minimal extent, so you’ll receive some cushioning without the deep hug of memory foam. Pocketed coils and a wool/rayon fiber batting base make up the support core. The coils are reinforced along the perimeter to minimize sinkage when you lie near the edges of your mattress or get up in the morning. 

While the Birch earned strong ratings from most of our testers, the highest praise came from side sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds and back and stomach sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds. Our tests also indicate the mattress excels at ease of movement and edge support. Temperature control was another strength during testing. In addition to the wool batting, the mattress sleeps quite cool thanks to a latex layer that retains minimal heat and a coil system that promotes consistent airflow.

Birch offers free ground shipping to all 50 states and all customers receive two complimentary pillows with their purchase. Your order includes a sleep trial that runs for 100 nights, during which you may return the mattress for a full refund after sleeping on it for at least 30 nights. Those who keep their mattress receive a 25-year warranty against structural defects.

What Is an Orthopedic Mattress?

Orthopedic mattresses are designed to cradle and support the spine, back, and joints to promote good sleep posture and reduce aches and pains. They are popular with those who suffer from back and neck pain, seniors, and those recovering from injuries, but they can be a good fit for virtually anyone.

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.

How to Choose an Orthopedic Mattress

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.

What to Look For in a 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.

Price
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.

Firmness Level
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 Relief
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.

Quality Materials
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
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
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
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.

Contouring
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.

Sleeping Position
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.

Mattress Type
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.

Mattress Types

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

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

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

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

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.

Pros and Cons of Orthopedic Mattresses

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.

Pros

  • Enhanced Spinal Support: Orthopedic mattresses are specifically intended to promote spinal alignment.
  • Reduced Discomfort: The right orthopedic mattress should simultaneously support the spine while relieving pressure, potentially limiting the aches and pains sleepers experience overnight.

Cons

  • Relatively Expensive: Orthopedic mattresses tend to have a higher price-point than other mattresses on the market.
  • Difficulty Shopping: With many manufacturers marketing their mattresses as orthopedic, it can be difficult to find a truly orthopedic model.

How Does Back and Joint Pain Affect Sleep?

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.

“Sleep and pain have a bidirectional relationship, and the current data suggest that the effects of sleep on pain are likely stronger than the effects of pain on sleep. Focusing on improving your sleep quality may help with your overall pain level. Common changes to sleep quality could include difficulty falling and/or staying asleep, more sleep fragmentation (i.e., more awakenings during the night), early morning awakenings, and unrefreshing/non-restorative sleep.”

Sarah Silverman, Psy.D., a licensed psychologist and holistic sleep wellness consultant who treats patients in New York and Florida.

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.

How to Get Better Sleep with Chronic Pain

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.

  • Meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness, or guided imagery may help reduce pain, making it easier to sleep comfortably.
  • Avoiding stimulants, such as alcohol or caffeine, can help you fall asleep more easily. Similarly, using devices, like your cell phone or tablet, too close to bedtime may interfere with sleep.
  • Healthy daytime habits, such as getting exercise, sunlight, and following a healthy diet, can help promote good sleep habits.

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: While it is important to have the best pillow for your sleep position, 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.

Frequently Asked Questions About Orthopedic Mattresses

What are orthopedic mattresses made out of?

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.

What makes a mattress “orthopedic?”

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.

How much do orthopedic mattresses cost?

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.

Where can you buy an orthopedic mattress?

Orthopedic mattresses are commonly sold online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Direct-to-consumer mattresses sold online are often less expensive, since the manufacturer isn't paying for showrooms and additional staff. These “mattress in a box” models are comparable to those sold in brick-and-mortar stores in terms of construction and performance. 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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