Side sleeping is one of the most common sleep positions. It offers benefits like improved respiratory airflow and reduced snoring and sleep apnea. However, side sleeping can also contribute to back pain if your mattress doesn’t provide proper support and alignment.
Your spine needs to stay in a neutral, straight position as you sleep on your side. If the mattress causes your spine to curve or misalign, it leads to added pressure and pain in the back.
That’s why finding the right mattress is crucial if you are a side sleeper dealing with chronic back pain. The proper mattress will cushion pressure points in the shoulders and hips while keeping your spine properly aligned.
This guide will examine the best mattresses for side sleepers with back pain and provide tips for choosing the right model based on your needs and preferences.
Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers with Back Pain
Based on extensive research and testing, here are the top 5 mattress recommendations for side sleepers with back pain:
1. Amerisleep AS3
- Features zoned support with softer shoulder and firmer lower back sections
- Cushioning memory foam comfort layer relieves pressure points
- Firmness rating of 6-7/10, ideal for side sleepers
- Celliant cover helps increase local blood flow
- 100 night risk-free trial
The Amerisleep AS3 is specifically designed to prevent back pain and keep side sleepers aligned with its zoned support design. It cushions the shoulders and hips to relieve pressure while supporting the lumbar area. This prevents the spine from curving out of alignment and eliminates back tension.
2. Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
- Gel-infused memory foam regulates temperature
- 5 layers of foam provide cushioning relief
- Firmness rating of 6/10
- Forever warranty
- Lower price point versus competitors
With its multiple foam layers and medium level of firmness, the Nectar mattress suits most side sleepers very well. It cushions pressure points and adapts to the body without allowing too much sinkage and spinal misalignment. The value pricing and forever warranty make it very budget-friendly.
3. Helix Midnight Luxe
Helix Midnight Luxe
- Gel visco foam and memory plus foam comfort layers
- Zoned lumbar support transitions to softer sides
- Pillow top design has added pressure relief
- 100 night sleep trial period
- 15 year warranty
The Luxe version of the Helix Midnight has a luxury pillow top crafted specifically to cradle a side sleeper’s shoulders, hips, and curves while keeping the spine straight. It’s an excellent blend of pressure relief, comfort, support and durability.
4. Layla Memory Foam Mattress
Layla Memory Foam Mattress
- Flippable design has both medium and medium-firm sides
- Copper-infused foam keeps cooler than traditional memory materials
- 120 night risk-free trial period
- Lifetime warranty
- Low motion transfer
With two firmness levels in one mattress, the Layla gives side sleepers flexibility based on their back pain severity. The firmness options accommodate lighter and heavier body weights. The copper infusion also provides some cooling and antimicrobial properties.
5. Tuft & Needle Original
Tuft & Needle Original
- Proprietary T&N Adaptive Foam relieves pressure points
- Bouncier feel combined with support
- Breathable graphite and cooling gel infusion
- 100 night trial period
- 10 year warranty
The original Tuft & Needle mattress combines support with pressure relief through its T&N Adaptive Foam to keep side sleepers lifted in proper alignment without sagging into the mattress. It also runs cooler than many competing foam options, ideal for those who sleep hot.
How to Choose the Best Mattress for Side Sleepers with Back Pain
Here are the key factors and mattress features to consider when shopping for a mattress to alleviate back pain as a side sleeper:
- Spinal Alignment – Your heavier hip and shoulder bear down when lying on your side. Make sure the mattress keeps your spine neutral, not sagging or curving which strains the back.
- Cushioning – Pressure point relief in the shoulders and hips minimizes stiffness and discomfort, helping you fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Firmness Level – Medium to medium-firm mattresses tend to perform best for side sleepers by supporting and cushioning without too much sinkage.
- Support Zones – Models with lumbar support transition zones and reinforced edges prevent “hammocking” or sinking into the mattress.
- Responsiveness – Avoid “quicksand” feels by choosing a mattress that keeps you lifted without trapping you. Latex, microcoils or firm foam create responsiveness.
- Durability – Higher density foams and durable coils extend the mattress lifespan so it keeps supporting your spine properly for years.
- Sleep Trial – Buying from a company with at least a 90 day trial allows you to test out the mattress and return if it aggravates your back pain.
Tips for Side Sleepers with Back Pain
- Place a supportive pillow between your knees or use a body pillow to keep your hips and spine aligned. Don’t let knees fall together.
- Use a thicker pillow designed for side sleepers to support proper head and neck alignment.
- Avoid very soft mattresses that allow the midsection to sink too far, putting strain on the spine.
- Do exercises to strengthen your core and improve hip mobility to take pressure off your lower back before it worsens.
- Maintain a healthy body weight since excess pounds contribute to back pain, especially if carried in the belly.
- Practice stress-relieving techniques before bed since mental and physical tension can worsen pain perception.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best mattress firmness for side sleepers with back pain?
Most side sleepers need a medium to medium-firm mattress, in the 5-7 range on the 10 point firmness scale. This cradles the curves while preventing too much sinkage that strains the spine.
Is memory foam or hybrid better for side sleepers with back pain?
It depends on your preferences. Memory foam conforms very closely but may feel “stuck.” Hybrids offer more bounce but have less pressure relief. Try out each type if possible before deciding.
What mattress helps sciatica pain when sleeping on your side?
Mattresses that relieve pressure points in the hips and shoulders while supporting the lower back can help reduce sciatic pain. Pocketed coil or zoned latex options tend to perform well.
Can a mattress really help back pain if you’re a side sleeper?
Yes, the right mattress that keeps your spine aligned and cushioned during side sleeping can absolutely help relieve tension and reduce nagging back pain over time. But lifestyle changes may also be needed.
How do I know if my mattress is aggravating my back pain when sleeping on the side?
Signs your mattress isn’t right include waking up with numbness, tingling, soreness or shooting pain down the back. Tossing and turning or achy hips and shoulders can also indicate poor support.
The best mattresses for side sleepers with back pain provide a blend of close contouring for pressure relief and adequate support to maintain proper spinal alignment. Avoid mattresses that are either too soft or too firm. Look for ideal zones of support.
Medium memory foam, latex and pocketed coil mattresses tend to perform well, as do flippable models with different firmness levels on each side. Companies that offer sleep trials allow you to test the mattress for at least 90 nights. Follow the above guidance to wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free!