The right mattress for a side sleeper with back pain may depend on the type and location of the pain.
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Generally, mattresses that support spinal alignment relieve pressure on the back and joints, which may alleviate back pain for some people.
In this article, we investigate how a mattress may ease this pain for people who sleep on their sides and look at six options.
Please note, however, that the statements below are based only on research. No one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried these products.
During sleep, the primary force affecting the back is gravity. As such, sleeping on a mattress that is too soft or hard or does not support the alignment of the spine may put pressure on the joints.
For some, this can cause or worsen back pain and impact overall sleep quality.
According to the International Chiropractors Association, a good mattress will:
- keep the spine in a straight position
- contour pressure points, such as the hips and shoulders
- be consistently comfortable in every position, especially the person’s most common one
People often believe that firm mattresses are good for back pain, but an older study, from 2003, challenges this belief. The researchers found that participants who slept on medium-firm mattresses experienced less pain and disability.
The right mattress should distribute pressure evenly throughout the body and keep the back in a neutral position.
Below, find 6 options that may reduce back pain, improve sleep, and thus increase energy levels.
Helix Midnight Mattress
This mattress is a hybrid, meaning that it has both memory foam and coils.
It has an overall medium firmness, with several layers of memory foam of different densities. According to the makers, these layers allow the mattress to conform to the body, providing pressure relief for the hips and shoulders.
This mattress has won multiple consumer awards and receives widely positive reviews.
All Helix mattresses have breathable covers and come with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
Bear Hybrid Mattress
This combines memory foam and coils to provide a medium-firm surface, which the company suggest is ideal for side sleepers.
The mattress also has five layers of differentiated support to relieve pressure on the joints, along with a layer of cooling gel foam.
According to the website, the coils in this mattress transfer heat away from the body 28% more efficiently than standard memory foam mattresses. This could make it a good option for people who get too hot during the night.
It comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty. The company say that they strive to use environmentally friendly materials.
Idle Hybrid Mattress
The makers of this mattress say that their foam provides 400% more support and stays cooler than standard memory foam.
This mattress also contains 1,000 smart coils, they say, and is double-sided, so a person can flip their mattress to lengthen its life.
It is medium-firm and CertiPUR-US certified, which means that it does not contain mercury, lead, or ozone-depleting chemicals.
A person can try this mattress for 18 months before committing to keeping it, and the company offers a lifetime warranty.
The makers of this mattress say that it works well for side sleepers and people who switch between their sides and back. They also note that the mattress’ seven support layers provide a softer surface for the shoulders and legs and a firmer one for the torso.
Winkbeds say that their memory foam contains small air capsules to follow the body’s contours and help heat dissipate, allowing the person to stay cool and comfortable.
According to reviews on the company’s website, this mattress has helped some people with back pain. It comes with a 120-night trial and a lifetime warranty.
Birch Natural Mattress
Research shows that mattress materials can affect sleep quality. A small study from 2017 compared latex and polyurethane foam mattresses and found that latex mattresses performed better overall and provided more pressure relief for side sleepers.
As a result, side sleepers may prefer latex mattresses.
The makers of this mattress note that it contains organic cotton, organic wool, and natural Talalay latex, materials that help regulate body temperature. They also say that the steel coils in the base help prevent motion transfer.
A person can try it for 100 nights before committing, and the company offer a 25-year warranty and free shipping.
Innomax Genesis 800 DX Watermattress
This waterbed promises to distribute body weight evenly and reduce pressure on the shoulders, lower back, hips, and heels. The makers highlight a 10-layer support system that is firmest in the middle to support the back.
The study from 2008 showed that waterbeds and foam mattresses performed equally for participants with chronic lower back pain, improving symptoms and sleep, compared with firm mattresses.
People who sleep on their sides may prefer a mattress with softer areas around the shoulders and legs and a firmer area in the middle, to help support the spine’s alignment.
However, everyone has different needs, and finding the right mattress may take some trial and error. Fortunately, many companies offer trial periods.
If back pain persists after a person takes steps to ease it at home, it is a good idea to see a doctor.