If your back pain keeps you up at night, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their life, according to the American Chiropractic Association. That’s a lot of folks potentially losing shut-eye because of a bad back.
There’s good news: A few lifestyle tweaks could greatly improve your time spent snoozing. For starters, having the right pillow for your sleeping position is a small change that makes a world of a difference. The best pillows to prevent neck and back pain in side sleepers have a gusset that gives the pillow extra height and structure to properly support your neck and spine throughout the night. Side-sleeper pillows for the legs might help lower back pain caused by sleeping, too. Stomach and back sleepers, on the other hand, don’t need a gusset, but instead should look for pillows that are supportive and conform to the head.
“It’s best to err on the side of firmness, although what’s firm for one person might not be firm for another.”
- Terry Cralle, clinical sleep educator
If changing your pillows hasn’t helped, it’s worth considering how your mattress affects your shut-eye, said clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle.
“If you suffer from back pain, being able to get a decent night’s sleep can make a world of difference, and having the best mattress for back pain can set you on the right path,” she said. ”When looking for a mattress, evaluate your sleep position to mitigate back pain, consider different mattress types, and don’t assume that high cost equals a quality mattress for back pain.”
Perhaps the best mattress for lower back pain is of medium-firm density, said Dr. Thanu Jey, a chiropractor and clinical director at Yorkville Sports Medicine Clinic in Toronto. You need a mattress that will support your upper back and take pressure off your lower back, Jey said.
A mattress that’s too soft will bow your spine as you sink into it, while a mattress that’s too hard can put unnecessary pressure on aches and pains, especially if you’re a heavier person. “That being said, it’s best to err on the side of firmness, although what’s firm for one person might not be firm for another,” Cralle said. “You need a firmness that supports your back in its natural position.”
If you’re ready to ditch your current bed and buy the next one that promises to relieve your aches and pains, keep in mind that it’s probably a good idea to test out a new mattress before committing.
“Trials are the absolute best,” Jey said. “It’s really tricky to tell how your body will respond [to a new mattress] so making sure that you get a week or two to see how your body responds will make all the difference.”
To help you on your hunt for a better night’s sleep without middle back pain, lower back pain, neck pain or anything in between, we’ve rounded up some of the best medium-firm to extra-firm mattresses out there. Some are even mattresses with lumbar support that’ll help you rest easy all through the night.
Take a look below:
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Firmness: Softer side, harder side (flippable) Trial: 120 nights Warranty: Lifetime Price: From $599 What makes the Layla mattress unique is its flippable design. One side is soft and one side is firm. Simply flip the mattress to your desired support level and rest easy. It's also made with copper-infused memory foam that's naturally antimicrobial and heat-conductive (so it keeps your temperature regulated all night), and it provides the extra support your lower back needs. If you decide you don't like your Layla mattress after the 120-night trial period, simply email the company to say why you want to return it and Layla will arrange for you to donate it to a local charity. Once you've successfully donated it, you'll get a full refund. Learn more about the Layla mattress.
DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress
Firmness: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm or Firm Trial: 365 nights Warranty: Lifetime Price: From $1,099 DreamCloud's Luxury Hybrid mattress is made of both foam and coils, giving you the support you need. It's designed to give you the right balance of contouring and support for all of your edges and curves, so it's ideal for all sleeping positions, whether you're a stomach, side or back sleeper. It's made of a cashmere-blend toppers, so it's incredibly soft and smooth to the touch, and is made without ozone depleters and questionable materials. Plus, it has free shipping and returns. Learn more about DreamCloud's Luxury Hybrid mattress.
Brooklyn Bedding Bowery Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Trial: 120 nights Warranty: 10 years Price: From $549 Brooklyn Bedding's Bowery Hybrid mattress has an ideal universal medium-firm feel that provides just the right amount of support and pressure in all the right places. It includes layers of gel, memory foam and coils to provides the support your back needs, as well as a transitional layer so you stay the right temperature all night long. It's shipped to you for free in a box. Sleep on it for 120 nights while you make up your mind and if you choose to return it, it's free. Learn more about Brooklyn Bedding's Bowery Hybrid mattress.
Helix Twilight Luxe Mattress
Firmness: Firm Trial: 100 nights Warranty: 15 years Price: From $995 The Helix Twilight Luxe mattress has upgraded features made for back pain. It includes a quilted pillow top and ultra-cool cover as well as body zoning that's designed to support you in your most painful, problematic places like shoulders and lower back. Made without questionable materials, this mattress is made with gel, foam and wrapped coils that support you throughout the night. Plus, for $150 extra Helix will remove your old mattress for you. Learn more about the Helix Twilight Luxe mattress.
Brooklyn Bedding Bloom Hybrid
Firmness: Soft, Medium or Firm Trial: 120 nights Warranty: 10 years Price: From $1,199 The Brooklyn Bedding Bloom Hybrid mattress is made with Talalay latex, Joma wool and organic cotton, making it a natural alternative to other foam and coil mattresses. Choose from three levels of firmness, and then it will be shipped to you for free in a box. Sleep on it for 120 nights while you make up your mind. If you choose to return it, it's free. Learn more about Brooklyn Bedding's Bloom Hybrid mattress.
Saatva Classic Luxury Mattress
Firmness: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm or Firm Trial: 120 nights Warranty: 15 years Price: From $599 The Saatva Classic Luxury mattress is a hotel-quality bed that's engineered for back health. It's designed with a lumbar wire support zone that provides additional support to your lower back area. It's made in the U.S. of foam and coils that support you while you sleep, without overheating. Choose from three support levels, and you can even add on an adjustable base for the ultimate personalized night's sleep. Learn more about the Saatva Classic Luxury Mattress.