Getting quality sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health.
It is common for sciatica to cause excruciating pain when trying to sleep. Especially when sleeping on your side.
There is a solution to this, however. You shouldn’t have to lose sleep over it. You can find relief by buying a mattress that supports your body properly can alleviate the pressure on sensitive spots while aligning and supporting the spine. There are mattresses that have been specifically made for sciatica sufferers and we are going to look at the top 5 of the best mattresses for sciatica back pain sufferers and what makes them a good option.
Let’s get started!
Best Mattresses for Sciatica Pain: Quick Picks
- Best Overall: Saatva
- Runner Up: Nectar
- Best Value: BedInABox
- Best for Hot Sleepers: PlushBeds
- Best for Heavier Folks: Dreamfoam Bedding
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica can occur when you have had an injury, herniated disk, spinal narrowing, bone spurs, or the wearing down of the discs that cushion the vertebrae in the back. If the soft cushioning starts to protrude from between the vertebra, it can put pressure on surrounding nerves, which causes pain.
Our body’s longest nerve is the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back, then splits and runs into your buttocks, hips, feet, and legs. When pressure is placed on this nerve it can cause pain and issues that run throughout the body.
The most noticeable pain starts in the lower back and feels as if it is radiating to the hips and legs. Pain be anywhere from mild aching to severe sharp pain. And you may also feel tingling, numbing pain shooting down from your hips to your ankles, and overall weakness in the feet and legs.
Sciatica presents differently from one person to another. Some experience pain that begins in the lower back and spreads through the buttocks, and lower legs, others experience a popping sensation in the leg when moving, referred pain in hip from lumber spine, and herniated pain from sitting too long at a desk or computer screen.
Those who are most at risk for developing sciatica are:
- People between the years of 30 to 50″
- People who are overweight or pregnant
- People who are diabetic
- People whose jobs require prolonged sitting or heavy lifting
- Truck, bus and other drivers.
- If sleeping with pressure on the hip joint (including sleeping on a hard mattress)
- Athletes who do long-distance running or cycling.
Also Related: The best mattresses for teenagers
Choosing the Best Mattress for Sciatica Back Pain
There are some key features to consider when finding the right mattress for lower back pain, or sciatic pain (pain radiating from the lower back down the leg).
The best mattresses for sciatica relief include :
- Memory foam
- Pillow top
- Those with a zoned support design
- Polyurethane foam
- High-quality air beds
Key Features To Look For
When you are looking for a supportive mattress for sciatica, the two most important features are support and firmness.
By support, we mean how well the mattress can maintain a level surface. The best support is those that give your body a stable area to lay on and align the spine, shoulders, and hips. This helps to alleviate pressure point pain for the entire body.
While a firm mattress is best, having one that is too firm, as well as too soft, often doesn’t give the right support to the spine.
The mattress needs to have a good support core so that it can support the upper layers of the mattress and your weight.
Firmness and support go hand in hand, but when we are referring to firmness we are looking at how the mattress feels, rather than what it’s constructed of. Every sleeper is different and the same mattress can feel different to each of them. Firmness is measured on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 is the softest and 10 the firmest. Generally, today’s mattresses fall somewhere between 3 and 8.
Mattresses that are firmer are best suited for people over 230 pounds because they keep the body from sinking too far into the mattress. People who are under 130 pounds are better with a medium mattress because a too firm mattress won’t conform as well to their body and can cause pressure points.
Sleep position also needs to be considered when choosing the right firmness. If you tend to sleep on your back a lot, you need a mattress that is firm. For you side sleepers out there, a mattress that is just a bit softer will work better for you. You just need to make sure it has enough firmness to support the shoulders and hips. If you tend to sleep on your stomach, mattresses that are medium-firm give the best support.
One way to tell if your mattress isn’t supporting your back is how and when your pain occurs. If your back pain is worse when you first get up but tends to go away after some stretching, it’s very likely that your back pain is a result of a too-soft mattress. If you can’t seem to get comfortable at night, this is also a sign that your mattress isn’t giving you the support you need.
Also Related: The best mattresses for stomach sleepers
The Best Mattress for Sciatica Reviews
We’ve gone over the key qualities of a good sciatica mattress and how our sleeping positions need a certain amount of firmness and support. Now it’s time to see which mattresses have come out on top for sciatica sufferers. We’ve reviewed a number of mattresses and listened to what customers have had to say about them to present you with our top 5 choices of mattresses for sciatica pain sufferers.
Note: All prices are for a queen-size topper unless otherwise noted.
1. Best Overall: Saatva Classic 14.5″ Innerspring Mattress
Why it’s great: This luxury mattress is available in three firmness levels that should suit all sleep positions and is expertly engineered with coil-on-coil construction for durability, a layer of memory foam for enhanced back support, and a cushiony Euro pillow top for extra comfort.
The spring Saatva Classic is a good choice for those who weigh over 300 pounds or, 600 pounds in total if you share your bed. The mattress has a combination of coils that are wrapped individually, cushioned layers, and really good spinal support. It has 4 layers; a Euro pillow top layer, a Visco lumbar pad second layer, a third layer of comfort coils that are wrapped individually, and a steel base fourth layer for support.
The mattress is breathable and temperature regulating to help keep you feeling cool at night. The construction of the mattress is also great for motion isolation and makes it a good choice for restless sleepers. For all of you edge huggers, this mattress has great edge support and keeps sinking to a minimum whether lying or sitting on the edge. Overall, it’s a good choice for most body and sleeper types. You also get a 180-night trial period from the manufacturer.
Pros: 15-year warranty, very little motion transfer, made using eco-friendly materials, no odd smell when opening, a good price, breathable, temperature regulating, gives very ample support, free white glove delivery and setup and you get a 120-night trial.
Cons: some buyers felt it took a bit longer for the mattress to cool down as opposed to other similar types.
2. Best Runner Up: Nectar 11″ Memory Foam Mattress
Why it’s great: You’ll love this mattress if you are a back or side sleeper and want a memory foam mattress that keeps you cool and is affordable.
This memory foam mattress from Nectar is rated a 6 (medium-firm) on the firmness scale, making it a good choice for anyone who weighs at least 130 pounds or those who are lighter but like a mattress that is firm. It’s constructed of layers of gel memory foam and standard memory foam that hug the body and keep your spine aligned, while also relieving pressure, two key features for anyone who has sciatica.
It has very good motion transfer control as well, making it ideal for restless sleepers and those who share a bed. It’s also very quiet. It has good temperature regulation to help keep you feeling cooler at night. You get free shipping and a 365-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty from the manufacturer.
Pros: temperature regulating, good motions transfer control, breathable, offers good spinal alignment, comes at a good price, and you have the 10-year warranty and 365-night trial.
Cons: users who are light in weight felt the mattress was too firm.
3. Best Value: BedInABox® Original 11″ Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress
Why it’s great: You’ll love this 11″ of cooling comfort mattress if you are looking for a brand that offers a good selection of firmness options at a reasonable price. Best support, even better price.
This mattress from BedInABox® is an 11-inch mattress made with two layers of foam. The bottom 8 inches is made with SureAlign high-density standard foam for support and the top 3 inches is made with gel-infused memory foam for softness. This gives the mattress a medium-firm feel. You can get the mattress in several firmness options to suit body size and sleep positions.
The gel-infused foam offers temperature regulation to help keep you feeling cool. The foam conforms well to the body to relieve pressure points. The soft-knit cover of the mattress is very breathable and 420 gram weight and a blue fabric around the border.
The mattress comes in all sizes, from twin to California King. The manufacturer offers free shipping and returns, a 120-night risk-free trial period, and a 20-year warranty.
Pros: accommodates all sleep positions ,priced competitively, offers a good variety of firmness choices, breathable, temperature regulating, 2 layers of support and cooling gel foam, 120-night trial period and a 20-year warranty.
Cons: some customers reported durability issues over time, with the mattress losing its shape.
Best For Hot Sleepers: PlushBeds 12” Posture Plush Memory Foam Mattress
Why it’s great: You will love this mattress from PlushBeds if you are a hot sleeper and need great support with superior spinal alignment.
This luxury memory foam mattress from PlushBeds is 12-inches thick with 6 layers that use cooling technology to keep you feeling cool and comfortable through the night. The high-density memory foam conforms to the body to support the shoulders, neck, back, and spine while relieving pressure points. It also uses an open cell construction for good airflow and breathability. The mattress also uses 100% latex to stop it from sagging or sinking. It’s rated as a medium-firm mattress.
PlushBeds mattresses are Greenguard Gold certified and only use non-toxic high-quality materials. They are tested for chemical emissions, which means there are no chemical odors or strong off-gassing. This makes them a good choice for those with sensitive skin or allergies. It can handle a weight of up to 600 pounds. It does well with motion reduction too.
The covering uses a patented 4-way stretch technology that allows it to be soft while being able to move with the memory foam. You can get this mattress in all sizes, from twin to California king.
Pros: temperature regulating, very breathable, 25-year warranty, good for back and stomach sleepers, can handle a lot of weight, no chemicals or odors, dust mite resistant, suitable for sensitive skin and those with allergies, 100-night free exchanges and returns and free shipping.
Cons: a little pricey.
5. Best for Heavyweight Sleepers: Dreamfoam Bedding Willow 12″ Latex Mattress
Why it’s great: If you’re looking to make a big difference to the quality of your sleep without breaking the bank, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the performance and endurance of this Eurotop latex mattress by Dreamfoam Bedding.
One of the features that we like about this mattress is that the firmness is customizable. When you order, someone from Dreamfoam Bedding gets in touch with you to choose the best firmness option for your needs.
The top layer is 3-inches thick and a blend of 60% synthetic and 40% natural Talalay Latex that conforms to the body quickly. The latex also has pinholes throughout to give it good airflow and breathability. The base layer of the mattress is 8-inches thick and made from high-density polyfoam that offers ample support for the body. The cover is quilted and made of 100% bamboo fibers that are biodegradable. Underneath the top cover is a 1.5-inch layer of poly reflex foam for added support for pressure points.
The cover has a zipper around it so that the latex layers can actually be removed if they need replacing at any time. It has a medium firmness of 5, giving you just the right balance of firmness and softness. Making it a good choice for back and side sleepers. The weight limit of this mattress is a generous 900 pounds. It also offers great motion isolation and edge support for restless sleepers. You get a 120-day return policy, a 120-night trial period, and a 10-year warranty.
Pros: suitable for those weighing up to 900 pounds, breathable, temperature regulating, firmness is customizable, layers can be removed to replace, and you have a sleep trial and 10-year warranty.
Cons: some customers felt the mattress was not very durable for the price, with some only lasting a couple of years.
Tips for for Sleeping with Sciatica
To help you find relief—and regain control of your sleep schedule—here are 3 really useful tips to help you get a better night’s sleep when you are dealing with sciatica.
1. Keep Your Knees Elevated
When any 1 bout of the 5 sciatica nerve roots become compressed or irritated in the body, it causes the pain to flare up. One way to alleviate these symptoms is to elevate the knees when you are lying down. It works to minimize any pressure being put on the nerve roots by your lumbar discs.
Here’s how to do it:
- First, lay flat on your back. Make sure your buttocks and heels are contacting the bed and then raise your knees towards the ceiling slightly.
- Take a pillow and place it between your knees and the bed. You can add extra pillows until you find a position that minimizes the pain.
Keep in mind that not every sleep position works for everybody, so don’t feel discouraged if, after a few days, you haven’t found any relief from the sciatica pain. Keep trying different positions until you find the one that is right for you.
2. Warm Baths Before Bed
Taking a warm bath before bed works in two ways. It helps to relax the muscles around the sciatic nerve, and it helps release endorphins that fight pain. You want to make sure the water is not too hot. It should feel pleasant and warm. Soaking in water that is too hot can raise the body’s temperature and make it harder to fall asleep.
3. Change Sleep Positions
Some sleep positions are better for sciatica than others. For example, sleeping on your stomach can cause your sciatica pain to hurt more, as can sleeping flat out on your back, which strains the nerve.
If you sleep on your back, it’s best to elevate the knees to ease the pressure. When lying on your side, bend the knees or use a pillow between them to keep your hips level.
Out of the 5 mattresses we have reviewed, the Saatva Classic is our top pick overall for lumbar support. It offers many of the things you would look for in a good supportive mattress for sciatic pain. It offers a good balance of firm support and comfortable softness, even for those who are overweight. It’s also good a regulating temperature and is very breathable.
Dr. David Edelson MD, FACP founder and director of Healthbridge states:
Saatva mattresses have been shown to dramatically improve the quality of our patient’s sleep. Additionally, I have personally chosen Saatva to replace my $2,800 Tempurpedic. It is such a comfortable, healthy, and luxurious mattress.
Where motion isolation is concerned, its a great choice for restless sleepers or those who share a bed with one. It’s suitable for all sleep positions and the manufacturing of its materials is done in an eco-friendly way. Lastly, it comes at a reasonable price. We hope you found our reviews helpful in finding your perfect mattress to ease your sciatica pain.