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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
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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The crowd-pleasing DreamCloud Mattress combines the enduring support of an innerspring with thick, closely contouring foam layers. The result is a mattress that cushions the body and alleviates pressure without sacrificing support or stability. A medium firm (6) feel ensures most people who weigh up to 230 pounds won’t sink excessively, but the surface is quilted with adaptive foam for a plush feel when you get into bed. And while luxury hybrids typically cost quite a bit, the DreamCloud Mattress has a sticker price most shoppers will find very approachable.
The comfort system contains a comfort layer of gel memory foam followed by a transitional polyfoam layer to keep your body on an even plane. Individually pocketed coils line the support core. The coils stabilize the mattress and protect the edges from deep sagging without making the surface feel stiff or producing disruptive motion transfer. Air circulates through the coils to help maintain a comfortable temperature. Another cooling component is a cover blended with cashmere, a material with natural temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking properties.
Not only is the DreamCloud Mattress affordable, but it also qualifies for free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. DreamCloud’s 365-night sleep trial is among the longest in the online mattress industry. Those who choose to keep the mattress also receive a lifetime warranty against structural defects.
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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.
Best for Back Pain
If you’re in the market for an orthopedic mattress and deal with frequent lower back or hip pain, the WinkBeds GravityLux is a solid choice. The all-foam mattress contains a comfort layer of dense memory foam that responds slowly to the body, conforms closely, and provides extra cushioning to the lumbar region and hips. Additional foam layers reinforce your body to prevent sinkage that can lead to additional discomfort.
The GravityLux is available in three firmness levels, allowing you to choose a feel based on your body type and sleep position. The medium soft (4) option contours the closest, making it best suited to side sleepers and those who weigh up to 130 pounds. The firm (7) feel conforms to a minimal extent, and will likely be the most comfortable option for back and stomach sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds. The medium (5) feel is the most balanced option, and should serve anyone in the range of 130 to 230 pounds regardless of their sleep position.
The foam layers absorb movement quite well and significantly cut down on motion transfer across the surface, allowing you and your partner to remain undisturbed when the other person tosses and turns or gets up during the night. A breathable Tencel cover wraps the entire mattress. While the foam may still retain some body heat, the cover helps maintain a comfortable temperature on the surface. The memory foam is infused with gel for added cooling.
WinkBeds provides free ground delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The GravityLux is backed by a 120-night sleep trial. If you decide you aren’t satisfied with the firmness level during the trial, you can pay a small surcharge to exchange the mattress for a model with a different feel. All purchases are backed by lifetime manufacturer’s warranties that cover structural and material defects.
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Amerisleep’s mattress lineup includes three hybrid models, each with a different firmness level to accommodate sleepers with different body types and preferred positions. With a medium firm (6) feel, the AS2 Hybrid is the firmest and most supportive of the bunch. The comfort layer is composed of proprietary Bio-Pur foam, a dense material that contours evenly without sinking or hugging too tightly. Our testing found the mattress was most comfortable for back and stomach sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less.
The transitional polyfoam and pocketed coil layers are both zoned for extra reinforcement around the lower back and hips, creating an exceptionally comfortable surface for people who experience pain or pressure points in these areas. Stronger coils also line the perimeter of the support core to bolster the edges and prevent uncomfortable sinkage when you get on and off the mattress.
Temperature control is another strength of the AS2 Hybrid. This can be attributed to consistent air circulation throughout the coil layer, which helps the mattress maintain a comfortable interior temperature, and a breathable cover that offsets some of the Bio-Pur’s heat-retaining properties. The foam layers also absorb movement quite well to prevent sleep disruptions for couples.
All customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free shipping when they order the AS2 Hybrid. Amerisleep offers a sleep trial that spans 100 nights in length, as well as a 20-year warranty for customers who keep the mattress.
Best for Hip Pain
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Many sleepers experience hip pain due to insufficient mattress support. The hips are an area where people tend to carry a disproportionate amount of weight, causing them to sink excessively in this area on mattresses that feel too soft. The GhostBed 3D Matrix is considered medium (5) in terms of firmness, creating a plush feel with close body-conforming, but the six-layer design also delivers great reinforcement for sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds – particularly those who sleep on their sides.
The mattress has a top layer consisting of proprietary 3D Matrix Polymer material lined with gel pods to capture and release body heat. The next layer is composed of gel-infused memory foam, followed by a layer of Ghost Bounce foam that offers latex-like responsiveness. The cooling components of the top two layers help the mattress sleep at a comfortable temperature, as does the cover made of Ghost Ice fabric. People who have found other foam mattresses too warm should consider the 3D Matrix for this reason.
The support core contains pocketed coils over a layer of high-density polyfoam. The coils are zoned to provide extra strength along the perimeter, which should help sleepers feel secure when they sleep near the edges of the mattress or get in and out of bed. Steady airflow through the coil system also contributes to the 3D Matrix’s excellent temperature control.
GhostBed provides free ground shipping across the contiguous U.S. The company’s sleep trial spans 101 nights in length, and each purchase is also backed by a 25-year warranty.
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.
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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