Best Mattress for Back Sleepers

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
April 5, 2022
min read


Back pain is a common problem for many people. Over one-third of the United States adult population suffers from back pain. From regular lower back pain to sciatic nerve pain, back pain sufferers can find comfort in the right mattress.

If you experience back pain when you wake up in the morning, your mattress may be the problem. There are several reasons why your mattress may be causing you unnecessary pain. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it. We created this guide to help you understand why you experience back pain with your current mattress and how to find the best mattress for back pain.

What Is the Best Type of Mattress for Back Pain?

The best type of mattress for back pain is the one that fits your sleeping style and provides the proper support to keep your spine in a neutral alignment. Unfortunately, there isn't a one-mattress-fits-all for everyone with back pain, but there are a few options we'll talk about that can help you narrow in on the right one.

Before we dive into which mattress you should get to help your back pain, it's important to understand what's causing your back pain. Without that knowledge, you may find yourself getting the wrong type of mattress again and continuing to suffer.

What Is Causing My Back Pain?

Several factors cause back pain. A few culprits include:

  • Poor posture
  • Sitting for extended periods
  • Unsupportive mattress
  • Mattress firmness
  • Your preferred sleep position

This list does not include every possible reason you may suffer from back pain, but it does provide a few common examples. Because sleeping generally takes up a third of a person's life, the mattress you sleep on can play a helpful or harmful role in your overall sleep quality and back pain. If you find yourself still struggling with back pain, even after focusing on using correct posture and not sitting for long periods each day, you may need to take a closer look at your mattress.

Is My Mattress Responsible for My Back and Neck Pain?

Depending on your mattress and how you sleep, your mattress could very well be responsible for your back, neck, or even shoulder pain. A mattress that doesn't provide the right balance of comfort and support for your specific needs can cause you back pain.

If you have an older mattress, it may not provide you the proper support it once did. Proper support helps with spinal alignment, and as your mattress wears down, its structure also gives out. If you notice you have lumps or sagging in your mattress, it may be time to get a new one, especially before back pain comes into the picture.

Your mattress may also not be the right fit for your preferred sleep position. From stomach sleepers to back and side sleepers, the right mattress can make all the difference depending on how you sleep. Too soft of a mattress may cause stress to your lumbar spine, or your lower back, and result in pain, even chronic pain if not corrected. When you sleep on the right mattress for your preferred sleeping position, it can help keep your spine in alignment and help you wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free.

Although there are various reasons why you may suffer from back pain, your mattress could be responsible. Knowing how to pick the right mattress can provide pain relief and help you gain better sleep.

Types of Back Pain

Back pain can come in many different forms and intensities, and it can be important to know what type of back pain you suffer from. From lower back pain to sciatic nerve pain and more, not all back pain is created equal. Here is a list of several different types of back pain:

  • Muscle strains
  • Pinched nerves
  • Herniated discs
  • Vertebra fracture
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pain caused through natural aging

There are several other types of back pain, all of which can be aggravated by the wrong type of mattress. But the right mattress can help provide comfort, offer pressure relief to joints, and aid in proper alignment of the spine.

How to Choose the Best Mattress for Back Pain

Not all mattresses are created equal. There are many different types of mattresses you can choose from. From in-store mattresses to online mattresses, hybrid mattresses to memory foam mattresses, even different firmness options, you have many options to consider as you look for a mattress to help with your back pain.

The most important thing to consider when looking for a mattress is what will help alleviate or prevent future back pain. We recommend always talking with your doctor about how to best take care of back pain, but you can also find a few suggestions and factors to look for in getting a mattress that can help.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mattress for Back Pain

There are several factors you should consider when looking for a mattress to help with back pain. Your sleeping position, your comfort preferences, and even how much you can spend on a mattress are all important. As you read over the different factors, we also recommend you go and try out different mattresses. You'll never know for sure if a mattress helps your back pain if you don't try it first.

Mattress Type

The type of mattress you sleep on can make a big difference in how comfortably you sleep. There are several types of mattresses, including innerspring, memory foam, hybrid, latex, and more. Some types of mattresses are better at pressure point relief than others.

Innerspring mattresses use many different coils to help support you as you sleep. This older type of mattress isn't great at providing pressure point relief and may cause unnecessary pain when you wake up in the morning.

Memory foam mattresses are great at cushioning pressure points, such as shoulders and hips. They also do a great job at supporting you and helping keep your spine in a neutral alignment. The only downside is they aren't great at airflow and can cause you to sleep hot.

A hybrid mattress is another good option to sleep on. It combines comfort layers of memory foam or latex with pocketed coils to provide comfort, support, and help keep you cool while you sleep. It's a great choice for hot sleepers and may even be what you need to help alleviate your back pain.

Latex mattresses are great options made from natural materials that are used for people who prefer environmentally friendly beds. They also offer good support and comfort, while helping you sleep relatively cooler than a memory foam mattress.


Density typically refers to memory foam mattresses. Although density is different from mattress firmness, the two are very closely related. If a memory foam mattress is denser, it tends to be more firm. Depending on your comfort preferences, body weight, and sleeping position, you may prefer a mattress that is less dense or denser than another.

Mattress firmness will play a big role in how your back feels while you sleep. If you have too firm or too soft of a mattress, it can prevent you from keeping your spine in alignment and even cause excess or unnecessary pain.

We recommend a medium-firm mattress in most cases, as it is the most common mattress that fits almost everyone's sleep position and personal preferences. Your needs and preferences may be different, though, so make sure to test out different firmness levels to find the right option for you.

Pain Points

The mattress you choose should help cushion your pain and pressure points. Common pain and pressure points are the neck, shoulders, hips, and lower back. The lower back, or lumbar region, is especially important to care for if you suffer from back pain. Look for a mattress that will cradle those pressure points to give you both pain relief and pressure relief. This will help you sleep better and not wake up stiff or sore.

Sleeping Position

Your sleeping position can make a big difference in what mattress you should choose. Stomach sleepers may suffer from back pain more than back or stomach sleepers and should look into a firmer mattress to better support their hips while they sleep. A mattress that is too soft will cause excess pressure on the lower back and can leave you with back pain.

Side and back sleepers may benefit from a medium-soft to medium-firm mattress to help maintain proper spine alignment. A slightly softer mattress will help cradle the pressure points of the hips and the shoulders while still providing that support your back needs for all-night comfort.


Don't underestimate the importance of your personal comfort preferences. Just because we offer a suggestion for which mattresses might benefit you, it doesn't mean that it is necessarily what you should go with. A mattress that helps you sleep at night and wake up feeling refreshed and without pain is the mattress you should go with. If you like softer mattresses and they don't cause you unnecessary pain, stick with a softer mattress. If you prefer a firmer mattress, look for one that helps your back pain. There are many different mattresses to choose from to fit your preferences.


The cost and value of a mattress are also important considerations when looking for something new. The price of your mattress shouldn't keep you up at night, but you should still look for a high-quality mattress that will last a long time and help you sleep better.

There are many different mattress brands out there at the price range you're looking at. With Purple, you know you are getting the best mattress for the price. We even have several types of mattresses to choose from to make sure you're getting the right one for you.

We also recommend getting a smaller mattress to save on cost. King mattresses can be relatively expensive no matter where you look, so consider getting a queen mattress instead. You won't be sacrificing as much bed space as you think, and it can save you a few hundred dollars.

Trial and Return Policy

When you deal with back pain, the last thing you want is to be stuck with a mattress for the next five to ten years. Look for a mattress that has a generous trial and return policy. For example, here at Purple, we let you try out any mattress for 100 nights. We understand that it takes time to decide whether you chose the right mattress or not. One to two nights just won't allow you to know for sure. 100 nights is plenty of time to figure out if you've gotten the right mattress.

We also have a 10-year warranty. The average life of a mattress is 10 years and we want to make sure you're completely satisfied. If anything were to ever go wrong with your mattress that was out of your control during the 10 years you've had it, we will gladly replace it for free. Just contact us and we'll help you out.

Best Mattress for Back Pain 2022

Purple offers a unique and comfortable mattress for all your back pain needs. With our patented GelFlex Grid technology, you'll sleep better than ever. We know how important sleep is, especially comfortable sleep. And if you suffer from back pain, it can prevent you from getting the best sleep possible. This is why we designed our mattresses to support nearly any sleep position, comfort preference, and price range. When you get a Purple mattress, you get quality sleep.

Best Mattress for Back Sleepers with Back Pain

Our Purple mattress is a great choice for back sleepers. This mattress is our most firm mattress. With two inches of our GelFlex Grid as well as a dual comfort foam layer to provide you with superb back support and comfort all night long. Purple's unique design also keeps you cool while you sleep, so you never wake up hot.

Frequently Asked Questions About Back Pain

What sleep position is best for back pain sufferers?

The best sleep position for back pain sufferers is on your back. Sleeping on your back is better and easier for keeping your spine in alignment. As you lie flat on your back, it can keep your hips, shoulders, and head in a more neutral position, helping to keep your spine stable.

What firmness is best for back pain?

The best firmness for back pain depends on your sleeping position and body weight. If you sleep on your stomach or are heavier, you may benefit from a firmer mattress to better support your weight and hips. If you sleep on your side or your back, a medium-soft to medium-firm mattress may be the right firmness level to cradle your pressure points and keep your spine in a neutral alignment.

Can sleeping position affect back pain?

Sleeping position can affect back pain. Sleeping on your stomach can often cause back pain and is generally not recommended. Sleeping on your side is better as long as you keep your shoulders and hips aligned with one another. Twisted hips or shoulders could cause back pain.

Is a memory foam mattress bad for your back?

Memory foam mattresses are not bad for your back as long as you get the right firmness and support level. We recommend a Purple mattress, which combines our patented GelFlex Grid with foam comfort layers to provide the best support and comfort for your back.