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According to the CDC, roughly 7% of Americans experience chronic hip pain. This figure amounts to roughly 22.6 million men and women. The problem is largely linked to older populations. The CDC estimates that more than 300,000 adults 65 and older are hospitalized for hip fractures each year, and 95% of these cases are attributed to severe falls. Hip pain — like most types of chronic pain — has been linked to sleep disruption, which can lead to other problems like daytime fatigue, the inability to focus or concentrate, and a higher risk of being involved in an accident.
Mattress selection is crucial for individuals that live with hip pain. In addition to choosing the right type of mattress, shoppers should also look at factors like supportiveness, conforming ability, and firmness. This guide will explore the causes of hip pain and how it affects sleep, as well as some important considerations for mattress shoppers and our top picks for mattresses that help minimize hip pain.
According to the Mayo Clinic, many different diseases, conditions, and injuries can lead to hip pain. Issues that involve the hip tend to cause pain in the inner hip or groin areas, while hip pain on the outer hip, buttock, or upper thigh is often attributed to problems with muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other ‘soft tissue’ areas.
Causes of hip pain (as listed by the Mayo Clinic) include the following:
Sleep position is important for individuals that experience the conditions described above, or other conditions that cause hip pain. Choosing the best position can alleviate pain and pressure symptoms, while choosing the wrong position will merely exacerbate these conditions.
It’s important to note that sleeping on one’s side can lead to more hip pain. This position — unlike back-sleeping — can lead to poor spinal alignment, leaving individuals vulnerable to pain and pressure in their hips and other sensitive areas (such as the neck, shoulders, and lower back). Mattress firmness is crucial for side-sleepers. Those who have below-average weights (less than 130 pounds) typically require a softer mattress that allows their bodies to sink deeply and their spines to align. For side-sleepers with above-average weights (more than 230 pounds), firmer sleep surfaces may be needed for proper spinal alignment; otherwise these individuals will sink too deeply.
Stomach-sleeping can also exacerbate hip pain. Because many people carry a significant amount of weight in their stomach, sleeping on one’s stomach can cause the body to sink too deeply at the midsection, and not enough at the head, chest, and legs. Stomach-sleepers with below-average weights often experience pain and pressure no matter how soft or firm their mattress is, while those who weigh 130 pounds or more are typically most comfortable on a firmer sleep surface.
The bottom line: sleeper weight, sleep position, and mattress firmness all play an important role in reducing hip pain. Customers are strongly encouraged to test out different sleep surfaces in order to determine which one will work best for them.
Sleepers that experience regular hip pain should consider the following factors when choosing a new mattress.
Support: The term support refers to how effectively a mattress maintains a flat, level sleep surface, and is directly tied to spinal alignment. Support requires a balance of softness and firmness; mattresses that are either too soft or too firm are considered the least supportive.
Additionally, mattress sagging — or sinkage in the midsection — can affect how supportive a mattress feels. As a result, mattresses that are prone to sagging may not offer adequate support. Sagging that measures as little as half an inch deep can have a significantly negative effect on sleepers with hip pain.
Conforming: Some mattresses conform closely to the sleeper’s body, creating a cradle-shaped impression around their figure that helps align the spine and target pressure points. Mattresses that conform well provide equal support to all areas of the body. Other mattresses provide little to no conforming, or provide more support to some areas of the body than others. These mattresses can increase the amount of pain and pressure the sleeper experiences.
Side-sleepers are particularly sensitive to the conforming ability of a mattress, as beds that do not conform may create pressure in the hips and other sensitive areas.
Firmness: Firmness refers to how the mattress feels to different sleepers. Generally speaking, people with below-average weights tend to feel the most comfortable on softer mattresses and people with above-average weights tend to feel more comfortable on firmer mattresses. Most sleepers consider ‘Medium Firm’ to be the ideal firmness setting.
Many mattress manufacturers offer models that are available in multiple firmness settings to accommodate sleepers with different preferences. These brands are typically more suitable than those that sell beds with single firmness ratings.
Durability: Mattress durability, also known as its ‘lifespan,’ refers to the length of time a mattress will perform and provide a comfortable, supportive sleep environment. Mattresses with shorter lifespans may degrade in as little as two to three years, and begin to sag in the midsection; this can lead to more pain and pressure in the hips and other sensitive areas. Mattresses with longer lifespans, on the other hand, may be supportive and comfortable enough for sleepers with hip pain for twice as long, if not more.
Mattress Type: Some mattresses are designed to aid sleepers with hip pain more than others. The table below looks at the five most common mattress types in terms of how suitable they are for people with hip pain.
|Construction||Foam-based comfort layers|
Steel coils in the support core
|Polyfoam or memory foam layers in the comfort layer|
Polyfoam layer(s) in the support core
|Latex layer(s) in the comfort layer|
Latex or polyfoam layers 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|
Individualized adjustable air chambers in the support core
|Support||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good|
|Conforming||Poor to Fair||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||Fair to Good|
|Firmness Options||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good|
|Durability||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Poor to Fair|
|Light Sleeper Rating (Less than 130 lbs)||Fair to Good||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Poor to Fair||Fair to Good|
|Heavy Sleeper Rating (More than 230 lbs)||Poor to Fair||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Poor to Fair|
|Rating for Sleepers with Hip Pain||Poor to Fair||Good to Very Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Fair to Good|
|Explanation||Most innersprings begin sagging within two to three years, and they offer minimal support for the waist and hips. They also may not offer enough support for side-sleepers, and limited firmness options are available for most models.||Memory foam mattresses offer above-average conforming and durability. Many models are available in multiple firmness settings.||Latex is highly durable and will not sag easily, and latex mattresses also offer enhanced pressure relief and support. A wide range of firmness settings are available.||Hybrids are more durable and conform closer than innersprings, but they are not particularly durable and are prone to sagging. Because they feature memory foam and/or latex in the comfort layer, there are multiple firmness options available.||Airbeds offer customizable firmness settings, making them suitable for a wider range of sleepers, but they may not be supportive enough for heavier individuals. Some airbed models do not have a comfort layer, which can create an excessively firm surface.|
When comparing different mattresses, the sleep trial and warranty coverage may play a crucial role.
Sleep Trial: Most mattress brands offer sleep trials, during which customers can test out a new mattress in their home for a predetermined amount of time (typically 90 to 120 nights). If the customer is not satisfied with the mattress before the trial ends, they have the option or returning their mattress for a full or partial refund, or exchanging it for a model with a different size or firmness rating (options vary by brand).
Because most mattresses require at least 30 nights to be properly broken in, sleep trials can be an ideal way for shoppers with hip pain to compare different brands and models. Additionally, some brands will coordinate mattress returns on the customer’s behalf and will waive shipping and handling costs.
Warranty Sagging Depth and Coverage: The majority of mattress warranties include specific verbiage outlining ‘sagging depth,’ or how deep sagging must be to qualify as a defect. The best mattress warranties will cover sagging that measures one inch or less, since sagging that measures deeper has a much greater impact on pain and pressure. However, some mattress warranties will not cover sagging that measures less than one and a half inches.
Not all warranties offer the same amount of coverage. Some warranties are entirely nonprorated, which means that customers will not have to pay extra costs (beyond shipping and handling charges) to have a defective mattress repaired or replaced. Other warranties are nonprorated and prorated, which means that owners must pay a percentage of the original mattress price in order to have it repaired or replaced. Prorated charges tend to increase for each year of ownership, meaning that the owner could spend a significant amount of money to have their defective mattress repaired or replaced.
It’s worth noting that most mattresses will perform for a maximum of seven to eight years, so 10 years of nonprorated warranty coverage will usually be more than sufficient.
The table below lists our five highest-rated mattresses for sleepers with hip pain. These models offer enhanced support and conforming, above-average durability, generous sleep trials, and other qualities that may make them beneficial for individuals with hip pain. All customer satisfaction ratings are generated from authentic reviews and experiences.
|Mattress Brand||AmeriSleep||Bed in a Box||Helix||Spindle||Zenhaven|
|Model||AS3 (Liberty)||Serenity||Helix Mattress||Natural Latex Mattress||Zenhaven Mattress|
|Comfort Layer||3″ Memory foam||3″ Gel memory foam||2″ Polyfoam||3 3″ Latex|
Firmness of each layer varies by selected firmness level
|1 1/2″ Latex|
Mattress is flippable with two comfort layers of differing thickness
|Support Core||9″ Polyfoam||8″ Polyfoam||2 1/2″ Pocketed Minicoils|
6 1/2″ Polyfoam
Shared support core
|Firmness Options||Medium||Medium Soft||Soft|
|Side 1: Medium Soft|
Side 2: Medium Firm
|Support Rating||Good||Good||Very Good||Good||Good|
|Conforming Rating||Very Good||Very Good||Very Good||Very Good||Good|
|Durability||Fair to Good||Good to Very Good||Fair to Good||Very Good||Very Good|
|Sleep Trial||100 nights||120 nights||100 nights||365-night comfort adjustment (replace one latex layer)|
25-year comfort life (replace unlimited latex layers)
|Warranty Sagging Depth||3/4″||1 1/4″||1″||3/4″||3/4″|
|Warranty Length||20 years|
|10 years nonprorated||10 years nonprorated||20 years|
|Customer Satisfaction Rating||81% (531 customer reviews)||85% (127 customer reviews)||71% (226 customer reviews)||75% (98 customer reviews)||80% (924 customer reviews)|
In addition to choosing the right mattress, sleepers with hip pain can further improve their sleep surface with the following methods:
Pillow Selection: Although most people sleep with pillows under their heads, using the right — or wrong — pillow can cause poor spinal alignment that leads to pain and pressure in the hips and other areas of the body. Pillow thickness, also known as loft, is an important factor. To determine the proper pillow loft, sleepers should take their bodyweight, sleep position, and mattress firmness into account.
Pillows that have earned positive ratings for pressure relief include buckwheat, latex, and memory foam models, while other pillow types — such as down alternative and polyfoam — are associated with increased pain and pressure. For more information, please visit our Best Pillows: Buying Guide and Information page.
Mattress Topper Usage: A topper refers to an individual layer of cushioning that can be added to the top of a mattress for extra softness, comfort, and support. Most toppers are used to make a mattress less firm, but select models can increase the firmness as well.
Latex and memory foam toppers are considered the best options for sleepers who require pain and pressure relief, while convoluted polyfoam toppers are considered the least suitable option for these individuals. For more information, check out our Best Mattress Toppers guide.
For more information on mattress and bedding options for sleepers that experience pain and pressure in different areas of the body, please check out the following tuck pages:
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