Sciatica is a condition that involves lower back pain caused by an issue with the sciatic nerve. It’s common, affecting hundreds of thousands of people, and can have a big effect on day-to-day life. Sciatica can have a few different causes, such as a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or pregnancy. This pain can make it difficult to sleep, which is why it’s so important to purchase a good mattress if you have sciatica.

The best mattresses for sciatica are medium-firm and have good support. A mattress with good conforming abilities will also provide pressure point relief, equaling less pain throughout the night and into the day. In this guide, we’ll go a little more in-depth about the features of a mattress for sciatica. We’ll also give some tips on choosing the best mattress and getting a good night’s sleep even with sciatica pain. Finally, you can read about our top picks for the best mattresses for sciatica.

Our Top Picks: Summary

The Best Mattresses for Sciatica: Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Nectar
Nectar

Plush contouring is perfect for those with sciatica.

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Why We Picked It

The Nectar is a memory foam mattress with excellent contouring properties, making it ideal for someone with sciatica pain. The mattress has two layers of gel memory foam to help provide comfort and pressure point relief (the Nectar is especially ideal for side sleepers).

The Nectar is medium-firm and includes a breathable cover and gel-infused foam, helping you stay cool during the night. You can try the mattress for 365 nights risk-free and the Nectar carries a forever warranty. It’s an affordable choice for anyone looking for a high-quality memory foam mattress to help with sciatica.

Keep In Mind

The Nectar does not have any bounce at all, which could be a downfall depending on your preferences. It’s also not a great choice for stomach sleepers.

In a Nutshell

  • Excellent contouring
  • Good for side sleepers
  • Try for 365 nights
Best Value: Tuft & Needle Mint
Tuft & Needle Mint

A breathable foam mattress at an affordable price.

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Why We Picked It

If you’re looking for top quality at an affordable price, look no further than the Tuft & Needle Mint mattress. It’s very breathable, keeping air circulating so you’ll stay cool; it actually includes open-cell foam, meaning it has small holes in it to ensure good airflow. Graphite in the top layer also pulls heat from the body.

Next up is the support factor. The mattress’s gel beads add extra cushioning, and the mattress layers are also arranged in a gradual firmness to provide a plush but supportive feel. All of the top layers are also meant to provide pressure point relief. The Mint will work with any type of bedframe and you can try it out for 100 nights and receive a refund if it didn’t work for you.

Keep In Mind

This mattress is not ideal for heavier sleepers who may need something thicker.

In a Nutshell

  • Extra support
  • Pressure point relief
  • Cooling technologies
Best Luxury: Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora

Layers of plush memory foam plus premium cooling technology.

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Why We Picked It

The Aurora mattress comes in three different firmness levels, so you can pick the one that’s right for you. Its top layer is made of CopperFlex foam, a material that contours to your body and targets specific pressure points to relieve pain. The mattress also includes TitanCool technology so you don’t sleep hot and incorporates responsive TitanFlex foam that adjusts to your body whenever you move.

In addition to these technologies, the Aurora also has a layer of memory foam to further support your body. And the durable base of individual coils isolates motion, meaning you’re less likely to wake up if your partner moves on or off the bed during the night.

Keep In Mind

While it’s still comfortable, the Aurora’s contouring isn’t as good as other mattresses listed here.

In a Nutshell

  • Pressure point relief
  • Lots of support
  • Good motion isolation
Best for Heavier Sleepers: WinkBed Plus
WinkBed Plus

A luxury hybrid developed specifically for heavier sleepers.

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Why We Picked It

The WinkBed Plus is a luxury hybrid mattress that includes both a supportive coil system and a comfortable, gel-infused foam that pulls heat away from your body. For heavier sleepers with sciatica pain, the WinkBed Plus is a great choice.

The mattress has technologies that are specifically geared for individuals with back pain—a three-step back relief system provides pressure point relief and spinal alignment, and extra foam supports your lumbar region so your back won’t sag. Each layer of the mattress works to support your back, hips, and shoulders, creating a comfortable and safe sleeping experience.

Keep In Mind

Since the WinkBed Plus is a hybrid, it doesn’t have that memory foam “feel” many people are used to. It also might be a little too firm for side sleepers.

In a Nutshell

  • Promotes spinal alignment
  • Pressure point relief
  • Plenty of support

How We Chose the Best Mattresses for Sciatica 

We considered the following factors as we chose the best mattresses for sciatica (learn more about our process here):

  • Material Quality
  • Durability
  • Conforming
  • Edge Support
  • Temperature Neutrality
  • Off-gassing
  • Motion Isolation

What is Sciatica? 

Sciatica is a type of back pain that’s caused by an issue in the sciatic nerve, the nerve that runs from your lower back down each leg. If you injure yourself or otherwise put pressure on the nerve, this can cause intense pain. Sciatica is very common—according to Harvard Health, almost half of people experience sciatic nerve pain at some point in their life.

Often, sciatica begins through a herniated disc in your lower spine. Your vertebrae are protected by discs of connective tissue, and these discs sometimes get worn down and pushed out of place. This puts pressure on the nerves around the disc, causing pain.

Symptoms of sciatica include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Pain in your rear or leg that worsens while sitting
  • Tingling or burning in your leg
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Constant pain on one side of the rear
  • Shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up

Sciatica generally only affects one side of the body. The pain caused by sciatica is excruciating for some, but mild for others. In addition to a herniated disc, other causes of sciatica include lumbar spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back), degenerative disc disease (the discs in your spine breaking down), and spondylolisthesis (one vertebra slipping forward).

You might be more at risk for sciatica if you’re pregnant, overweight, regularly wear high heels, or sleep on a mattress that is too hard or too soft. Sciatica can either be acute (temporary) or chronic. Acute sciatica will go away on its own within a few weeks (although you may experience multiple rounds of sciatic nerve pain in a year), while chronic sciatica is lifelong.

Sciatica and Sleep 

Sciatica and sleep have an important relationship: Sciatica can lead to trouble sleeping, and in turn, your mattress can either hurt or help. If you wake up in the morning and your sciatic pain has worsened overnight, you may need to think about whether you have the best mattress for sciatica. Rest generally helps sciatic pain improve—but only if you have a good mattress and you’re resting the right way.

Some individuals who experience sciatic pain sleep on the floor. In most cases this isn’t necessary, as you can improve your sciatica and sleep by other methods. Use tactics such as sleeping with your knees elevated, taking a warm bath before bed, or asking your doctor about pain-relief methods such as chiropractic care. Of course, you can also purchase a new mattress—the right kind of mattress go a long way toward relieving your sciatica symptoms.

Special Considerations for Sleepers with Sciatica 

The following mattress features are especially important for those with sciatica:

  • Support: When your body is aligned correctly, there isn’t as much pressure on your spine. For people who suffer from sciatica, spinal alignment is especially important. When it comes to mattresses, each mattress has a support core—layers that sit under the plush, top layers and make up the core of the mattress. The support core determines how far your body will sink into the mattress, and helps with spinal alignment. Look for a mattress with a durable support core.
  • Pressure Point Relief: If you have sciatica, you may already be familiar with the concept of pressure points—specific spots on your body that are more sensitive than others. Focusing treatment (such as massage) on these places can help relieve pain. Another way to eliminate pressure points is to purchase a mattress with good conforming abilities. How can you tell if a mattress conforms well? A mattress with good conforming will feel as if it “molds” itself to your body, providing a comfortable cradle in which you can sleep.
  • Firmness: It might be tempting to choose a very soft mattress for sciatic pain, but this may do more harm than good. Your body sinks down too far in a mattress that’s soft, throwing the spine out of alignment and causing even more pain. A medium-firm mattress is better; a firm sleeping surface generally feels good for individuals with sciatica, which is why they sometimes sleep on the floor! By purchasing a medium-firm mattress, however, you’ll be able to sleep in your own bed and not experience as much sciatic pain.
  • Durability: Look for a mattress that is durable, sturdy, and long-lasting. This isn’t only important from a financial standpoint—durability can actually indirectly impact spinal alignment, too. A durable mattress will continue to provide strong support for your back over time. A mattress that’s not durable, however, will sag and negatively impact spinal alignment.
  • Sleep Position: The position in which you sleep can make a big difference for your sciatica pain. If you sleep on your side, you’ll need to look for a mattress that has especially good conforming qualities. Back sleepers should purchase a medium-firm mattress with good support. And although stomach sleeping isn’t the ideal position for sciatica (it can make back pain worse), you’ll want a mattress that promotes good spinal alignment if you do prefer to sleep on your belly.

The Best Mattress Types for Sleepers with Sciatica 

Memory foam and latex mattresses both have good conforming abilities, so people with sciatica often prefer these types of mattress. All mattress types, however, have pros and cons when it comes to the best mattress for sciatica.

TypeProsCons
Memory Foam
  • Great contouring, which relieves pain
  • Help with spinal alignment
  • Fits with adjustable beds (often preferred for sciatica)
  • Sometimes tend to retain heat
  • Latex
  • Contours well and is still somewhat responsive
  • Pressure point relief
  • Can be pricey
  • Innerspring
  • Very supportive
  • Responsive and springy
  • Do not contour/conform well and may not support spinal alignment
  • Hybrid
  • Generally have good contouring
  • Still retain good support and some “bounce”
  • Can be heavy and difficult to move
  • Other Strategies for Sleepers with Sciatica 

    Here are a few other strategies and products that could help improve sciatica pain:

    • Pillows: The right type of pillow can go a long way in improving sciatica pain. If you sleep on your side, place a contoured pillow between your knees to keep your spine aligned. You may also want a two-piece wedge cushion to place behind your back when you recline.
    • Knee pillows: A knee pillow is a specially designed, ergonomically shaped cushion that goes between your knees to support your lower back throughout the night. Knee pillows are often made with memory foam, just like many of the best mattresses for sciatica pain. Knee pillows are often a better choice than normal pillows because they won’t get flat over time. A knee pillow can support your spinal alignment.
    • Physical therapy/stretching: Your doctor may recommend physical therapy and/or at-home stretching to help with sciatica pain. Physical therapy is a way to help relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve. Chiropractic treatments might help, too. And yoga-based stretches—such as pigeon pose, a sitting spinal stretch, or a standing hamstring stretch—can often help reduce pain.
    • Regular exercise: One of the risk factors for developing sciatica is being sedentary, so by regularly working out, you can be proactive and prevent sciatica before it ever happens. If you already have sciatica pain, your doctor might still recommend exercise, as a controlled exercise program can help get at the root cause of your pain. The discs and muscles in your spine will become healthier through regular exercise.

    Speak with your doctor to diagnose sciatica and receive guidance on which of these options might be a good fit for you.

    Pregnancy and Sciatic Pain 

    Pregnant women often experience pain during pregnancy that’s similar to sciatica; this pain is often caused by weight gain placing pressure on the sciatic nerve. Here are some considerations to take into account when sleeping:

    • Sleep Position: During the second and third trimesters, pregnant women should sleep on their sides; this position keeps your blood circulating well and reduces the chance of swelling in your ankles and feet. If you are experiencing sciatic pain, sleep on your pain-free side if possible. A slightly softer mattress, mattress topper (a pad that lies on top of a mattress for an extra layer of comfort) can make this sleeping position more comfortable and help ease sciatic pain.
    • Pregnancy Pillow: Pregnancy pillows, specially shaped cushions that are designed to help pregnant women sleep more comfortably, can help alleviate pain during the night. These pillows encourage side sleeping by offering extra support. They’re not the shape of a traditional pillow—instead, they’re typically long, supporting your entire body. You can tuck them under your belly, between your knees, or wherever you need extra support and cushioning.
    • Stretching: Performing gentle stretches throughout the day can help reduce your pain level at night. Avoid stretches that involve lying on your back, but ask your doctor for a list of stretching exercises you can perform. Other low-impact exercise can relieve sciatica pain, too. Swimming, walking, yoga, and stationary cycling might all be good options if your doctor signs off of them.
    • Warm Compresses: Using a warm compress on your back at night can help relieve pain. Place the compress over the spot where you feel the pain; a heating pad on the lowest setting should do the trick.

    Related Resources 

    For more resources to help find the best mattress for you, click below:

    Hailey Hudson