There's nothing better than a restful night's sleep. But pain in your back or neck can make it more difficult to drift off to dreamland — and stay there for seven to nine hours each night, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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While upgrading your mattress may not resolve the root cause of your pain, it can provide the support you need to feel more comfortable in bed, so you can get better shut-eye.
The key word here is "support," says Marleen Caldwell, PT, a physical therapist with the Cleveland Clinic. "When we lie down, our bodies feel best if joints can be supported in their neutral positions," she tells LIVESTRONG.com. "This means supporting the natural curves of the spine. If the spine is out of its neutral position for a prolonged period of time, say, by sleeping on a mattress that is too firm or too soft, this can create pain even in healthy tissue."
Sleep expert Michael J. Breus, PhD, aka The Sleep Doctor, says you should look for "a mattress that supports your body without sinking at the hips, allows relief at pressure points including the knees, hips, shoulders and head and lets your muscles relax throughout the body, especially at the back."
With that in mind, we've rounded up nine of the best mattresses to try when you have neck and back pain.
(Psst: Looking to upgrade your pillow, too? Check out the best pillows for neck pain.)
The Best Mattresses for Back and Neck Pain
- Best Overall: The Winkbed ($849-$1,899, WinkBeds)
- Best on a Budget: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress ($499-$1,338, NectarSleep)
- Best Splurge: TEMPUR-Adapt Mattress ($1,899-$7,198, TempurPedic)
- Best for Side Sleepers: Avocado Green Mattress ($1,099-$2,099, AvocadoGreenMattress)
- Best for Back Sleepers: Saatva Classic Mattress ($887-$2,046, Saatva)
- Best Pillow Top: Nolah Evolution 15 ($999-$1,799, NolahMattress)
- Best Foam: Leesa Original Mattress ($749-$1,199, Leesa)
- Best Cooling: Cocoon by Sealy Chill Hybrid Mattress ($739-$1,299, CocoonBySealy)
- Best From a Box: Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress ($2,035.75-$2,970.75, Casper)
1. Best Overall: The Winkbed
The WinkBed sits atop many a "best mattress" list, and with good reason. Not only does it offer support and breathability, it has a unique topper that combines foam and micro-coils, which support your body and protect the mattress from sagging.
You can choose from three levels of firmness (soft, luxury firm, firm), and there's a Plus option designed specifically for people in heavier weight ranges. The latter is designed to offer maximum back support and durability.
Bonus: This mattress comes with a 120-night warranty, giving you ample time to figure out if it's the right fit for you. Caldwell notes that this is an advantage over mattresses you try once in a store.
"Trying the mattress in the store is good, but limiting," Caldwell says. "You only have a limited amount of time, and the store mattress may feel different than the one they deliver to your house."
Buy it: WinkBeds.com; Price: $849-$1,899
2. Best on a Budget: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
Nectar earns points not only for its budget-friendly price tag but for its generous return policy — you can hold onto one of its mattresses for a full year.
Made with adaptive memory foam, it's designed to help neutralize the spine and promote alignment, which both Caldwell and Breus say is the key to alleviating sleep-induced pain.
Buy it: NectarSleep.com; Price: $499-$1,338
3. Best Splurge: TEMPUR-Adapt Mattress
Tempur-Pedic mattresses are the pinnacle of luxury, and the Adapt line is no exception. Its mattress technology is "precision-engineered to adapt and respond to your weight, shape, and temperature while you sleep" as well as being made from pressure-relieving materials.
It also boasts motion-control technology, perfect for those sleeping with another person in bed.
Buy it: TempurPedic.com; Price: $1,899-$7,198
4. Best for Side Sleepers: Avocado Green Mattress
Both Breus and Caldwell call prolonged side sleeping a potential cause of neck and back pain. The Avocado Green Mattress, which happens to also be made with organic materials, can help alleviate those issues.
Made with more than 1,000 coils and five different ergonomic zones, this mattress encourages alignment even when the body is turned to the side.
Buy it: AvocadoGreenMattress.com; Price: $1,099-$2,099
5. Best for Back Sleepers: Saatva Classic Mattress
Back sleepers have a leg up on the rest of us for already sleeping in the ideal position, according to the experts. But you can still experience back pain even if you sleep the "right" way.
The Saatva mattress combines support and comfort, and it comes in a range of options, from plushy soft to more firm — the ideal feel for back sleepers.
Buy it: Saatva.com; Price: $887-$2,046
6. Best Pillow Top: Nolah Evolution 15
Memory foam seems to have a monopoly on the mattress industry, but a solid pillow top is still the answer for many people who suffer from sleep-induced back and neck pain.
The Nolah Evolution 15's top offers cooling as well as support, alongside a pillow top that gives it a "luxury hotel" feeling. Softness and support? Yes, please.
Buy it: NolahMattress.com; Price: $999-$1,799
7. Best Foam: Leesa Original Mattress
The Leesa Original Mattress is fully foam and financially frugal, clocking in under $1,000 for many of the sizes. Customers love its many layers of foam that stack up to create a truly pleasant sleep experience.
It's also designed to suit any type of sleeper, and it offers a 120-night trial period.
Buy it: Leesa.com; Price: $749-$1,199
8. Best Cooling: Cocoon by Sealy Chill Hybrid Mattress
The Sealy Chill Hybrid Mattress just sounds cool — and it lives up to its name, thanks to a cooling cover and multiple cooling foam layers underneath.
It's kept in place by a steel perimeter, perfect for cocooning you into a better night's sleep. And because it's made with memory foam, it also conforms to your body, no matter which position you sleep in.
Buy it: CocoonBySealy.com; Price: $739-$1,299
9. Best From a Box: Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress
Casper invented the mattress-in-a-box game, then turned it on its head over and over again with further innovation.
Take its Wave Hybrid Mattress, for example. Created with strategically placed gel pods that focus on lower back pain, it promises better alignment and a more peaceful night's sleep.
Buy it: Casper.com; Price: $2,035.75-$2,970.75
What to Look for in a Mattress When You Have Back or Neck Pain
Keep these things in mind when shopping for a new mattress:
No matter which mattress you go with, purchasing one is an investment. While it's never a bad idea to have a new and supportive mattress, it's important to rule out other causes of back pain or neck pain before going all in on a mattress and hoping it solves all your pain problems.
2. Trial Time
Laying on a mattress for a few minutes in a store does not offer you the same insight as being able to sleep on it for a prolonged period of time, Caldwell says. Look for a mattress with at least a 90-day trial period, so you can get your money back if it doesn't work for you.
Firm versus soft is a matter of preference. Regardless of what you like more, what matters most is how supportive the mattress is and how well it promotes a neutral spine.
If you're considering whether it's time for a new mattress, Caldwell says you should first figure out how long you've been using your current one.
"The life of a mattress is up to 20 years, but your body needs may change sooner than this, so be aware that you may need a different support 10 years down the road," she says. "A pillow topper feels wonderful for the first year, but these tend to lose their support and comfort much sooner than the mattress."
What to Know Before You Buy a New Mattress
Buying a new mattress is an investment, and Caldwell says there are a few things she recommends before taking the plunge:
- Rotate or flip your current mattress.
- Try sleeping in another bed in the house to see if pain is improved.
- Avoid lying on your stomach if you have neck pain.
- If you have neck pain, try swapping your pillow: Use just one pillow under your neck and head that supports your natural neck curves.
- For people who side sleep with back pain, avoid curling up into a fetal position and place a pillow between the knees.
You can also try relieving the pain by:
Why Back and Neck Pain Disrupt Sleep
Even if you're between the sheets for the recommended amount of time, pain affects the quality of your sleep.
"Pain receptors don't sleep," Caldwell explains. "If your body is in an uncomfortable position for too long, those pain receptors send a signal to your brain to move. Sometimes this signal is so 'loud' it can wake you. Or sometimes the act of rolling in bed causes pain and can wake you."
Investing in a supportive mattress can help, but you also need to be proactive about your back and neck health during the day.