Having back pain can prevent you from getting good shut-eye, especially if that pain is associated with sciatica.
Sciatica is the inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which branches out to the back through the hips, buttocks and legs, according to Deepti Agarwal, MD, director of interventional and integrative pain management at Case Integrative Health.
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"Sciatica can interfere with sleep," Dr. Agarwal says. "As you move throughout the night, changes in your spine position can exacerbate the pain you're experiencing."
That's why it's important to invest in a quality mattress, which can support the natural alignment of your spine and prevent further irritation of the sciatic nerve, she explains.
With so many mattress options on the market, it can be hard to narrow them down, so we rounded up the best mattresses for sciatica.
The Best Mattresses for Sciatica
- Best Overall: Saatva Classic Mattress ($710 to $2,200, Saatva)
- Best on a Budget: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress ($359 to $1,030, NectarSleep)
- Best Gel: Casper Wave Hybrid ($1,435 to $2,795, Casper)
- Best Memory Foam: Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress ($870 to $2,665, Saatva)
- Best for Couples: WinkBed ($849 to $1,749, WinkBed)
- Best Breathable: Bear Hybrid Mattress ($844 to $1,818, BearMattress)
How We Chose
We spoke with Dr. Agarwal, who specializes in pain management, who explained the most important attributes in a mattress for sciatica. Our top picks are based on her criteria, including:
- Type of mattress
1. Best Overall: Saatva Classic Mattress
Dr. Agarwal selected Saatva's Classic Mattress as the best overall pick, and for good reason: It's made with the brand's signature lumbar support technology, which helps keep the spine in a healthy alignment and prevent irritation of the sciatic nerve.
The high-density memory foam also offers pressure-point relief, relieving "pressure on areas such as your hips and pelvis," Dr. Agarwal says.
While Agarwal recommends a mattress on the firmer side for people with sciatica, you can choose a firmness that meets your sleep needs. Luckily, the Saatva Classic has three levels of firmness: plush soft, luxury firm and firm.
Buy it: Saatva.com; Price: $710 to $2,200
2. Best on a Budget: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
For the value, Nectar's Memory Foam Mattress is comfortable, supportive and cooling.
Each mattress is crafted with five layers. The first layer is made of a breathable cover to wick away moisture at night, and the second and third layers are made of premium memory foam, which conforms to the natural shape of your spine. The last two layers act as sturdy bases to prevent the mattress from slipping and sliding.
What we appreciate about this mattress is that the memory foam is infused with gel, which contours to your body's folds and reduces motion transfer.
What's more, you can take advantage of a 365-day home trial. "This allows you to test the kit out and see if it impacts your sciatica," Dr. Agarwal says.
Buy it: NectarSleep.com; Price: $359 to $1,030
3. Best Gel: Casper Wave Hybrid
Engineered with gel pods, Casper's Wave Hybrid lifts your waist and lower back to align the spine and offers support where you need it.
Another perk of having a gel mattress is that it's ideal for hot sleepers because the gel offers "less heat retention throughout the night," Dr. Agarwal says.
The top layer is made of foam, which cradles you as you sleep, and the base is made of springs to prevent you from sinking throughout the night.
If you're curious about trying a gel mattress, you can try this one worry-free thanks to the brand's 100-night trial. You'll also receive a 10-year warranty and free delivery.
Buy it: Casper.com; Price: $1,435 to $2,795
4. Best Memory Foam: Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress
The Loom & Leaf is another Saatva mattress that promises not to disappoint. The layers are made of memory foam to relieve pressure and offer maximum back support.
According to Dr. Agarwal, memory foam is a great option for people with sciatica because it relieves back pain and cushions the hips. It's also made of breathable gel infusions, keeping you cool throughout the night.
You can choose between relaxed-firm and firm, which is ideal for all sleepers, including back and stomach sleepers.
Beyond being comfy and cooling, the brand is eco-friendly. Each mattress is handmade in the U.S. with organic cotton and hypoallergenic materials. The foam is even CertiPUR-US certified, which means the materials have been externally reviewed and found free of harmful chemicals.
Buy it: Saatva.com; Price: $870 to $2,665
5. Best for Couples: WinkBed
Made of four layers, this hybrid mattress combines memory foam and springs to support your lower back. The memory foam is infused with gel to reduce motion, making it perfect for couples.
If you sleep hot, you'll appreciate the Tencel outer layer, which allows airflow thanks to its breathable and lightweight composition.
You and your partner can test the waters for 120 days, and if you decide you're not satisfied, the brand will refund you 100 percent of your money.
"Try WinkBed for an adjustable mattress that allows both you and your partner to get a great night's sleep," Dr. Agarwal says.
Buy it: WinkBed.com; Price: $849 to $1,749
6. Best Breathable: Bear Hybrid Mattress
Bear comes highly recommended by Dr. Agarwal for its breathable and cooling mattresses, and the Hybrid Mattress reigns supreme. The top layer is engineered with ice and celliant fibers, wicking away moisture and keeping you dry and cool. The second and third layers are constructed with memory foam that adapts to your unique body shape and various sleeping positions.
The foam received a seal of approval from CertiPUR-US, meaning it's free of harsh chemicals and additives.
Want to test before you try? Bear offers a 120-night risk-free trial, so you can see if it meets your sleeping needs.
Buy it: BearMattress.com; Price: $844 to $1,818
What to Know Before Buying a Mattress for Sciatica
1. Type of Mattress
There are three main types of mattresses: gel, memory foam and hybrid.
Gel-infused mattresses are constructed with pods that allow for a more breathable, supportive and motion-reducing sleep. On the other hand, memory foam mattresses contour to the shape of your body and curvature of your spine to relieve pressure and pain. Lastly, hybrid mattresses combine foam and springs to offer back support and lift your spine.
Any of these materials can support your spine if you're sleeping with sciatica.
From soft to extra firm, there are a number of firmness levels to choose from. For people with sciatica specifically, Dr. Agarwal recommends a medium-firm mattress.
This level of firmness "will keep your pelvis and spine in alignment while ensuring that you get a comfortable night's sleep."
She adds that medium-firm mattresses can take pressure off the sciatic nerve.
3. Sleep Position
Because the sciatic nerve branches out to the hips, buttocks and legs, the best sleeping position will depend on the root cause of your sciatica. Consult with your doctor to figure out which part of the sciatic nerve is affected.
There is not just one sleep position that can exacerbate or relieve sciatica pain. Dr. Agarwal recommends experimenting with sleep positions to see what works best for you.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.