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Best Mattresses for Sciatica – Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Jenny Iyo

Written by Keith Cushner

147
Mattresses Considered
140
Hours of Research
2
Mattress Executives Interviewed
5
Sleep Experts Consulted

Quick Overview

As with other types of back pain, sciatica calls for a sleep surface that provides ample cushioning and sturdy support. The best mattresses for sciatica conform to the sleeper’s body without hugging too tightly or sagging excessively, which helps align the sleeper’s spine. Our research indicates memory foam and latex mattresses offer the most comfortable sleep surfaces for those with sciatica.

Read on to learn more about the effects of sciatica on sleep in our buyer’s guide, and get more tips for selecting a mattress. First, you’ll find our picks for the best mattresses for sciatica. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

Best Mattresses for Sciatica
  • Editor’s Pick – Nectar
  • Best Value Mattress for Sciatica – Layla
  • Best Luxury Mattress for Sciatica – Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
  • Best Mattress for Lightweight Sleepers with Sciatica – The Casper
  • Best Mattress for Average Weight Sleepers with Sciatica – Loom & Leaf
  • Best Mattress for Heavyweight Sleepers with Sciatica – The WinkBed
First Time Buying a Mattress?

Hop down to our Buyer’s Guide for a crash course on finding the best mattress for sciatica.

 

Best Mattresses for Sciatica – Reviewed

Editor's PickNectar

Editor's Pick – Nectar

Highlights

  • 'Medium Firm' (6)
  • 365-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
  • Sleeps cooler than most foam models
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Editor's PickNectar

nectarsleep.com

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Our Editor’s Pick is the Nectar, a memory foam model currently sold for $799 in a Queen size. This price-point is much lower than that of the average memory foam mattress, but the Nectar offers the same pressure relief as many of its higher-end competitors.

The Nectar is ‘Medium Firm’ (6), making it ideal for sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds, as well as lighter individuals who prefer firmer surfaces.

The mattress features gel memory foam and standard memory foam comfort layers that provide close conforming and improved spinal alignment, making the Nectar a great option for side and back sleepers with sciatica. It is also optimal for couples because it isolates motion transfer very well and produces no noise when bearing weight.

Nectar offers free shipping for customers in the contiguous U.S., as well as White Glove delivery (including in-home assembly and old mattress removal) at an additional charge. The mattress is backed by a 365-night sleep trial, one of the longest trials available, as well as a nonprorated 10-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

The Nectar’s memory foam construction provides superior pressure relief, while encouraging healthy spinal alignment—two key mattress qualities for sleepers with sciatica. Moreover, the bed is available in a popular ‘Medium Firm’ setting, offers great motion isolation, and has an excellent price-point, all of which make this bed appealing to a wide range of mattress shoppers.

  • Side and back sleepers. The Nectar’s foam construction, combined with its mid-level firmness, offers an ideal balance of comfort and support for these sleep positions.
  • Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups. The Nectar’s ‘Medium Firm’ feel is most comfortable for sleepers who weigh 130 pounds or more.
  • Couples. The Nectar virtually eliminates motion transfer, resulting in a sleep surface that stays still and silent throughout the night, despite a sleep partner changing positions.
  • Those who tend to sleep hot on all-foam beds. The Nectar absorbs less body heat than the average all-foam bed, thanks to the use of gel memory foam and lower-density foams in its comfort layers.

Not Recommended for:

  • Lightweight sleepers. The Nectar will likely feel too firm for those who weigh less than 130 pounds.
  • Those who prefer to sleep “on” versus “in” a mattress. Multiple layers of memory foam create a body-hugging cradle that, while excellent for pressure relief, can feel uncomfortable for some sleepers.

Best Value Mattress for SciaticaLayla

Best Value Mattress for Sciatica – Layla

Highlights

  • Flippable with different firmness settings (4, 7)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
  • Great motion isolation
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Best Value Mattress for SciaticaLayla

laylasleep.com

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Flippable mattresses like the Layla are ideal for sleepers with sciatica whose firmness preferences vary from night to night. This all-foam bed features one side that is ‘Medium Soft’ (4) and another side that is ‘Firm’ (7); to adjust the firmness, sleepers only need to flip over the mattress, which is light and easy to lift even by foam bed standards and should not aggravate any existing aches and pains.

The Layla conforms to the sleeper’s body with layers of copper-infused memory foam, a material that improves spinal alignment and alleviates pressure points.

The ‘Medium Soft’ side has an additional layer of convoluted polyfoam for extra cushioning, while the shared support core made from high-density polyfoam helps the bed maintain a comfortable sleep surface. Our research found the mattress is most suitable for side and back sleepers of any weight group.

This mattress is available at a below-average price-point, making it a top-value pick. Layla offers free mattress shipping for customers in the contiguous U.S. The bed is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty, both of which are longer than average.

The Bottom Line.

With its flippable design, the Layla is like two mattresses in one. Even without this quality, the low price-point and quality construction make the Layla a very attractive mattress option for value shoppers.

  • Side and back sleepers. The Layla’s foam construction offers an optimal mix of cushioning and support for either of these sleep positions.
  • Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy). Lighter individuals may prefer the ‘Medium Soft’ side, while heavier sleepers can enjoy more support from the ‘Firm’ side.
  • Those with fluctuating firmness preferences.  The Layla’s flippable design caters to those whose firmness needs change, whether due to an injury, recovery, or change in sleep position.
  • Value seekers. In addition to its low price-point, the Layla comes with free shipping and longer-than-average sleep trial and warranty periods.

Not Recommended for:

  • Heavier stomach sleepers. Even the ‘Firm’ side of the Layla may not be sufficiently supportive for stomach sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds.
  • Sex. The Layla’s memory foam layers are slow to respond and take time to recover their shape, so the mattress may not be responsive enough for some couples.

Best Luxury Mattress for SciaticaBrooklyn Bedding Aurora

Best Luxury Mattress for Sciatica – Brooklyn Bedding Aurora

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (3.5, 5.5, 7.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Cool copper-infused and gel foam layers
  • Excellent motion isolation and conforming ability
Read Our Full Review
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Best Luxury Mattress for SciaticaBrooklyn Bedding Aurora

brooklynbedding.com

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The first-class construction of the Brooklyn Aurora allows the hybrid bed to conform enough to prevent pressure points, yet maintain a cool and nearly-silent sleep surface. This unique combination makes it popular among couples, light sleepers, and anyone who sleeps hot but loves the hug of a foam bed.

In the support core, 8 inches of pocket coils sit atop a 1-inch polyfoam layer, balancing pressure-relieving contour with responsive bounce. The comfort layer of copper- and gel-infused foams provide additional conforming. All in, the Brooklyn Aurora stacks up to a 13.5-inch profile. This is a plush mattress that feels like sleeping on luxury, while offering practical pain relief.

With multiple firmness options—a ‘Soft’ 3.5, ‘Medium’ 5.5, and ‘Firm’ 7.5—there’s something to support sleepers of all body types. Like many hybrid beds, the Aurora rates well among side and back sleepers.

The cooling contour of the Brooklyn Aurora comes for a higher-than-average price point, but the quality construction, long 120-night sleep trial, and above-average 8+ year lifespan make it worth it. The Brooklyn Aurora is backed by a 10-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

With the Aurora mattress, Brooklyn Bedding offers premium construction, with the premium pressure relief and sleep experience to match. Three firmness options ensure this bed can suit a wide range of sleepers with sciatica, as well.

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination). The Aurora offers deep contouring that relieves pressure for side and back sleepers, while the ‘Firm’ option provides good support for stomach sleepers.
  • Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy). Sleepers can choose from three firmness settings. Lighter individuals prefer the ‘Soft’ option, while heavier individuals prefer the ‘Firm’ option. Average weight sleepers may choose between the ‘Medium’ and ‘Firm’ based on their sleep position and personal preference.
  • Couples. The Aurora offers good motion isolation, reducing sleep disruptions during the night, while maintaining enough bounce for sex.
  • Those who sleep hot. The Aurora stays cool throughout the night, due to two cooling layers of phase-change material, along with copper- and gel-infused foams.

Not Recommended for:

  • Back sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds. Our testing found that some back sleepers experience too much sinking in the pelvis area, even with the ‘Firm’ model.
  • Shoppers who want to be able to return their mattress quickly if they don’t love it. The Aurora’s 120-night sleep trial comes with a mandatory 30-night break-in period.

Best Mattress for Lightweight Sleepers with SciaticaThe Casper

Best Mattress for Lightweight Sleepers with Sciatica – The Casper

Highlights

  • 'Medium' (5)
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 10-year warranty
  • Close body conforming for pressure relief
  • Excellent motion isolation
Read Our Full Review
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Best Mattress for Lightweight Sleepers with SciaticaThe Casper

casper.com

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Mattresses that conform closely can be beneficial to sleepers with sciatica, especially those in the lightweight group (less than 130 pounds). We’ve selected The Casper for this weight category because it hugs the body closely to alleviate aches and pains and ease pressure along the spine, but the supportive surface is resistant to excessive sagging and should not lead to added discomfort.

Three foam comfort layers – including a middle memory foam layer measuring 4.5 inches thick – provide substantial cushioning. These components also absorb motion transfer very well, which can be helpful for couples who experience movement-related sleep disruptions.

A high-density foam base reinforces the bed to prevent sagging in the sleep surface and minimize sinkage along the edges. The Casper mattress also does not retain as much body heat from sleepers as many of its all-foam competitors, allowing it to sleep relatively cool by comparison.

Casper provides free shipping to customers throughout the contiguous U.S. and most of Canada. The mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

The Bottom Line.

The Casper is a mixed-foam mattress known for its exceptional pressure relief, but it’s its true ‘Medium’ feel that makes it ideal for supporting lightweight sleepers with sciatica. This bed feels plush to sleep on, relieving pressure points.

  • Side and back sleepers. Foam comfort layers adapt to the sleeper’s body, cushioning pressure points as needed for the side and back sleep positions.
  • Sleepers in the light and average weight groups. The Casper may be our Best Mattress for Lightweight Sleepers with Sciatica, but it can comfortably support sleepers up to 230 pounds, especially those who sleep on their side or prefer softer surfaces.
  • People who sleep hot on all-foam beds. The Casper offers good temperature neutrality for a foam bed, absorbing less body heat than many of its competitors.
  • Couples. The Casper’s all-foam construction eliminates most motion transfer, so light sleepers are less likely to be disturbed by their sleep partner changing positions during the night.

Not Recommended for:

  • Couples where one sleeper weighs more than 230 pounds. The ‘Medium’ feel of the Casper is not firm enough to support sleepers in this weight group.
  • Those looking for strong edge support. Like many foam beds, some sinkage may occur around the perimeter of the mattress over time.

Best Mattress for Average Weight Sleepers with SciaticaLoom & Leaf

Best Mattress for Average Weight Sleepers with Sciatica – Loom & Leaf

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (5.5, 8)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • 15-year warranty
  • Sleeps cooler than other foam beds
  • Free White Glove delivery
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Best Mattress for Average Weight Sleepers with SciaticaLoom & Leaf

saatva.com

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The Loom & Leaf by Saatva is a memory foam bed with two firmness options, ‘Medium’ (5.5) or ‘Firm’ (8). This makes the bed ideal for people who weigh between 130 and 230 pounds; people in this weight group that prefer close conforming can opt for the softer option, while those who feel most comfortable on minimally conforming surfaces can choose the firmer design.

Both settings provide consistent contouring that can greatly aid those with sciatica. The mattress is made with comfort layers of gel memory foam and standard memory foam, as well as a high-density polyfoam base for added sleeper and edge support.

The breathable organic cotton cover also ensures temperature neutrality and cool, comfortable sleep throughout the night; comparatively, many other memory foam beds sleep fairly hot. Other benefits of the Loom & Leaf mattress include great motion isolation and no noise when bearing weight.

Like other Saatva models, the Loom & Leaf qualifies for free White Glove delivery in the contiguous U.S. This includes in-home mattress assembly and old mattress removal at no extra cost. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.

The Bottom Line.

The Loom & Leaf features a quality construction and two firmness settings, either of which can be supportive for sleepers of average weight. The bed’s memory foam comfort layers conform closely to the sleeper’s body, relieving pressure and supporting healthy spinal alignment.

  • Side and back sleepers. Memory foam responds to the sleeper’s body shape, providing comfort and support for these sleep positions.
  • Sleepers of average weight or lighter. The Loom & Leaf feels most comfortable for sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or less.
  • Back pain sufferers. Layers of memory foam conform to the sleeper’s body, filling in gaps between the lower back and the mattress to relieve pressure.
  • Couples. Thanks to superb motion isolation, the Loom & Leaf offers a less disruptive sleep surface for those who share the bed.

Not Recommended for:

  • Those who tend to sleep hot. While the Loom & Leaf’s gel-infused foam layers help improve the bed’s breathability to an extent, the mattress still sleeps hot for some.
  • Sex. Multiple layers of memory foam make for a less bouncy surface that can create the feeling of “fighting the bed” during sex.

Best Mattress for Heavyweight Sleepers with SciaticaThe WinkBed

Best Mattress for Heavyweight Sleepers with Sciatica – The WinkBed

Highlights

  • Multiple firmness options (4.5, 6.5, 7.5)
  • 120-night sleep trial
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Good motion isolation
  • Close conforming and pressure relief
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Best Mattress for Heavyweight Sleepers with SciaticaThe WinkBed

winkbeds.com

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Finding a comfortable mattress can be challenging for heavier sleepers with sciatica because most beds sink excessively, leading to uneven support and discomfort.

The WinkBed is a notable exception. Its comfort layer includes gel memory foam and pocketed minicoil layers that provide extra cushioning and support to stomach sleepers in any weight group. The mattress also has a compressed cotton ‘lumbar pad’ that is intended to reduce back pain.

The WinkBed is available in three firmness settings – ‘Softer’ (4.5), ‘Luxury Firm’ (6.5), and ‘Firmer’ (7.5) – to accommodate sleepers with different preferences. Additionally, the WinkBed Plus is a ‘Firm’ mattress specifically designed for heavier individuals.

The bed’s pocketed coils are encased in high-density polyfoam, which reinforces the mattress and prevents sinkage around the perimeter where people tend to sit. Like other hybrids, the WinkBed has good airflow and sleeps exceptionally cool, as well.

WinkBed offers free standard delivery throughout the contiguous U.S., as well as White Glove delivery for an extra charge. The mattress is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.

The Bottom Line.

Both the WinkBed ‘Firmer’ and Plus mattresses are designed to support sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds (more than 300 in the case of the WinkBed Plus). With the bed’s zoned support system and lumbar pad, heavier sleepers with sciatica can enjoy targeted pressure relief and improved spinal alignment.

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination). Side sleepers may prefer the ‘Firmer’ model, while stomach sleepers will be best supported by the WinkBed Plus. Back sleepers can enjoy good support with either model, depending on their comfort preferences.
  • Couples. The WinkBed minimizes motion transfer to a significant extent, so the bed stays relatively still and silent throughout the night.
  • Those who tend to sleep hot. The WinkBed offers great temperature neutrality, due to good airflow throughout the two coil layers and the breathable Tencel lyocell cover.
  • Those who prefer a higher-profile mattress. At 14.5 inches, the WinkBed is nearly 50 percent taller than the average mattress.

Not Recommended for:

  • Couples where one partner is a lightweight side sleeper. While heavier individuals require the support of the firmer WinkBed options, either of these will likely be too firm for a side sleeper who weighs less than 130 pounds.
  • Shoppers who want to be able to return their mattress quickly if they don’t love it. The 120-night sleep trial comes with a mandatory 30-night break-in period.

Buying Guide – Finding a Bed that Alleviates Sciatica Symptoms

Sciatica is a medical condition characterized by chronic pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which travels down the lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs. Most people with sciatica experience pain most prominently on one side of their body, although both sides may be affected.

In addition to chronic pain, sciatica patients routinely experience numbness and weakness on their affected side(s). More serious complications include loss of bladder and bowel function.

As with chronic back pain and other painful disorders like scoliosis, choosing the right mattress can significantly improve sleep quality and duration for people with sciatica. According to customer and owner experiences, people with sciatica typically prefer mattresses made of materials like memory foam and/or latex that conform closely and provide above-average pressure relief.

Additionally, mattresses that isolate motion and produce little to no noise are often most suitable for people with sciatica that need to frequently visit the bathroom during the night.

This guide will explore common causes and symptoms of sciatica, discuss unique sleep considerations linked to the condition, and provide some tips for mattress buyers.

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments of Sciatica

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of sciatica include:

  • Herniated disc: Intervertebral discs are round, fibrous areas of the spine containing a jelly-like substance. Herniated discs, also known as slipped or ruptured discs, occur when the tears develop in the exterior of the disc. This causes the rest of the disk to bulge, and it may cause sciatica if the bulging comes into contact with the sciatic nerve.
  • Bone spur: The term ‘bone spur’ (also known as exostosis) refers to irregular bone formations that develop on the surfaces of existing bones. Bone spurs on the spine often lead to sciatica.
  • Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal becomes narrower. This process puts pressure on nearby nerves, including the sciatic nerve.

Additionally, the Mayo Clinic identifies the following risk factors for sciatica:

  • Age: Older people are at greater risk for sciatica due to natural changes that affect the spine over time.
  • Obesity: Excess weight creates stress that puts added pressure on the spine.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes poses a high risk of nerve damage throughout the body, so sciatica is more likely to occur with diabetic people.
  • Occupation: Jobs that include heavy lifting, pulling, and other types of manual labor can trigger sciatic nerve pain — as can jobs that require prolonged sitting, which puts more pressure on the spine.

The most telling symptom of sciatica is radiating pain that travels down the lower back and hips, then the buttocks and leg on one side (if not both). The pain may range from light to severe, but in most cases the condition will cause moderate discomfort or worse.

Burning and shooting sensations in the affected areas often accompany the pain, as well as numbness and weakness. Some sciatica patients lose control of their bladder and bowel functions, but this symptom is less common.

Mild sciatica may not necessitate medical treatment. For more serious cases, the following treatments may be used:

  • Medication: Depending on the patient, medications for sciatica may include anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, prescription narcotics, antidepressants, and anti-seizure medications.
  • Physical therapy: Rehabilitation regimens are commonly prescribed for sciatica patients. These routines often target flexibility, posture, and muscle strength.
  • Steroid injections: Corticosteroid injections may be prescribed in more severe sciatica cases. These involve an injection directly into the sciatic nerve root. These injections carry potentially serious side effects, and will usually be prescribed sparingly; the effects typically last for a few months.
  • Surgery: Serious sciatica cases that require surgery include those that involve loss of bladder or bowel control, as well as severe and persistent shooting pain due to bone spurs or herniated discs.

In order to reduce your risk of developing sciatic nerve pain, the following preventative measures can be taken:

  • Develop an exercise routine that emphasizes the back and lower abdomen muscles.
  • Maintain correct posture when working by sitting in a chair with lower back support and keeping your knees and hips aligned.
  • Employ proper techniques for strenuous activities, such as lifting heavy objects with your back and resting your feet if you stand for long periods of time

People with sciatica can also address their condition by improving their sleep. For many, a new mattress brings about positive changes in comfort, support, and sleep quality. In the next section, we’ll look at some mattress factors to consider for those affected by sciatic nerve pain.

Choosing the Right Mattress for Sciatica: Features to Look For

When shopping for a new mattress, people with sciatica are urged to inquire about the following qualities and characteristics:

  • Support

    When discussing mattresses, ‘support’ refers to a bed’s ability to maintain an even, level surface. Supportive mattresses provide a stable surface throughout the night and help sleepers align their shoulders, spine, and hips, which can alleviate pain and pressure points throughout the body.

    Mattresses that are either too firm or too soft often lack proper support. The bed’s support core — the bottom layers — also impact support by reinforcing the topmost layers and bearing the sleeper’s weight.

  • Firmness

    Firmness is often tied to support, but the two terms refer to different qualities. Firmness is how soft or firm a mattress feels to different sleepers, and is measured on a 1-10 scale with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. Most mattresses sold today fall between a ‘3,’ or Soft, and an ‘8,’ or Firm.

    Generally, firmer mattresses are more suitable for heavier individuals (more than 230 pounds) because they provide a comfortable sleep surface without sinking too much. Lighter individuals (less than 130 pounds) may prefer softer mattresses instead; firmer models may not conform closely enough, and pressure points are likelier to develop.

    Your sleep position can also impact the most comfortable firmness setting for you. Side sleepers require more cushioning to experience better spinal alignment, so they often prefer softer mattresses. Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, require firmer mattresses that allow the spine to lie flat from neck to pelvis. Back sleepers typically enjoy beds with mid-level firmness ratings.

    The table below outlines the most popular firmness settings for different body weights and sleep positions.

Weight Group Preferred Firmness for Most Side Sleepers Preferred Firmness for Most Back Sleepers Preferred Firmness for Most Stomach Sleepers
Below-average (Less than 130 pounds) 3 (Soft) to 5 (Medium) 4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm) 4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm)
Average (130 to 230 Pounds) 4 (Medium Soft) to 6 (Medium Firm) 5 (Medium) to 7 or 8 (Firm) 6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)
Above-average (More than 230 Pounds) 5 (Medium) to 6 (Medium Firm) 6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm) 6 (Medium Firm) to 7 or 8 (Firm)
  • Conforming Ability

    Some mattress types, such as memory foam and latex models, are designed to sink beneath the sleeper’s body and form a mold-shaped impression around their unique contours. This helps align the spine, and aids in pressure relief.

    Hybrid mattresses with thick comfort layers also conform to a noticeable extent, but innersprings typically provide little to no conforming.

  • Thickness

    In addition to the comfort layer thickness, overall mattress thickness is another important consideration for sleepers with sciatica. Thicker mattresses (10 inches or thicker) tend to provide better support and closer conforming compared to thinner models.

    All of the mattresses we recommend for sleepers with sciatica above have profiles that are 10 inches or thicker. The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora, our Best Luxury Mattress, and the WinkBed, our Best Mattress for Heavyweight Sleepers, are the tallest, measuring 13.5- and 14.5-inches thick, respectively.

  • Durability

    The average mattress needs to be replaced every seven years, but the lifespan of a given mattress model may be at least one to two years shorter. As mattresses age, their materials begin to degrade and break down; this can cause sagging and indentations to form in the sleep surface, which both compromise support and often lead to aches and pains.

  • Motion Isolation

    Motion transfer occurs when a sleeper gets into or out of bed, or shifts positions during the night. Some mattresses isolate this motion transfer and prevent it from spreading to other areas of the bed, while others do not minimize transfer to a noticeable extent.

    Motion isolation is important for sleepers with sciatica because they often toss and turn due to discomfort, especially if the sleeper shares his or her bed with another person.

  • Noise

    Not surprisingly, louder mattresses tend to affect sleep quality more than quieter ones. Most mattresses made from foam and/or latex are virtually silent, while innersprings, hybrids, and airbeds tend to produce a fair amount of noise.

    Quieter beds also cause fewer sleep disruptions for people who share their bed with a sciatica patient who tosses and turns.

What Type of Mattress Is Best for Sciatica?

We mentioned a variety of mattress types in the previous section, including innerspring, foam, latex, hybrid, and airbeds. Of these, our research indicates that foam and hybrid models are the best mattresses for sciatica.

Both of these mattress types feature foam comfort layers, which excel at providing the pressure relief those with sciatica need. Which is the better option for you will depend on their other unique qualities, which we outline below.

Best Foam Beds for Sciatica

Mattress Brands
Nectar Mattress Review
Mattress Brands
Layla Mattress Review
Mattress Brands
Casper Mattress Review
Mattress Brands
Loom & Leaf Mattress Review

Foam Mattresses

Foam mattresses are made entirely of foam. The support core is made from higher-density polyfoam, while the comfort layers contain softer memory foam and/or polyfoam.

Foam mattresses are known for their pressure-relieving “hug.” When you sleep on a foam mattress, the foams conform closely to your body, filling in gaps between your body and the mattress to provide pressure relief and support healthy spinal alignment.

When it comes to pressure relief, it’s hard to beat a foam mattress. However, their body-hugging cradle also tends to trap body heat, which can be problematic for hot sleepers. Some beds will attempt to counteract this by infusing their foam comfort layers with cooling gel, as seen with our Editor’s Pick, the Nectar mattress.

If breathability is of the utmost importance, a hybrid mattress may be better for a sleeper with sciatica. If breathability is less of a concern, sleepers will enjoy superior pressure relief with a foam bed.

  • Highly conforming and unmatched pressure relief
  • Excellent motion isolation makes for a still sleep surface undisturbed by noise or movement
  • Very affordable

Cons for Sleepers with Sciatica

  • Tend to sleep warmer, which may be uncomfortable for hot sleepers
  • Shorter lifespans and can develop sagging within 5 to 6 years
  • Minimal edge support

Best Hybrid Beds for Sciatica

Mattress Brands
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Mattress Review
Mattress Brands
WinkBeds Mattress Reviews

Hybrid Mattresses

The “hybrid” in hybrid mattresses refers to the use of a coil-based support system and a foam-based comfort layer. This mattress type essentially combines features of both foam and innerspring beds.

Hybrid mattresses offer good conforming, especially if they feature thicker comfort systems, although to a lesser extent than all-foam beds. As a result, they tend to sleep cooler while still offering excellent pressure relief, as hot sleepers who have sciatica will be happy to hear.

The pocketed coil layer also allows for good airflow through the core of the mattress, further improving the temperature neutrality. While these pocketed coils do create some noise potential, the thick comfort layers can help drown it out, so restless sleepers with sciatica are less likely to be disturbed during the night if they or their sleep partner change positions.

As an additional benefit for sleepers with sciatica, some hybrid mattress feature zoned support systems. This means the bed provides reinforcement for heavier parts of the body, especially the pelvis area, which result in improved spinal alignment. The WinkBed, our Best Mattress for Heavyweight Sleepers with Sciatica, has this type of support system.

  • Great conforming and above-average pressure relief
  • Sleep cooler than all-foam models, with significantly better edge support
  • Good motion isolation, but still bouncy enough for sex

Cons for Sleepers with Sciatica

  • Thicker construction can make them more difficult to move
  • Shorter lifespans and can develop sagging within 6 to 7 years
  • More expensive

Mattress FAQ for Shoppers with Sciatica

  • What Is Your Mattress Budget?

    The average mattress costs more than $1,000 in a Queen size. However, some mattress types (such as memory foam and innerspring models) have lower-than-average price-points compared to other types (such as latex, hybrid, and airbed models).

    If you order your mattress online, also take shipping costs into account — especially if you live outside the contiguous U.S., since most U.S.-based brands will only ship mattresses for free within the lower 48 states.

  • Which Mattress Type Is Best for Sciatica?

    Memory foam, latex, innerspring, hybrid, and airbed mattresses all have unique pros and cons. For people with sciatica, it’s important to consider factors like support, durability, motion isolation, and noise; memory foam and hybrid mattresses tend to outperform other mattress types in these categories.

  • Do You Toss and Turn and/or Experience Bladder Control Issues Due to Sciatica?

    If the answer is yes and sleep with someone else, then a mattress that isolates motion and produces little to no noise will likely be the best option. Memory foam and latex mattresses typically earn the highest customer ratings for motion isolation and noise potential.

  • How Thick Is the Comfort Layer of the Mattress?

    Thicker comfort layers — especially those containing memory foam and/or latex — tend to conform the closest, which helps align the spine and alleviate pressure in areas affected by sciatica.

  • How Long Is the Bed’s Sleep Trial?

    The vast majority of today’s mattress brands offer sleep trials, which allow customers to test out the mattress for a given length of time (typically 90 nights or longer) and then return the mattress for a full or partial refund if they are not satisfied. Our Editor’s Pick, the Nectar, offers an extremely generous sleep trial of a full 365 nights.

    Sleep trials can be a useful way to try out a mattress before committing to a full purchase — but beware of hidden costs, as some brands charge expensive return fees. Others may also have a mandatory “break-in” period, where you need to keep the mattress for up to 60 nights before being able to return it under the trial. The Layla, Aurora, Nectar, and WinkBed all have this requirement.

  • What Kind of Warranty Comes With the Bed?

    The mattress warranty is an important consideration, even though most owners never have to use it. Most mattress warranties span 10 years or longer, and some surpass 20 years in length.

    However, the length of nonprorated coverage is more important than the overall length. During nonprorated coverage, mattress owners pay little (if anything) to have their bed repaired or replaced when defects occur.

    When prorated coverage kicks in, they must pay a percentage of the original price for repairs and replacements, and this percentage often increases with each passing year — resulting in hundreds of dollars in extra costs for some. Some mattress warranties last 10 or more years, but only provide one to two years of nonprorated coverage.

Sleep Strategies and Bedding Accessories for Sciatica

In addition to sleeping on a supportive mattress, individuals with sciatica can further improve their sleep quality with the following sleep strategies and products.

How Should I Sleep With Sciatica?

Above, we discussed the optimal firmness settings for each sleep position. To recap:

  • Side sleepers prefer softer mattresses
  • Stomach sleepers need firmer mattresses
  • Back sleepers enjoy mattresses with middle-of-the-road firmness ratings

Regardless of your chosen sleep position, there are ways you can sleep to relieve pressure and improve spinal alignment. For example:

If you experience pain on one side more than the other, avoid sleeping on the painful side. It’s common for people with sciatica to toss and turn during the night so their bodies can find a more comfortable position. Unfortunately, occasionally this results in them sleeping on the painful side.

To keep yourself from turning over onto the painful side, place pillows around your body or put a tennis ball in the pocket of your pajamas. Whenever you try to turn over, the pillows will keep you in place, or your body will react to the ball and stay either on your good side or your back.

Sciatica symptoms can intensify when pressure is placed on the lumbar discs. To reduce pressure in this area, you can sleep with your knees and legs elevated. For maximum comfort, the knees should be more elevated than the legs. Try sleeping with a plush pillow or rolled-up towel beneath your knees (if you’re a back sleeper), or with a thin pillow between your knees (if you’re a side sleeper).

A contoured knee pillow can be a more comfortable option for side sleepers. These are shaped to fit between your knees, with the goal of improving spinal alignment.

If you sleep on your stomach, consider lying with a flat pillow beneath your lower stomach. This can relieve additional pressure in your lower back.

Can Adjustable Beds Help With Sciatica?

Elevating the knees can help prevent sciatic flare-ups in the lower back. While you can achieve this with a pillow beneath the knees, it can also be done with an adjustable bed which can elevate the whole legs.

Most mattresses today are designed to be compatible with an adjustable bed frame. These allow you to adjust the elevation of different parts of the bed using a remote control.

Learn more in our Guide to the Best Adjustable Beds.

What Is the Best Pillow for Sciatica?

Sleepers with sciatica often require two different categories of pillows: a head pillow, and one (or more) to help with positioning.

Head Pillow

When choosing a head pillow, the primary consideration is the pillow’s thickness, or loft. Today’s pillows are categorized into three main loft categories: low loft, medium loft, and high loft.

Side sleepers prefer higher loft pillows, as these can fill in the space between their neck and the edge of their shoulder. Back sleepers enjoy medium to high loft pillows that support the space beneath their neck. Stomach sleepers need only a very low loft pillow, or no pillow at all, so they can maintain as straight a spine as possible.

Generally, people choose their pillow loft by considering their sleep position, head size, shoulder width, and mattress firmness. The table below lists loft preferences based on these factors.

Loft Category Low Medium High
Thickness Range Less than 3" 3" to 5" More than 5"
Optimal Head Size Small Average Large
Optimal Shoulder Width Narrow Average Wide
Optimal Sleeper Weight More than 230 lbs. 130 to 230 lbs. Less than 130 lbs.
Optimal Mattress Firmness Soft to medium-soft Medium-soft to medium-firm Medium-firm to firm

For more information, review our Guide to the Best Pillows.

Other Pillows

Individuals with sciatica can place additional pillows around their body to achieve a more comfortable night’s sleep. Knee pillows can improve alignment for side sleepers, as can a thin pillow underneath the hips for stomach sleepers.

Back sleepers may find sleeping in a reclining position more comfortable. This can be achieved by elevating both the head and base of an adjustable bed.

Alternately, sleepers can purchase a two-piece wedge cushion (or two wedge pillows). These create a V-shape for the sleeper to lie in, allowing their back and knees to be elevated, much like a recliner. This position effectively relieves pressure in the lumbar area. Ideally, the back wedge should have a higher inclination than the knee wedge.

Instead of a double wedge cushion, the same effect can be achieved by using multiple pillows. Thicker, plumper pillows should be placed behind the back and shoulders to bolster the torso, while thinner pillows can be placed beneath the knees and upper calves.

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