Best Mattresses for People with Arthritis

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Arthritis is a painful medication characterized by inflammation in at least one bodily joint. People with arthritis experience severe joint pain and stiffness, and the condition is likely to worsen as the patient ages. The medical community today identifies more than 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common types of arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritis (also known as degenerative arthritis), which causes bone cartilage to deteriorate
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, which affects the joint lining material known as synovium
  • Infectious (or septic) arthritis, which is caused by a bacterial infection and usually affects larger joints
  • Psoriatic arthritis, joint inflammation brought on by the skin disease psoriasis
  • Gout, joint inflammation that usually affects the knees, ankles, and feet

Mattress selection is important for people with arthritis, particularly those who experience severe pain and stiffness issues. The right mattress can alleviate aches and pains throughout the sleeper’s body, allowing them to rest throughout the night and feel refreshed in the morning. Choosing the wrong mattress, on the other hand, can have the opposite effect: increased pain and pressure that significantly affects sleep performance.

This guide will look at some important mattress shopping considerations for people with arthritis, as well as our top picks for mattress models for arthritis patients. First, let’s look at the causes, symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and treatment options for different types of arthritis.

 

What Is Arthritis?

‘Arthritis’ is a blanket term for the more than 100 conditions related to join inflammation and chronic pain. Depending on the type of arthritis, the condition may be caused by a physical injury, bacterial infection, or another underlying disease or condition. The cause is unknown for certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis. According to the Mayo Clinic, risk factors for arthritis include:

  • Genetic history: Some — but not all — forms of arthritis run in families. Nevertheless, individuals are considered at greater risk of developing arthritis is a parent or sibling also has the condition. Genetics may also predispose people to physical problems that can trigger arthritis.
  • Age: Elderly people are considered at greatest risk of severe arthritis, since most forms of the condition are degenerative and will worsen over time. Young children are at-risk for developing certain types of arthritis as well, including infectious arthritis.
  • Sex: Women are much more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than men, while males are at a higher risk of developing other types of arthritis, such as gout.
  • Injury: People who injure a joint are much likelier to develop arthritis in that joint, as well as neighboring joints.
  • Weight: Obese people are considered at greater risk of developing arthritis due to the added stress of extra weight on the knees, hips, and spine.

Because there are so many different types of arthritis, it’s important to note differences in causes, symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and other factors. The table below provides detailed information about five of the most commonly diagnosed forms of arthritis.

Type of ArthritisOsteoarthritisRheumatoid ArthritisInfectious ArthritisPsoriatic ArthritisGout
OverviewInflammation of the joints and deterioration of bone cartilage, but minimal risk of affecting organ systemsInflammation of joints on both sides of the body and deterioration of joint lining (synovium)Inflammation of joints brought on by a bacterial infectionJoint inflammation that occurs in people with psoriasis, a skin disease characterized by red, scaly rashes throughout the bodySevere joint pain usually concentrated in the knees, ankles, and toes
Risk FactorsOld age Obesity
Physical trauma
Joint abnormalities

 

Females who have never been pregnant
Old age
Young or old age
Open wounds
History of intravenous drug use
Psoriasis diagnosis (10% to 30% of patients)
Age (30 to 50)
Physical injury
Smoking and/or alcohol use
High blood pressure
Obesity
Diabetes
CausesPrimary osteoarthritis is usually caused by aging
Secondary osteoarthritis may be caused by other diseases or conditions (such as obesity or diabetes)
Causes unknownBacterial infection from medical procedure
Staphylococcus
Streptococcus
Hepatitis, HIV, herpes, mumps, and other preexisting conditions
Occurs in people with psoriasis when their immune system misidentifies and attacks healthy joints and tissueUric acid buildup in the bloodstream
SymptomsChronic pain
Swollen, warm, or creaking joints
Pain and stiffness after periods of inactivity

 

Joint pain and swelling
Severe stiffness after periods of inactivity (such as sleep)
Fatigue
Loss of appetite
Symmetrical joint pain (both sides of body affected equally)
Chills
Fatigue
Fever
Limited range of motion in affected joint areas
Swollen and/or warm joints
Warmth and redness at affected joints in both sides of body (polyarticular) or one side of body (oligoarticular)
Light sensitivity
Shortness of breath
Depressions (‘pits’) in fingernails and toenails
Severe joint pain in the early morning or late night
Redness or tenderness at swelling
Most Commonly Affected JointsKnees
Spine/lower back
Weight-bearing joints (i.e., hips and knees)
Both hands
Both wrists
Both knees
Both ankles
Weight-bearing joints (i.e. knees or hips)Hands
Wrists
Elbows
Shoulders
Knees
Ankles
Feet
Spine
Knees
Ankles
Toes
Elbows
Fingers
ComplicationsEnlarged or malformed fingers and toes

 

Complete deterioration of bones and cartilagePermanent joint impairment
Death
Permanent joint damage
Chronic fatigue

 

Painful and damaged joints
Longer flare-up episodes
Pain in other areas
Lumps beneath the skin
Kidney failure
Diagnosis ProceduresArthrocentesis procedure: fluid is drawn from the affected joint using a surgical needle
Blood tests
X-ray
No specific test
Physical exam
Blood tests
Imaging tests
No specific test
Arthrocentesis procedure: fluid is drawn from the affected joint using a surgical needle
X-ray
Ultrasound
Blood test
Physical exam
Blood tests
Imaging tests
No specific test
Joint fluid test
Blood test
X-ray
Ultrasound
Number of Patients (U.S.)27 million3 million16,0004 million8 million
Treatment OptionsOTC and prescription medication
Exercise
Weight loss
Dietary improvements
OTC and prescription medication
Exercise
Weight loss
Corrective surgery
Antibiotics and fluid drainage (arthroscopy)OTC and prescription medication
Dietary improvements
Corrective surgery
OTC and prescription medication
Dietary improvements
 

How Does Arthritis Affect Sleep?

There is a strong link between chronic joint pain and non-restorative sleep. People who have a hard time falling or staying asleep due to aches and pains may experience fatigue, trouble focusing, and mood swings during the day. They generally require a mattress that provides a flat, even surface and close conforming to alleviate pain and pressure in their sensitive areas.

People with certain types of arthritis, such as infectious arthritis, may also experience symptoms that make it harder to fall asleep. These include sensitivity to temperature, motion transfer, and noise.

 

Mattress Considerations for People with Arthritis

When shopping for a new mattress and comparing different brands and models, people with arthritis should take the following factors into account:

  • Support: Mattress ‘support’ refers to how well the bed maintains a flat, level surface beneath the sleeper’s body. Ideally a mattress should be able to provide sufficient support for people of different weights and body types, but some models sag beneath heavier areas of the body. Excessive firmness or softness can make mattresses feel less supportive,
  • Conforming ability: ‘Conforming’ refers to the way some mattresses will mold to contours of a sleeper’s body. Closely conforming mattresses can help align the spine and alleviate pain and pressure in sensitive areas. However, some mattresses do not conform as closely to some areas as others, and this can lead to a lack of support and increased pain and pressure throughout the body.
  • Firmness: ‘Firmness’ refers to how soft or firm the mattress feels to different sleepers. Some mattress models are available in multiple firmness options, while others are designed for one firmness only. The three general categories for mattress firmness are:
    • Soft (1-3): Most sleepers sink deeply into the mattress. This is usually the most comfortable firmness option for people who weigh less than 130 pounds. People who weigh more than 130 pounds may experience excessive sinking, which can reduce mattress support and lead to more aches and pains.
    • Medium (4-6): Some sleepers sink deeply into the mattress. This option provides sufficient support for most weight groups, but those who weigh more than 230 pounds may still sink too deeply and experience more pressure and pain.
    • Firm (7-9): Few sleepers sink deeply into the mattress. This is typically the best option for people who weigh more than 230 pounds. Those who weigh less than 130 pounds may not weigh enough to experience any conforming, and this can lead to more pain and pressure.
  • Durability: The average mattress (regardless of construction type) will perform for at least six years, and some perform for up to eight or nine before they should be replaced. However, some mattresses are susceptible to sagging and indentations after a few years; this can increase pain and pressure for sleepers.
  • Motion isolation: People with arthritis often experience chronic joint pain that makes them more sensitive to motion in bed. Some mattresses are designed to absorb and isolate motion to certain areas of the sleep surface. Other, more responsive mattress types offer little to no motion isolation.
  • Noise: In addition to motion, people with severe arthritis may be sensitive to noise when trying to fall asleep. Some mattresses produce little to no noise when bearing weight, but others feature coils, electrical components, and other parts that can creak, squeak, or rattle.
  • Temperature neutrality: Some types of arthritis (namely infectious arthritis) can make people sensitive to heat or cold. Mattresses that are temperature-neutral will not sleep excessively warm or cool, and may be beneficial to individuals who tend to sleep hot or cold. Other mattresses are associated with sleeping hot and/or cold, and may not be the best option for people who are temperature-sensitive.
  • Ease of movement: Chronic pain can cause people to roll over in their sleep and shift positions throughout the night. Mattresses that offer little resistance tend to be the most comfortable option, while those that cause deep sinking can make it harder to move in bed.
  • Sleep trial: Most mattress brands and retailers offer ‘sleep trials’ for new mattresses that allow customers to test out their mattress for a pre-agreed length of time, anywhere from 30 to 365 consecutive nights (depending on the seller). If the customer is not satisfied with the mattress before the sleep trial ends, he or she will be able to return or exchange their mattress for a full or partial refund. Sleep trials can be quite advantageous for people with arthritis who are not sure which mattress brand/model is best for them.
  • Warranty and indentation depth: Excessive sagging or indentations in the sleep surface will qualify as a mattress defect under most manufacturer’s warranties. The vast majority of today’s mattress warranties include a specific measurement that is used to determine whether sagging or indentations represent a defect or standard wear and tear. Sagging and indentations that measure more than an inch deep are associated with significantly more pain and pressure than those that measure one inch or less. For this reason, people with arthritis should review the mattress warranty to ensure they will be able to have their mattress repaired or replaced if sagging and indentations become deeper than one inch.
 

What Mattress Types Are Best/Worst for People with Arthritis?

Some mattress types are more suitable than others for sleepers with arthritis. The next table lists construction details, Tuck performance ratings, and more information about the five most common mattress types that may be relevant for individuals with arthritis.

Mattress TypeInnerspringFoamLatexHybridAirbed
ConstructionFoam comfort layer(s)
Steel coils and high-density foam in the support core
Polyfoam and/or memory foam comfort layer(s) High-density polyfoam layer(s) in the support coreLatex comfort layer(s)
Latex or high-density polyfoam layer(s) in the support core
At least 2″ of memory foam or latex in the comfort layer, as well as other components (such as polyfoam or minicoils)
Pocketed coils in the support core
Foam comfort layers or no comfort layer
Adjustable air chambers in the support core
SupportFair to GoodFair to GoodGood to Very GoodGood to Very GoodGood to Very Good
ConformingPoor to FairGood to Very GoodFair to GoodFair to GoodFair to Good
Firmness OptionsFair to GoodGood to Very GoodGood to Very GoodGood to Very GoodGood to Very Good
DurabilityPoor to FairFair to GoodGood to Very GoodFair to GoodPoor to Fair
Light Sleeper Rating (Less than 130 lbs)Fair to GoodFair to GoodGood to Very GoodPoor to FairFair to Good
Heavy Sleeper Rating (More than 230 lbs)Poor to FairGood to Very GoodGood to Very GoodGood to Very GoodPoor to Fair
Motion IsolationPoor to FairGood to Very GoodGood to Very GoodFair to GoodFair to Good
NoisePoor to FairGood to Very GoodGood to Very GoodFair to GoodPoor to Fair
Temperature NeutralityGood to Very GoodPoor to FairFair to GoodGood to Very GoodFair to Good
Ease of MovementGood to Very GoodPoor to FairFair to GoodFair to GoodGood to Very Good
Rating for Sleepers with Arthritis Poor to FairGood to Very GoodGood to Very GoodFair to GoodFair to Good
ExplanationMinimal support and little to no conforming
Limited firmness options
Fair durability and sagging potential
Sleeps cool
Below-average motion isolation and noise potential
Easy to move on and off
Close conforming and good pressure relief
Multiple firmness options
Average durability with some sagging potential
Sleeps hot
Good motion isolation and little to no noise
Difficult to move on and off
Exceptional support and good pressure relief
Multiple firmness options
Exceptional durability with little to no sagging
Above-average motion isolation and very little noise
Sleeps fairly cool
May be difficult to move on and off
Better conforming and pressure relief than innersprings
Multiple firmness options
Good durability
Below-average motion isolation and strong noise potential
Sleep fairly cool
Easy to move on and off
Customizable firmness settings, but some are excessively firm
May not be suitable for certain weight groups
Above-average durability
Average temperature neutrality
High noise potential
May sleep too cool or too warm
Easy to move on and off
 

Best Mattresses for People with Arthritis: Models and Brands

Below we have listed our top mattress picks for sleepers with arthritis. Authentic customer experiences are used to generate all customer satisfaction ratings. For more information about these brands and models, please visit the individual review pages by clicking the links at the top of the table.

Mattress BrandAmeriSleepLeesaSpindleTuft & NeedleZenhaven
Mattress ModelAS3 (Liberty)Leesa Foam MattressNatural Latex MattressTuft & Needle MattressZenhaven Mattress
Mattress TypeMemory FoamMixed foamLatexFoamReversible latex
Comfort Layer3″ Memory foam2″ Avena foam
2″ Memory foam
3 3″ Latex layers
Layer firmness varies by selected firmness level
No traditional support core
3″ Polyfoam1 1/2″ Latex
Mattress is flippable with two comfort layers of differing thickness
Support Core9″ Polyfoam6″ Polyfoam7″ Polyfoam6″ Latex
Both sides share one support core
Firmness OptionsMedium FirmMedium FirmMedium Soft
Medium
Medium Firm
Firm
Medium FirmSide 1: Medium Soft
Side 2: Medium Firm
Support RatingVery GoodVery GoodGoodVery GoodGood
Conforming RatingVery GoodVery GoodVery GoodGoodGood
Durability RatingFair to GoodGoodVery GoodGoodVery Good
Motion Isolation RatingFair to GoodVery GoodVery GoodExcellentVery Good
Noise RatingExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
Sleep Trial100 nights100 nights365-night comfort adjustment (replace one latex layer)
25-year comfort life (replace unlimited latex layers)
100 nights120 nights
Warranty Indentation Depth3/4″1″3/4″3/4″3/4″
Price (Queen)$1,199.00$940.00$1,349.99$575.00$1,899.00
Customer Satisfaction Rating81% (531 customer reviews)76% (74 customer reviews)75% (98 customer reviews)80% (84 customer reviews)80% (924 customer reviews)
 

Additional Sleep Strategies for People with Arthritis

In addition to carefully researching and comparing different mattress models in order to find the best option, people with arthritis can further improve their sleep quality by choosing the right pillows and utilizing a mattress topper.

Pillows: Pillows vary in terms of thickness, or ‘loft,’ and selecting a pillow based on loft can make a significant difference for sleepers with arthritis. The right loft will help alleviate aches and pains in sensitive areas of the body, including the neck, shoulders, and head, while pillows that are too thick or too thin can have the opposite effect. Pillows that are most popular with people who have arthritis include buckwheat, latex, and memory foam models. Other pillows types, such as down alternative and polyfoam, may not be as suitable because they provide below-average support, do not conform as closely, and may sleep excessively hot. For more information about choosing the right pillows, visit our Best Pillows: Buying Guide and Information page.

Mattress Topper Usage: A mattress topper is an extra layer of cushioning that is placed on top of a mattress. Most toppers are designed to make the mattress feel less firm, though there are models that increase firmness of excessively soft mattresses. Toppers can improve support, as well. For people with arthritis, a topper that measures at least three inches (3″) thick is recommended.

Toppers made of latex or memory foam conform closely to the sleeper’s body for improved spinal alignment and targeted pain and pressure relief. These models are generally most suitable for people with arthritis. Other topper types, such as convoluted polyfoam, do not provide the same levels of comfort and pressure relief. To learn more, please check out our Best Mattress Toppers guide.

   
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