Best Mattresses for SciaticaUpdated on July 2, 2019 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about our affiliate program here.
The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down through each leg. When this nerve is compressed, often by a herniated disc or bone spur, pain radiates throughout the lower body. This pain is known as sciatica. The chronic pain, inflammation, and numbness caused by sciatica can disrupt sleep and cause other issues.
Sciatica causes pain in the lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs. While most people with sciatica experience pain in one leg, it can be present in both. Sciatica can also cause weakness and numbness in the legs, which makes moving or changing positions throughout the night harder. Those with severe sciatica may have issues with bladder function. These symptoms make it difficult to sleep comfortably.
Purchasing a mattress that alleviates pain and pressure can help people with sciatica manage their symptoms as they recover. A supportive mattress that keeps the spine aligned can provide relief for the sharp or aching pain throughout the lower body caused by sciatica.
We’ll cover our top picks for the best mattresses for sciatica, and help you understand what to consider before making a purchase. Sciatica affects sleep in different ways, so we’ll also include sleep tips and accessories that can help.
Our Top Picks
|Manufacturer||Model||Mattress Type||Firmness||Price (Queen)|
|Layla||Memory Foam||Dual-sided: Soft (3.5) and Firm (7)|
|Aurora||Hybrid||3 choices: Soft (3), Medium (5), Firm (7)||$1,699|
|Nectar||Memory Foam||Medium Firm (6.5)||$799|
|Saatva Classic||Hybrid||3 choices: Soft (3), Luxury Firm (5-7), Firm (8)||$1,199|
|Casper Wave||Memory Foam||Medium (5)||$2,395|
Why We Like it
- Conforms closely for pressure point relief
- Dual-sided so you can choose your preferred firmness level
- 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
The Layla mattress is constructed with copper gel memory foam for deep compression support and pressure point relief. This is helpful for people with sciatica, as it takes pressure off the lower back, hips, and legs. The mattress is dual-sided, so it can be flipped to a firm or soft side, depending on your preference. The knit mattress cover has Thermogel technology for a cooling feel.
The soft side of the Layla mattress is plush, with three inches of copper gel memory foam that draws heat away from the body and offers variable support. Underneath the copper gel memory foam is a layer of max airflow support foam with deep channeling. This layer adds airflow and breathability to the mattress. It is also zoned for customized support in key areas. The support core of the Layla mattress is four inches of foam that minimizes motion transfer and helps keep the spine aligned. The firm side of the mattress is one inch of firm copper gel foam with variable support for deep compression areas.
Since the Layla mattress is all-foam, it has excellent motion isolation. You shouldn’t feel your partner’s movements throughout the night if you share the bed. This also prevents disturbances if sciatica pain causes you to toss and turn throughout the night.
Layla offers a 120-night sleep trial with free shipping and returns. The mattress is backed by a lifetime warranty.
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
Why We Like it
- Contouring foam relieves pressure points
- Deep compression support helps keep the spine aligned
- 120-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty
The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora mattress features a hybrid construction for pressure point relief and deep compression support. This takes pressure off the lower back and keeps the spine aligned, which is ideal for people suffering from sciatica pain.
The smooth top weave of the mattress cover includes TitanCool phase change material, which draws heat away from the body. A comfort layer of CopperFlex foam with TitanCool provides pressure point relief and responsive contouring. Beneath that is TitanFlex foam, which adjusts to your body quickly and maintains support as you move or change positions. Viscoelastic memory foam in the transition layer contours to the shape of your body and gives compression support. The support base of the mattress is made of individually encased coils that respond to pressure and isolate movement.
The mattress is available in three firmness options, so you can choose your preferred comfort level. The soft option gives added pressure point relief with the feeling of being hugged by the mattress. The medium firmness is contouring and supportive for a combination of sleeping positions. Firm is best for stomach sleepers or those who need additional lumbar support.
Brooklyn Bedding has free shipping and returns, with a 120-night sleep trial so you can try out the mattress. They also include a 10-year warranty.
Why We Like it
- Relieves pressure points under the hips and legs
- Minimal motion transfer
- 365-night sleep trial and forever warranty
The Nectar mattress is an all-foam mattress engineered to relieve pressure and keep the spine aligned. The adaptive foam layers cushion the hips and legs, which can provide much-needed relief for people with sciatica pain. The foam construction also means minimal motion transfer and no noise, preventing sleep disturbances throughout the night.
The quilted gel memory foam cover of the mattress is soft and breathable. A comfort layer of gel memory foam evenly distributes your weight and draws heat away from the body. Adaptive hi-core memory foam offers additional support and prevents the feeling of sinking in, while the stabilizing base layer reinforces the mattress. The medium firm feel of the Nectar mattress balances comfort and support for most sleeping positions and body types.
The Nectar mattress is a high-quality, affordable option. It includes a 365-night sleep trial with free shipping and returns, giving you a full year to sleep on the mattress and see how it helps alleviate aches and pains. Nectar also backs the mattress with a forever warranty. For the first 10 years of the warranty, Nectar replaces a defective mattress free of charge. After 10 years, Nectar will repair and re-cover, or replace the mattress. Transportation fees are waived if a defect is found.
Saatva Classic Mattress
Why We Like it
- pinal zone technology reduces back pain
- Contouring support cushions pressure points
- 120-night sleep trial and 15-year warranty
The Saatva Classic mattress is built with spinal zone technology that reduces back pain. The middle of the mattress has active wire Lumbar Zone support to keep the spine aligned, while a layer of memory foam relieves pressure points. This unique construction relieves sciatica pain and takes pressure off the lower back. The hybrid construction and organic cotton cover give the Saatva classic mattress a breathable, temperature neutral feel.
The luxury Euro pillow top of the Saatva classic mattress includes foam for contouring and cushioning support. Individually wrapped coils beneath the pillow top minimize motion transfer, add airflow to the mattress, and contour to the shape of your body. Steel coils increase the durability of the mattress, and a reinforced perimeter prevents sagging along the edges. The Saatva Classic mattress is available in three firmness options for a customized feel: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm. There are also two heights to choose from: 11.5-inches or 14.5-inches.
Saatva includes free white glove delivery and a 120-night sleep trial. If you decide to return the mattress, there is a $99 transportation fee. The mattress is covered by a 15-year warranty.
Why We Like it
- Targeted support keeps the spine aligned
- Ergonomic design relieves aches and pains
- 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty
The ergonomic design of the Casper Wave mattress relieves back pain with targeted support areas. Multiple layers of foam conform to the shape of your body and keep pressure off the spine, which can help alleviate sciatica pain.
The humidity fighting wool cover wicks away heat and moisture, and comfort layers of Comfort Flo foam and breathable latex foam are aerated for additional airflow. A transition layer of memory foam relieves pressure points and absorbs weight. Beneath that, a layer of high resiliency foam actively supports the body, while durable support foam offers additional contouring and support. The all-foam construction isolates motion and is silent when bearing weight. This prevents disturbing your partner if you toss and turn throughout the night, or if you get up often.
Overall, the Casper Wave mattress is medium firm, with zoned areas for a softer feel under the shoulders and legs and firmer support under the hips to keep the spine aligned. The gel pods in the layer of high resiliency foam increase in firmness towards the center of the mattress. This helps maintain your body’s natural shape and cradles areas that are affected by sciatica pain.
A 100-night sleep trial gives you a chance to try out the Casper Wave mattress. The mattress is also backed by a 10-year limited warranty, which covers defects in workmanship and materials.
Best Mattress for Sciatica Buying Guide
There are many factors to consider when buying a mattress, especially if you are suffering from sciatica. The chronic pain and inflammation associated with sciatica require special attention, and certain mattresses will be better than others at relieving nerve pain and pressure. We’ll discuss how sciatica affects sleep, and what to look for when shopping for the best mattress for sciatica.
How Does Sciatica Affect Sleep?
Sciatica is usually caused by a herniated disc or a bone spur on the spine that compresses the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve can also be damaged by diseases including diabetes, or compressed by a tumor, though these instances are rare. There are additional risk factors for sciatica, including spine changes that occur with age, obesity, and physically strenuous occupations.
The sciatic nerve runs through the lower back, hips, and legs. Pain that radiates along the nerve makes it difficult for people with sciatica to get comfortable, especially at night. Symptoms also include tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. Sciatica pain can be described as aching or sharp, and may affect one or both legs. Since severe sciatica can affect bladder control, some people may have to get up frequently throughout the night to use the bathroom. These symptoms make it hard to fall asleep and can cause disturbances throughout the night. It can also be difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position that relieves pain and pressure. Not getting enough sleep each night can make sciatica pain feel worse.
There are treatment options available for sciatica, which range from over the counter medications to surgery, depending on the severity of the pain. It is important to consult with your doctor to determine the best course of action. Common medications used to treat sciatica pain include anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxers, narcotics, anti-seizure medications, and antidepressants. Steroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation. Physical therapy rehabilitates joints, strengthens muscles, and can be used to correct posture. For severe sciatica pain, surgery to remove a bone spur or part of a herniated disc may be an option. Finding the right treatment plan can relieve pain and inflammation, making it easier to sleep.
What Type of Mattress Is Best for People with Sciatica?
The best mattress for sciatica will fully support the body and alleviate unnecessary pressure on the back and spine. Memory foam and latex contour to the shape of the body and cushion pressure points. This helps keep the spine aligned.
Sciatica can cause restlessness. For people who frequently change sleeping positions to get comfortable, and for those who get up throughout the night, motion isolation is an ideal quality in a mattress. This prevents movement from rippling across the mattress and disturbing your partner if you share the bed.
While support is a vital component of a mattress, comfort should also be a priority for people with sciatica. Temperature regulation in a mattress prevents overheating, and breathable materials wick away moisture and heat. Everyone has unique needs when it comes to mattress shopping. Additionally, each type of mattress has benefits and drawbacks that should be considered.
Average Price:Memory foam mattresses can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more. Luxury models are more expensive, with a price range of $2,000 to $4,000.
Pros for People With Sciatica:
- The conforming nature of memory foam cushions pressure points and can alleviate minor sciatica pain.
- The way memory foam responds to pressure helps keep the spine aligned.
- Memory foam isolates movements, which prevents sleep disturbances. It is also silent when bearing weight.
- Memory foam responds to heat and pressure in order to conform closely. This can prevent airflow around the body and result in a feeling of sleeping hot.
- Memory foam mattresses tend to lack edge support, which makes it difficult to get out of bed, especially if you have back pain.
Average Price:Latex mattresses can be expensive. Natural latex mattresses typically cost $1,500 to $2,000. Synthetic latex mattresses are generally closer to $1,000.
Pros for People With Sciatica:
- Latex contours gently to the shape of the body, which relieves pressure points. This can alleviate lower back and hip pain caused by sciatica.
- Latex is more breathable than memory foam. As a result, latex mattresses tend to have better temperature regulation.
- Latex is responsive and supportive, which promotes spinal alignment without the feeling of sinking into the mattress or feeling trapped.
- Latex mattresses are heavy and difficult to move, especially if you have back pain.
- Latex mattresses can be expensive.
Average Price:Innerspring mattresses are widely available and affordable. On average, a queen size mattress will cost between $500 and $1,000. The price depends on coil construction and comfort layers.
Pros for People With Sciatica:
- Innerspring coils help facilitate movement, making it easier to change positions as needed.
- Innerspring mattresses usually have reinforced perimeters, which makes it easier to get out of bed.
- Coils add airflow to the mattress, so innerspring mattresses typically have better temperature regulation.
Cons for People With Sciatica:
- Innerspring mattresses do not conform closely to the shape of the body, and may not provide adequate pressure point relief for people with sciatica.
- A lack of motion isolation can cause sleep disturbances if you share the bed. Innerspring mattresses are also more likely to make noise when you change position or get in and out of the bed.
Average Price:A hybrid mattress tends to cost between $1,000 and $1,500 on average. Luxury models can cost between $2,000 to $4,000. The price is determined by the materials and coil construction.
Pros for People With Sciatica:
- Hybrid mattresses are more conforming than innerspring mattresses, and offer better pressure point relief for the lower back pain associated with sciatica.
- The coil support base of a hybrid mattress usually has a reinforced perimeter. This makes it easier to get out of bed, especially if you have back pain.
Cons for People With Sciatica:
- Hybrid mattresses are difficult to move due to their weight.
- The level of contouring and pressure point relief depends on the comfort layers, and can vary between models. A hybrid mattress may not conform as closely as an all-foam or latex mattress.
Important Factors to Consider When Buying a Mattress
Shopping for a mattress can feel overwhelming; there are so many options to choose from and factors to consider. For people with sciatica, it is essential that the mattress provides ample support and comfort. Sciatica causes lower back pain that extends through the hip and legs, and can affect the spine. Those with sciatica will need a mattress that keeps the spine aligned and cushions pressure points. This can relieve minor aches and pains, making it easier to sleep through the night. Severe sciatica may affect the bladder, so people who find themselves getting up throughout the night to use the bathroom may benefit from a mattress with motion isolation. This can prevent movements from transferring across the bed and disturbing a partner. It also helps if you are prone to changing positions throughout the night. Everyone is different and will have unique needs for their mattress. The following factors should be considered when mattress shopping.
- Support: Support indicates how well the mattress keeps the spine and hips aligned. The mattress should have consistent support, without any sagging or indentations. Support is especially important for people with sciatica, as it reduces back pain and relieves pressure. The right firmness for your body type and sleeping position will also keep the spine aligned.
- Contouring: How well a mattress conforms to the shape of your body determines the level of comfort and support it provides. A mattress with contouring aids in spinal alignment by sinking more underneath pressure points. This customizes the feel of the mattress. Memory foam and latex conform closely, and hybrid mattresses typically use these materials in their comfort layers. Innerspring mattresses do not conform as well.
- Firmness: Deciding between a firm or soft mattress for sciatica will depend on your weight and sleeping position. Firmness is a subjective measurement that indicates how soft or firm the mattress feels. It is typically measured on a scale of 1 to 10, soft to firm. Many mattresses fall in the middle of this scale. Side sleepers and lightweight people tend to prefer soft mattresses. Back sleepers and average weight people benefit from medium mattresses, while stomach sleepers and heavy people may need a firm mattress for added support.
- Motion Isolation: If sciatica pain causes you to toss and turn throughout the night, motion isolation will be an important factor. This prevents movements from rippling across the bed and disturbing a partner. It is also helpful for people who get up frequently throughout the night. Memory foam isolates motion extremely well.
- Temperature Regulation: Temperature regulation prevents overheating throughout the night. Breathable materials draw heat and moisture away from the body for a comfortable sleep. This makes the mattress more comfortable for people with sciatica who tend to sleep hot. Latex tends to be breathable. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses have added airflow due to the coil support base. Memory foam has a tendency to retain heat, though there are types that are infused with gel, graphite, or copper to offset this.
- Edge Support: Edge support indicates the amount of support around the perimeter of the bed. It increases the sleepable surface area of the bed by ensuring the edge is as supportive as the center. This prevents sagging over time, especially for people who sleep or sit on the edge of the bed. For people with back pain, edge support can make it easier to get out of bed, as there is no sinking in at the edges. Hybrid and innerspring mattresses typically have reinforced perimeters, while memory foam mattresses are more likely to sink or sag at the edges.
- Noise: A mattress that makes noise whenever you change positions throughout the night will cause sleep disturbances. For people with sciatica who change positions to get comfortable, this can be a nuisance. Innerspring mattresses are most likely to make noise when bearing weight, while memory foam and latex mattresses are usually silent.
- Price: A new mattress is an investment, and prices vary between $500 and $5,000. Certain companies take measures to cut costs by selling exclusively online, and some offer promotions and discounts to offset costs for the customer. High-quality mattresses with durable construction and materials should last 6 to 8 years, if not longer. A generous warranty can add value to the investment.
Sleep Help and Tips for Sciatica
Mild sciatica may resolve itself over time, and sleep is crucial for pain management and recovery. Finding the best mattress for back pain can help people with sciatica sleep comfortably. In addition to finding the right mattress, the following tips can improve sleep quality and alleviate mild symptoms.
- Have a consistent bedtime routine: Going to bed and waking up around the same time each day will help your body develop a natural sleep-wake cycle. This makes it easier to fall asleep each night. Avoid electronics in the hour or two before bedtime, as the blue light emitted can interrupt melatonin production and make it difficult to fall asleep. Wind down with a warm bath or heat wrap to easy muscle tension.
- Sleep with your knees elevated: Elevating your knees takes pressure off of your lower back. This reduces nerve pain. When sleeping on your back, you can elevate your knees with one or two pillows. If you sleep on your side, you can prop your top knee up with a pillow to keep your hips aligned. Finding a comfortable sleeping position should help you sleep. An adjustable bed is another option, as you can easily adjust the lower half of the bed and elevate your legs.
- Schedule regular massages: Regular massages can ease muscle tension and take pressure off the lower back. Deep tissue massage has been shown to relieve lower back pain, which is a common symptom of sciatica. Soft tissue massage helps the body release endorphins, which can help with pain management. While regular massages will not cure sciatica, they can reduce the pain and inflammation it causes. They also promote relaxation, which can help you fall asleep.
- Exercise: Regular exercise strengthens the body and improves sleep quality. Low impact exercise like walking, water aerobics, and gentle stretching are ideal. Engaging your core muscles should improve your posture and help keep your spine aligned.
- Consult with a medical professional: To determine the best course of action, be sure to consult with a medical professional. Prescription medications can ease pain and inflammation, and may be used to help you sleep better. A doctor can also recommend the best exercises and treatment options for your sciatica.
Please remember that while our guide is thorough and well-researched, it is not a replacement for medical advice. Always consult your doctor or qualified physician with any questions or concerns you have regarding medical conditions, treatments, and advice.
Additional Sleep Accessories for People With Sciatica
For people with sciatica, a mattress is likely the most important purchase they can make for restful sleep and pain relief. Support and comfort are essential for quality sleep. The following accessories can provide additional support and further customize the bed for nerve pain relief and symptom management.
Though sciatica affects the lower half of the body, properly supporting the head and neck is crucial for full-body support. Pillows can be used to keep the neck, spine, and hips aligned. Your sleeping position will determine how much loft your pillow should have. Side sleepers benefit from a higher loft. The pillow should be thick enough to fill the gap between the neck and shoulders, keeping the head elevated and spine aligned. Back and stomach sleepers typically need a lower loft pillow. Pillows can also be tucked under the knees to keep them elevated and take pressure off the spine.
A body pillow is longer than a traditional pillow, and is ideal for propping up the legs. Some body pillows are long and adjustable, while others are U-shaped for full body support. They can be used to support the back, hips, and legs, all of which may be affected by sciatica pain. The unique shape offers more versatility and coverage than a standard pillow.
A mattress topper is a thick comfort layer that sits on top of your current mattress. This is a great option for people who do not want to buy a new mattress, but would like to change the overall feel of their current mattress. A mattress topper is less expensive than a new mattress, though it should be noted that it will not change a mattress that is sagging or unsupportive.
Mattress toppers can be made with latex, memory foam, down, or down alternatives. They are typically 1 to 3 inches thick, and people with sciatica may benefit from thicker mattress toppers. Memory foam and latex mattress toppers conform to the shape of the body and relieve pressure points. This helps to keep the spine aligned. These materials can also improve motion isolation, which prevents sleep disturbances throughout the night. Latex and wool mattress toppers help with temperature regulation. A mattress topper can make a mattress firmer or softer. Before shopping for a mattress topper, consider the elements of your mattress that you want to change or enhance.