If you’re waking up in the morning with lower back pain, even though you’re sleeping on your side, it can ruin your entire day! We know exactly how miserable the pain and discomfort can make you feel.
Here’s the thing… we subject our lower backs to an incredible amount of strain each day by simply by moving around. Remember, the entire upper part of your body is supported by this critical part of the spine. The daily compression that occurs in the lumbar region (lower back) of the spine must be allowed to “release” when we go to bed.
Unfortunately, with the wrong mattress, your body’s alignment will be imperceptibly skewed and your lower spine is forced to remain a state of tension without you even realizing.
It makes perfect sense why the pain intensifies overnight!
Thankfully there is a solution… a mattress designed specifically for a side sleeper with lower back pain in mind!
In the mattresses below, decades of refinement has gone into creating the perfect lumbar support for side sleepers who suffer from chronic back pain.
Let’s review each option in detail and make sure we’re targeting the exact problem you’re experiencing and exactly how to fix it once and for all.
Top Rated Mattresses for Lower Back Pain in a Side Sleeper
|Tuft & Needle||Best Value Overall|
100 Night Sleep Trial
|Casper Sleep||Most Comfortable|
100 Night Sleep Trial
|Nectar||Longest 180 Night Sleep Trial||Check Price|
|Sleep Innovations||Most Affordable|
But No Sleep Trial
We reviewed several mattresses but found that only 4 were necessary to give you a truly complete range of options. Anyone of the choices above will go a very long way to reducing lumbago and other back problems while sleeping.
Here’s our winner!
1. Tuft & Needle
Tuft & Needle’s claim to fame is their special “T&N” high-density polyurethane foam which is softer and more supportive than traditional memory foam. It’s the most popular mattress for back pain and lumbago.
The material is meticulously infused with gel and graphite making it one of the coolest mattresses available.
As a side sleeper, your shoulder is higher than your hips. This creates misalignment in the spine and especially the lower back region. The Tuft & Needle compensates for this by molding to your shoulders and hips with great finesse.
It actually feels a little “bouncy” to the touch which is a contributing quality for adapting to each detailed curve of your body.
Another reason we love it is the value for money. It’s substantially cheaper than some of the top-of-the-line mattresses featured here and has an almost identical level of quality. This is why it’s by far the most popular seller.
- 10 Inches
- 100 Night sleep trial
- 10 Year warranty
- Bouncy/Medium Firmness
- Cool Sleeper
- Good Value for Money
2. Casper Sleep
The Casper Sleep is the true king of side sleepers. It is unmatched in comfort and quality and you’ll have the best sleep of your entire life on this mattress. The only reason it came in second place is the price. It’s significantly more expensive than its competitors but if you can afford the extra bucks, it’ll be 100% worth it!
It has zoned support meaning that your shoulders and hips are treated differently for better alignment and comfort. As a side sleeper with lower back pain, this is exactly what you’re looking for… a way to perfectly straighten out your spine from the shoulders down to the hips.
The latex top layer creates a soft, comfortable surface which remains cool on hot nights while the remaining 3 layers of foam perfectly adapts to support the different part of your body.
- <10 Inches
- 100 Night sleep trial
- 10 Year Warranty
- Gentle “Zoned” Support (Varying levels of softness for shoulders and hips)
- Cool Sleeper
What’s more, there is a Forever Warranty! So, for as long as you have the mattress, it’s covered under the warranty. We’re not kidding, here it is. Within the first 10 years, if your mattress is defective in materials or workmanship, they’ll completely replace it. After that, they’ll repair it for as long as you own it.
As with all the top choices here, the Nectar is a very comfortable mattress to sleep on due to the meticulously constructed high density foam layering. Your back and shoulders will be in alignment leaving you feeling well rested and without any aches or pains in your lumbar region.
- >10 Inches
- 180 Night sleep trial!
- Forever Warranty! (10 Years Replacement Warranty)
- Somewhat Firm
4. Sleep Innovations Shiloh
It has a similar pressure point relieving, temperature controlled sleeping surface as its competitors but at a significantly lower price.
At 12 inches, it’s the highest of all the mattresses. This does tend to create more of a “sinking feeling” and can develop an indent over time. This isn’t always bad as the mattress tends to adapt to your sleeping style and become more and more suited to your body.
If you’re struggling with lower back aches and want to explore a more affordable solution, this might be the one for you. ( Just be aware that there is no trial period for you to test out the mattress.)
- 12 Inches
- No trial period
- 20 Year Warrantee
Buyer’s Guide for Side Sleepers with Lower Spine Problems
Firstly, there is no one-size-fits-all. Each body is different and what works for you may not work for someone else. This is the main reason for the trial period.
What Exactly is a Sleep Trial Period?
You can test out the mattress for a specific amount of nights. (Usually around 100) If you are not completely happy with the product, you can simply return it for a full refund.
It’s an opportunity for the buyer to try the mattress out a risk-free with the option to return it with no questions asked.
What is a Mattress-in-a-Box?
Your mattress gets delivered in a box around 17x17x42 inches in size. It’s compressed into a roll with all the air squeezed out.
When you remove the mattress from the packaging, it begins to inflate thanks to the internal foam structure. It usually takes around 48 hours to fully inflate.
Can You Buy a Mattress Topper Instead?
In some cases, you can save some money by simply adding a latex or memory foam mattress topper on top of your existing mattress. This saves a little bit of money and might be enough to make a huge difference. Check out our article on the Best Mattress Topper for Lower Back Pain.
How to Choose the Best Mattress for Back Problems
You will never know exactly how your body will respond to a mattress without trying it. You may be perfectly happy with a lower budget memory foam mattress that is designed to simply relieve pressure in key areas (like the Sleep Innovations), or you’ll need a top quality mattress with “zoned” support which cradles the hips and the shoulders with different levels of firmness and support (like the Casper Sleep).
The Casper Sleep is more expensive but the multi-zone technology does a fantastic job at aligning your spine in such a way as to relieve lower back problems.
Each of the sections is perfectly designed to adapt to it’s designated body zone.
If budget isn’t a concern, definitely go for the Casper Sleep, but if you want a good all-rounder that does the job well, go for the Tuft & Needle which strikes the perfect balance between comfort and value.
Best Way to Sleep for Lower Back Pain
It just so happens that if you’re a side sleeper, you’re already on the best position to help with your lumbar pain. Stomach sleepers add tremendous strain to their lower backs due to the compression that occurs in that area. Back sleepers, on the other hand, will need to raise their knees with a pillow so as to allow relief in the lower back.
A side sleeper simply needs to ensure that their neck, shoulders and hips are as comfortably aligned as possible. This will remove strain from the area and allow for decompression during sleep.
What is the Best Firmness for Side Sleepers?
Side sleepers usually need a slightly firmer mattress.
The magic combination of softer shoulder support with slightly firmer hip support can only be achieved by a “zoned” mattress like the Casper Sleep.
Otherwise, you’ll need to pick a single firmness that works for your whole body. This depends on the difference in weight between the upper and lower parts of your body as well as your preference.
Also, remember that there are two parts to mattress construction:
- The High Density Foam Base Layers, and
- The Adaptive Memory Foam Top Layer
The Base Layers will determine the overall support while the Top Layer creates pressure point relief.
If your spine is misaligned while side sleeping, you’ll need to find the perfect base layer support to help you straighten out.
On the other hand, if you’re already pretty straight but experiencing hip and shoulder pain, you need to relieve the pressure on those points with a softer, more adaptive top layer.
The only way to know is to try. Grab a high quality mattress like the Casper Sleep or the Nectar and try it out for a few weeks. Both have highly sophisticated base support with super comfortable squishy top layers.
Why Do I Have Lower Back Pain?
The thing to realize is that you didn’t hurt your back while sleeping.
You most likely lifted something heavy in the incorrect manner or had some kind of injury during sport or simply by moving to rapidly. This would have left you with a predisposition to lower back pain.
You may not actually feel the strain during the day when your lower back muscles are warmed up and moving around. It’s in the evening when your spine is supposed to decompress and release the tension from the day, that you don’t always have the opportunity to recover.
How to Fix Lower Back Ache
You’ll need to learn to take care of your back holistically…
Avoiding strain during the day. That includes how you sit or stand, just as much as what you’re lifting.
The simplest action like washing dishes can lead to massive lower back strain. Make sure when you’re standing and working at a table or basin, that your toes are allowed to go far enough under the structure and keep your spine aligned. Otherwise, you’ll be leaning forward ever so slightly which is just what your lower back muscles hate.
When sitting, try to have your seat at just the right height, allowing your thighs to be at a 90% angle to your calves. Sliding down into your chair is another way you’ll pile on the added strain in your lower back
If you have a medical condition (ie. compressed vertebrae) you may need to ask your doctor for some medication initially to allow for inflammation to dissipate.
If you’re finding that your back pain increases after having sex, also check out our article on the best mattress for sex.
Ultimately, you should consider a multi-pronged approach that includes things like:
- Reducing day-to-day strain on your back
- Stretching before bed
- Light targeted exercise to strengthen the lower back
- Increase fluid intake in the day
- Possible Medication to reduce inflammation if needed
- And buying the correct mattress, which allows for daily recovery
Any mattress requires a “break-in” period of about a week in which your body “learns” the best way to sleep on it. You simply can’t know what will work for you until you’ve tried it.
Thankfully all the options on this list are extremely well loved by thousands of people who had the same problem as you. Some even claim that their back pain has disappeared entirely simply by switching to one of these high quality mattresses.