Last Updated On May 8th, 2019
Trying to get to sleep when you suffer from sciatica can be a struggle at best and downright painful at worst. Lack of sleep impacts on most other areas of your life, so finding a way to get your full quota of shut-eye is time and money well spent.
A good quality mattress is essential for spinal alignment or general back health, and can make a huge difference if you struggle with back pain symptoms. Although a firm mattress is often recommended for people suffering from back and sciatic pain, the most important thing is that you find something that helps you maintain a comfortable sleeping position all night long.
We’ve scoured the top online mattress retailers to find the best mattress for sciatic nerve pain sufferers. As no mattress will suit everyone, we’ve also got reviews of 6 runners up, so you can figure out which mattress is likely to suit you best.
Top 7 Best Mattress For Sciatica Pain Compared
|Casper||View Price →|
|Layla Mattress||View Price →|
|Nest Bedding Alexander||View Price →|
|Nectar||View Price →|
|Purple||View Price →|
|WinkBeds||View Price →|
|Loom & Leaf||View Price →|
A Guide To Finding The Best Mattress For Sciatica Sufferers
Sciatica is a form of back pain that radiates down through your lower back and one or both legs. It occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed or irritated. This can be due to a spinal condition or injury, but it’s also common in pregnancy (see our roundup of pregnancy mattresses). You may also suffer from sciatic pain if you’re overweight, have poor posture or spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer.
A new mattress won’t cure your sciatica, but it may help reduce your symptoms and help you sleep better. Here’s what you need to think about when shopping for a new mattress and some tips for getting a better night’s sleep despite bad sciatic pain.
The Best Bed For Sciatica Pain Relief
While sleeping on a mattress on the floor isn’t particularly good for your mattress or you, the type of bed you have is generally less important than the quality of your mattress.
That said, because of their construction, many memory foam mattresses are only compatible with certain types of bed frame, so it’s definitely worth checking with the manufacturer before you buy, particularly if you don’t want to invest in an entirely new bed.
Some sciatic sufferers find abandoning their bed altogether and sleeping on a towel or yoga mat on the floor to be the best way of getting a comfortable night’s sleep, though it’s unlikely your partner’s going to want to join you! As most manufacturers offer a trial period, it’s worth persevering and trying to search for a mattress that suits your budget and needs.
What’s The Best Type Of Mattress For Sciatica Sufferers?
A good quality mattress can help reduce your sciatic pain at night to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
For most people, a firm or medium-firm mattress will be best, particularly if you sleep on your back. Research finds that side sleepers may find a slightly softer mattress more comfortable, but it still needs to offer support along the whole length of your spine.
Sleeping on your front isn’t generally recommended for sciatica patients, but if you can’t sleep comfortably in another position then choose a firm mattress that keeps your body aligned.
Memory Foam or Innerspring?
The material a mattress is made from is less important than the level of support and comfort it provides. Memory foam mattresses are a popular choice for sciatica sufferers due to its ability to mold to the contours of your body and support a neutral spine position.
Another advantage of memory foam over innerspring mattresses is that they’re naturally better at isolating motion. If you toss and turn, the memory foam absorbs the impact, meaning your sleeping partner is less likely to be disturbed.
Some people prefer the bounce of a traditional spring mattress, particularly in hot climates where the heat retention properties of memory foam can leave you sweating. A hybrid mattress with a foam layer on top of a spring base may be a good compromise if you’re looking for the best of both worlds.
If you’re looking for a natural, eco-friendly material, then latex is an alternative to memory foam. Or you could opt for something totally different – the New Purple mattress uses an elastic polymer to give flexible support without any overheating issues.
Testing Your Mattress
It always takes a bit of time to get used to a new mattress, particularly if it’s firmer than what you’re used to. We’d recommend sleeping on your mattress for at least a couple of weeks before discounting it and testing out different sleeping positions and sleeping aids (see below).
Many manufacturers offer a 100-night trial period which for most people is sufficient to decide whether or not the mattress is right for them. If your sciatic pain is intermittent, you may want to opt for a mattress which has an even longer trial period.
Tips For Sleeping With Sciatic Pain
It’s worth trying different sleeping positions and pillow combinations to find something that’s comfortable and keeps your spine aligned. A good pre-bed routine will also help you relax and get in the right frame of mind for sleep.
If you’re struggling to get to sleep, these tips may help:
- Sleeping on your back with your knees raised can help alleviate pressure on your nerve roots. Play around with different pillow combinations until you find a position that suits you.
- If you’re a side sleeper, bend your top knee and prop it up using two or three pillows, so your hips are squared.
- A full-length body pillow (often marketed as pregnancy pillows) can help cocoon your body and prevent you from rolling over during the night. As the pillow extends between your legs, this means you don’t need to fiddle about with multiple pillows which may fall out of bed during the night.
- Don’t forget about your neck. Keeping proper spine alignment can help reduce lower back pain, so invest in a good pillow that supports your head in a neutral position.
- Research indicates that light stretching before bed can help relax tense muscles and relieve pressure on your sciatic nerve. Try these three stretches to help loosen and strengthen key muscle groups.
- A warm bath can help relax you and the muscles around your sciatic nerve. A hot water bottle can have a similar effect – just make sure it’s not hot enough to burn you.
- Get into a good sleep routine by eating healthily, avoiding blue screens before you go to bed and giving yourself time to relax and wind down if you’ve had a stressful day.
If you’re struggling to switch off at night, check out these tips for improving your sleep without resorting to drugs.
Best Mattress For Sciatica Sufferers Reviewed
If you’re a side sleeper, it can be tricky to find a mattress that provides enough support without feeling too hard. While overall, it’s rated as a medium-firm mattress, the Casper has a zoned support system with firmer foam under your hips and core and softer foam at the top and bottom of the mattress. For side sleepers, this helps keep your spine aligned to reduce lower back pain, without it feeling like you’re sleeping on a wooden board.
The design and level of support you get with the Casper mattress also make it an excellent choice for back and front sleepers. If you’re a restless sleeper who tends to switch position during the night or if you and your partner sleep in different positions, the Casper could be an ideal compromise to help you both get a great night’s sleep.
However, the Casper isn’t the firmest mattress on the market. If you’re heavier than average and you prefer to sleep on your back, you may find it too soft. Opting for a firmer mattress could a better job of relieving your sciatic pain.
If you’ve woken up sweating after sleeping on a cheap memory foam mattress, you’ll appreciate the open-cell foams used in the Casper mattress. The thin, breathable top layer of foam helps circulate heat, preventing it from building up in the memory foam layer below.
Another area in which the Casper excels is in preventing motion transfer. The memory foam layer is designed to isolate your movements, so they don’t spread to the other side of the bed. If you get woken up during the night by your partner’s tossing and turning, this is definitely a feature you’ll appreciate!
The Casper’s four-layer design gives a total depth of 12-inches, making it a sturdy, durable choice. A 10-year warranty backs it, and Casper offer a 100-night risk-free sleep trial, which is pretty standard for high-quality mattress manufacturers.
As it’s made from synthetic materials, you may find there’s a bit of a smell when you first unpack your mattress. Casper recommends leaving it for a day or two to let this dissipate before going to sleep on it. All foams used in the mattress are made without ozone-depleting content and they have low VOC emissions, so you don’t need to worry about breathing in any nasty chemicals.
The Layla is one of the few sub-$1000 mattresses we’ve reviewed and is fantastic value for money with a versatile design and high level of comfort.
While some manufacturers offer the same mattress in different firmness ratings, the Layla’s double-sided design gives you two options in one. This is great if you sleep in a variety of positions as you can test both sides to see which level of firmness is best for reducing sciatic pain symptoms. If you’re investing in a good-quality mattress for the first time, it can be hard to know what level of support is right for you, so the Layla’s versatility and generous 120-night trial period means you have plenty of options and time to test different sleeping positions.
The softer side of the mattress has a 3-inch layer of memory foam and a firmness rating of 4.5 out of 10. If you’ve previously found memory foam mattresses too hard, this side may suit you best. If you flip the mattress over to the firmer side, you’re closer to the central support layer giving a 7 out of 10 rating for firmness. This will provide better support for back sleepers and heavier people, but if you’re used to a very firm mattress, you may still find it a little on the soft side.
The cover and top layers of foam on both sides of the mattress are infused with a cooling gel which uses copper to conduct heat away from your body. This makes it a cooler option than comparable mattresses – great for hot sleepers or warmer climates.
The Layla is also a good choice for restless sleepers. At the core is a 4.5-inch layer of support foam which is effective at reducing bounce and motion transfer between sleepers and preventing you from rolling into the middle if your partner is heavier than you.
As an added bonus, the mattress comes with a lifetime warranty for manufacturing defects and significant sagging or loss of shape.
Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Flippable
Another mattress that features a double-sided design is the Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Flippable. It has a medium side that will suit back and side sleepers, and a firm side, designed for back and stomach sleepers.
With sciatica, there’s no “one-position-is-best” solution to getting a good night’s sleep, and it may take a bit of time and experimentation to figure out which position is most comfortable for you. You get an industry-standard 100-night trial with the Alexander Signature mattress, so you can spend a few weeks testing out both sides of the bed to see which suits you best.
The CoolFlow quilting foam that tops both sides of the mattress is designed to keep you cool while you sleep. However, some reviewers report that the mattress can get quite hot – you may feel this more if you sleep on the firm side which doesn’t have the additional copper-infused gel foam layer. This may or may not bother you – it’s likely to depend on how hot you get when sleeping and how much control you have over your bedroom temperature.
Some users have also found that the edges and corners of the mattress can feel a little squishy. This is a common issue with memory foam mattresses but may be a concern if you tend to sleep on the edge of your bed.
Unlike most of the sciatica mattress reviews here which are online only, Nest Bedding have a series of showrooms across the States so you can have a bounce around on their beds before you decide which mattress is best for you. However, if buying online, you can often find good deals with Nest Bedding coupons which would bring the cost of a new sciatica mattress down considerably.
One thing that sets the Alexander Signature Flippable mattress apart from its competitors is the quality of the materials used. Nest Bedding mattresses are made in the USA and all their foams are CertiPUR-US certified, meaning they meet low VOC emission standards – good for indoor air quality. They also offer a lifetime comfort guarantee and their customer service is excellent.
If you’re not sure whether a foam mattress is for you or you’re reluctant to pay thousands of dollars for a mattress, then the Nectar is for you.
It comes with a 365-day trial, so you can sleep on it risk-free for an entire year. That’s three times longer than the industry standard. If you live in a hot or changeable climate, this is particularly useful as it means you can test the mattress during different seasons before committing to it. If your sciatic pain is intermittent or triggered by certain things, having a longer trial period could also be helpful
Nectar has a “forever” warranty that covers the construction, materials, and durability of the mattress for as long as you own it. It’s suitable for all types of bed frame so you won’t have to invest in a new bed and it’s a very budget-friendly mattress – the cheapest of those we’ve reviewed.
So what about the quality? The Nectar mattress consists of 3 different memory foam layers sandwiched between a firm, breathable base layer and a cooling cover. It offers a medium-firm level of support suitable for all types of sleeper. If you prefer a soft mattress, then you may find it takes a bit of time to get used to, but it’s worth sticking with it as firmer mattresses are typically better for most sciatica patients. If you’re still struggling to sleep, you could try adding a soft mattress topper as this will still work out cheaper than exchanging it for a higher-cost mattress.
The quilted top layer of memory foam helps wick heat away from your body. It may not be as effective at cooling as some other brands, but unless you live in a very hot area, you’re unlikely to wake up sweaty. The foam also meets theCertiPUR-US® quality standards indicating it’s free from ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, mercury, or lead.
For a time, Nectar had a lot of issues with shipping. This seems to have been resolved but if you need a mattress in a hurry and value customer service above other factors, you may want to look elsewhere.
The New Purple
Memory foam has been around for decades so it’s about time there was some competition from new technology. The Purple Mattress uses Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ to create a mattress that aims to address some of the common complaints about memory foam – heat retention and compression and deformation over time – and give a great night’s sleep.
There are two main parts to the hybrid mattress: a layer of responsive support coils topped with the patented Purple Smart Comfort Grid™. The grid is made from Purple’s Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ and is available in three different thicknesses (2, 4 and 6 inches). The thinner the polymer layer, the firmer the mattress.
The elastic polymer dynamically flexes under pressure, so it gives at your shoulders and hips (where side sleepers often feel discomfort) while supporting your lower back and legs. This makes it suitable for sleepers of all shapes and sizes and all sleeping positions. Purple mattresses are renowned for being exceptionally comfortable, particularly if you suffer from back or other chronic pain.
Even with the best memory foam mattresses, if you’re a hot sleeper, you may find yourself overheating. The grid structure of the upper layer of the New Purple allows for more airflow, and the material itself is temperature neutral, giving even the hottest sleeper a comfortable night’s sleep.
The elastic structure also means the mattress does a great job of isolating movement, so you can bounce around to your heart’s content without disturbing your partner.
At 110 lbs, the Purple mattress is heavy. You don’t want to be lugging it around by yourself, particularly if you suffer from sciatica. Fortunately, the New Purple comes with complimentary delivery and setup, so you don’t have to worry about doing the heavy lifting.
The downside? All this technology comes at a price. The New Purple isn’t the most expensive mattress out there, but it’s definitely not a budget buy. As the company is fairly new, the technology hasn’t had the benefit of years of real-world testing, but it does come with a 10-year warranty.
If you prefer the feel of a traditional innerspring mattress but want the contoured support of foam, then a hybrid mattress is your best option.
The springs that form the main part of the base are zoned to give different levels of support based on the pressure your body places on the mattress – good news for side sleepers. Proper lumbar support can really help reduce sciatic pain, and the WinkBeds luxury hybrid mattress provides extra support for this part of the body to prevent your spine sagging.
There’s a second layer of micro air-springs on top of the base, designed to improve breathability, topped by a Euro-pillowtop foam layer for cushioning. It’s also designed to give extra support around the edges of the mattress – this is one bed you won’t roll out of.
The WinkBed is available in four different firmness options, including one specifically designed for heavier people. Their most popular model is the Luxury Firm – a medium-firm mattress that suits most sleepers.
Innerspring mattresses tend to be cooler to sleep on than memory foam, which is one reason a lot of people prefer them. Although the WinkBed has a foam layer on top, it’s designed to pull heat away from your body and the micro-springs below help air to circulate, keeping you cool all night.
Another point in WinkBed’s favor is its eco-credentials. It’s made in the USA using recycled steel and Tencel from FSC-certified forests, and the foam is CertiPUR-US® accredited.
As you might expect, a high-quality mattress made in the USA doesn’t come cheap. But you may be prepared to pay a bit extra if you know your mattress will last for years. Testing done on the WinkBed mattress shows a less than 2% sag rate over a simulated 20 years of sleeping, proving its durability. And if you do want to trade in your mattress for a new model in the future, you can buy a new WinkBed mattress at a 50% discount.
Although the WinkBeds hybrid mattress comes with a decent 120-night trial period, you can’t return it in the first 30 days. While it does take a few weeks to get used to a new bed, if you find you’ve chosen the wrong model from the outset, this could cause you some short-term pain.
Loom & Leaf
The high-quality, natural materials, excellent spinal support, and quilted top make the Loom & Leaf feel like a luxury mattress despite the mid-range price point.
At the heart of the mattress is a layer of 5 lb visco-elastic memory foam that provides support while molding to the contours of your body. A high-density foam layer underneath provides a supportive base and the top memory foam layer and organic cotton knit top adds extra comfort.
Loom & Leaf offer two comfort levels. The “relaxed firm” mattress is rated 5-7 (on a scale of 1-10), and the “firm” option may be a good fit if you find a very firm surface more comfortable to sleep on. This definitely isn’t a soft mattress (though the initial firmness eases up a little over time) and if you’re a light person who sleeps on their side, you may find it too firm for your liking.
At both comfort levels, the mattress is very effective at absorbing movement, so if you’re a restless sleeper, you shouldn’t disturb your partner. There’s very little bounce, and if you haven’t slept on a memory foam mattress before, this may take a bit of getting used to. Like most memory foam mattress, it sinks a little at the edges.
If you want a memory foam mattress for reducing sciatic nerve pain but you’re concerned that you may overheat, the Loom & Leaf mattress has one of the more effective cooling technologies on the market. The top layer of memory foam is designed to maximize air circulation and incorporates a pure cooling gel of the type that’s used in burns units and hospitals. Laminated onto this is a cooling gel spinal panel which provides additional cooling for the lumbar region.
Unlike most foam mattresses we review, the Loom & Leaf doesn’t come in a box. It’s delivered uncompressed, but fortunately, delivery and installation are included in the price, so you don’t need to worry about how you’re going to get it up the stairs.
The Casper Mattress is our top pick in the overall review as the best mattress for sciatica sufferers, particularly if you sleep with another person or tend to switch position a lot during the night. It provides a good level of support for back, side and front sleepers, and excellent motion isolation at an affordable price.
Mattresses are a very personal choice. The right mattress for you will depend on your weight and build, preferred sleeping position and comfort level. While firm mattresses are generally thought to reduce sciatic pain, this doesn’t mean they’re the right choice for everyone. Fortunately, as most manufacturers offer at least a 3-month trial period, you can give your new mattress a proper test and if it’s still not comfortable, send it back and try a different model until your slumber is perfect and pain-free.