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There’s nothing worse than trying to fall asleep on an uncomfortable bed. Getting a good night’s sleep can be even harder to come by when you suffer from arthritis. That’s why it’s imperative to find a mattress that fits your specific needs and helps relieve any aches and pains.
“Having a quality mattress is a good investment because it helps make sure you wake up feeling healthy and energized,” confirms Steven Shoshany, D.C., Director and Founder of NYC Chiropractic and Spinal Decompression Center. And since humans spend over a third of their lives sleeping, it only makes sense to buy a comfortable mattress that makes your life a little easier.
When looking for a mattress for arthritis, there are a few factors to keep in mind. You’ll want to take the mattress’s firmness level, materials, and ability to relieve pressure into consideration in order to best alleviate pain.
“Pain can vary significantly and your mattress can impact your arthritis-related pain,” says rheumatologist Siddharth Tambar, M.D., with Chicago Arthritis and Regenerative Medicine. “Sleeping positions make a difference as well; for some people, lying flat while sleeping may not be comfortable for their lower back [and] for others, lying on the side may irritate their hip or shoulder.”
We researched dozens of mattresses and evaluated them for reviews, mattress type, materials, thickness and firmness levels, and return policies. Each of the mattresses chosen in this article were determined to be the best of these factors.
Here are the best mattresses for arthritis on the market today.
Layers of foam and coils
Not ideal for stomach sleepers
Lacking edge support
May be too soft for heavyweight sleepers
At first glance, the hybrid mattress from Tuft & Needle doesn’t look all that impressive: its clean lines and neutral gray color don’t exactly scream luxury comfort. But don’t be fooled by its simple appearance; with multiple layers designed to keep you comfortable while you sleep, this is a foam mattress that prioritizes function over form.
Inside that unassuming exterior, you’ll find individually-wrapped springs, which reduce motion transfer and respond to all of your middle-of-the-night position changes, along with two layers of foam and a comfy pillow top. The foam layers are also with graphite to wick away more heat than many other foam mattresses, keeping you cool while you sleep.
The Tuft & Needle hybrid is a medium-firm mattress, which makes it a perfect fit for the majority of users. Speaking of users, many reviewers rave about never wanting to leave this bed in the morning (and, most importantly, waking up pain free). The Tuft & Needle checks so many boxes, it was an obvious choice for our Best Overall pick; plus, if you’re not happy with you, you have 100 days to return it for something else.
Firmness: Medium firm Thickness: 12 inches Type: Foam and springs Trial Length: 100 days
Best Budget-Friendly Mattress:Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
Affordable with frequent discounts
Two layers designed for cooling
Works for all sleeping positions
Takes a long time to “off-gas,” i.e. get rid of its chemical smell
Contours closely, so it may be harder to shift positions
Worried that buying a mattress online will a) cost a fortune and b) leave you stuck with a mattress you hate after the first few weeks? The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress addresses both of those concerns: with an affordable price tag and a full year (yes, 365 days) to return it, there’s almost no risk—and potentially a lot of reward—in choosing a Nectar.
Nectar is a foam-only mattress, meaning it has no springs or coils, which people either love or hate; if you want a closely-conforming sleep surface that’s supremely gentle on your joints and pressure points, an all-foam mattress like the Nectar is exactly what you need (but people who really need the “bounce” of a traditional mattress may be less than thrilled). Still, the Nectar has more than a few things to love, like multiple layers designated for cooling, a stable base layer, and almost no motion transfer between co-sleepers.
Firmness: Medium firm Thickness: 12 inches Type: Foam Trial Length: 365 days
Best Mid-Range:Saatva Classic Mattress
A traditional mattress, not a bed in a box
Dual-coil design with multiple cushioning layers
Customized firmness and mattress height
Some arthritis sufferers may be uncomfortable with spring mattresses
Doesn’t reduce motion transfer between sleeping partners as well as foam
If you’re looking for a mattress that falls right in the middle of economy and luxury, the Saatva Classic Mattress retails at around $1,400 for a queen size and is a great choice for arthritis sufferers. As far as specs, we love all that the Saatva has to offer: sag-proof inner coils, a three-inch pillow top, customizable firmness levels, and strong, structured edges for stability. You also get 180 days to decide if the Saatva Classic is right for you, so if you’re worried about the impact of innersprings on your arthritis, you can change your mind if it’s just not a comfy fit.
Firmness: Plush soft, luxury firm, and firm Thickness: 11.5 or 14.5 inches Type: Innerspring Trial Length: 180 days
Reduced motion transfer for co-sleepers
Dual-sided mattress for soft or firm support
Removable cover for washing
No medium firmness option
Lacking edge support
Don’t know if you need a softer mattress or a firmer one? Shopping for a guest room that might house guests with different sleep needs? Or are you just put off by the idea of having to test out a mattress in-home only to return it if it doesn’t work out?
The folks at Layla know how intimidating the world of online mattress-buying can be, so they’ve created a flippable model—meaning one side features a soft sleeping surface and the other side features a firm one, so you can literally flip the mattress over to get the perfect level of firmness for you. Deep inside the Layla Hybrid Mattress is a six-inch layer of individually-wrapped coils, surrounded (on both sides) by extra layers of foam. So whatever side you choose to sleep on, you can rest assured—pun intended—that you’re getting the best that the Layla Hybrid has to offer.
The mattress also features antimicrobial odor protection, a removable cover for easy washing, and could be used by all kinds of sleepers, from stomach to back to side.
Firmness: Soft or firm, depending on side used Thickness: 13 inches Type: Foam and springs Trial Length: 120 days
Best Cooling:WinkBed Mattress
Four firmness options, including “firm plus”
Extra edge support
Three layers of heat dispersion to help you sleep cool
Not as conforming as a typical memory foam mattress
It could be hard to get your firmness level right out of four choices
Not ideal for side sleepers
If you’re rolling your eyes at other mattresses’ claims of cooling features, reserve all judgment until you hear about The WinkBed—on top of being an ultra-comfy foam and spring mattress available in four different firmness levels, it devotes three whole layers to keeping you cool while you sleep.
Using patented Triple Layer Heat Dispersion technology, The WinkBed’s top half is made with eucalyptus-based Tencel fabric, a gel-infused memory foam pillow top that doesn’t retain heat, and an airflow-promoting system of pocketed coils. Together, these three features help wick away moisture, increase breathability, and encourage an overall cool, dry sensation while you sleep. To top it all off, its edge system is reinforced to provide maximum support if you’re a “half out of the sheets at night” kind of sleeper.
Firmness: Soft, firm, firmer, and firm plus Thickness: 13.5 inches Type: Foam and springs Trial Length: 120 days
Designed to alleviate back pain with zoned support
Continuous pressure point relief while sleeping
Layers of cooling gel and breathable foam
More expensive than other options on the list
May not be firm enough for some sleepers
We’re sure a lot of the mattresses on this list are back pain-friendly, but the Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress is the only one that sings its own praises of reducing and relieving back pain, thanks to its gel-based ergonomic pods, or “zones.” Designed to lift your pressure points—reducing both sagging and pain—these zones help keep your spine in perfect alignment while you sleep, whatever position you choose.
On top of that, the Wave includes a perforated gel layer for cooling, an upper foam layer that hugs your curves, and deep-set, sturdy springs meant to maintain the shape and integrity of your mattress for years. Reviewers don’t hold back when it comes to the Casper Wave, comparing it to sleeping on a cloud and claiming it’s helped them sleep longer and better through the night.
Firmness: Medium Thickness: 13 inches Type: Foam Trial Length: 100 days
Best Customizable Mattress:Helix Sleep Custom Mattress
Sleep quiz helps you identify what mattress features you need
Pressure point relief for side sleepers
Reinforced edge support
Not ideal for heavyweight sleepers
Won’t appeal to sleepers who like a plush or cozy feel
There are a lot of mattresses under the Helix umbrella, but don’t panic about choosing the best one for you—the personalized sleep quiz can take care of that, ensuring that you get the right model, with the perfect firmness and sleep support, to accommodate your unique needs.
By taking the two-minute questionnaire (answering questions about how you sleep, who you sleep with, and how often you feel pain after sleeping all night), Helix narrows down your mattress options to hone in on that “just right” choice. Or, if you prefer to search the options for yourself, Helix makes it easy to identify the right mattress for you based on your preferred firmness level, your pressure point and body contouring needs, and your preferred sleeping position.
Regardless of the mattress you choose, you have 100 days to decide if you want to keep it or switch it out for another style.
Firmness: Medium firm Thickness: 12 inches Type: Foam Trial Length: 100 days
The Tuft & Needle Hybrid Mattress (view at Tuft & Needle) has something for everyone: foam and spring construction, a plush pillowtop, exceptional cooling and motion absorption, and a middle-of-the-road price point. If you’re just looking for a generally-supportive mattress without too many confusing bells and whistles, this could be the one for you.
For budget-minded shoppers, the The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress (view at Nectar) boasts similar features as the Tuft & Needle, but with a lower price point and a longer trial period (365 days). Finally, if it’s back pain relief you’re looking for, we recommend the Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress (view at Casper); its zoned support is made to reduce pressure points and move with you as you sleep.
What to Look for in Mattresses for Arthritis
In order for a bed to give you the proper support, it needs to be more firm than it is soft. So it’s important to find mattresses that have layers beneath the memory foam to add a little resistance, while still providing the comfort needed to cushion your joints.
Dr. Shoshany says it’s important to avoid a sinking bed because if it sags with time it “will start canopying and that’ll create a whole list of problems down the road.” According to the Sleep Foundation, sagging mattresses can throw your spinal alignment out of whack, increasing pain and pressure in your neck and back.
At the same time, you can’t go so overboard with the firmness level that it feels like you’re sleeping on a rock. According to Dr. Tambar, “you should be looking for a mattress that is firm enough to offer adequate support for your neck and lower back, but soft enough to allow you to lie on your side without causing aches in your hips and shoulders.”
Buying a mattress to help with arthritic pain is a very purposeful process. You will want to look for a mattress that highlights the specific target areas for relieving aches and pains, such as the shoulders, hips, and lower back.
For many consumers, a major source of pressure relief comes from memory foam mattresses rather than coiled mattresses. Foam helps to relieve pressure points in the body without feeling too soft, which is helpful for anyone suffering from joint pain.
“We don’t want sagging in any specific areas,” explains Dr. Shoshany. “I think for someone that has arthritis, memory foam over coils is really good.”
Interestingly, there is some debate over whether latex foam or memory foam is better for relieving painful pressure points; while most people opt right for memory foam, assuming it to be superior, a 2017 study in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine suggests that latex foam may outperform the traditional polyurethane memory foam, better reducing body pressure and more evenly distributing pressure points as well.
In an ideal world, you would buy a mattress in person so you can test it out by lying on it in the position you sleep in at home before committing, says Vinicius Domingues, M.D., rheumatologist from Florida and a medical advisor to CreakyJoints.
“While there are a lot of new options for mattresses now, like hot and cool temperatures or variable, adjustable firmness, for the person with arthritis the most important factor is whether you have enough support to achieve a neutral angle,” he explains.
But it may not be affordable or even feasible for you to drive around from store to store testing out mattresses—and the market for online mattress retailers has been booming lately, making it easier than ever to buy online, try the mattress out in your own home, and then decide if you like it enough to keep it.
Considering the trial period on your mattress is particularly important when you’re buying your mattress online and haven’t gotten the chance to test it out in-person. It takes a while to “break in” a new mattress, so the longer the trial period the better. Most online mattress retailers offer at least a 100-day trial period, while some offer as long as 365 days to send it back if you don’t like it.
However long the trial period, we suggest looking into the terms and conditions of any return policy: while a company may say you can simply return it if you hate it, there may be restrictions or exclusions that apply to your purchase.
Your Preferred Sleep Position
Mattress manufacturers often design mattresses to accommodate back, side, or stomach sleepers since different sleeping positions usually require different types of support. One 2010 study in Applied Ergonomics suggests that sleeping-related pain can be reduced in people with lower back pain when they choose the right sleeping surface for their preferred sleep position.
It’s important to purchase a mattress made for the type of sleeping you usually do, especially if you suffer from arthritis.
“A mattress cannot affect arthritis, but your quality of sleep and whether you experience increased pain because of how the mattress supports you are reasons to concentrate on finding a comfortable position on the mattress,” says Dr. Domingues. “People with lordosis…may find that stomach sleeping is uncomfortable [while] people living with spondylitis or ankylosing spondylitis need to especially support their back.”
Frequently Asked Questions
What level of firmness is best for people with arthritis?
Unfortunately, there’s no cut-and-dry answer to this question. Finding the right mattress firmness for your arthritis symptoms is highly individualized, says Dr. Tambar: “There is not one specific mattress firmness that is best for arthritis; for some people a softer mattress offers more comfort, and for others a more firm mattress offers more support.”
We can help you determine the level of support that would be the most beneficial for you, though. Dr. Domingues recommends considering your weight, for one: he says a person weighing 400 pounds will have a different experience on a soft mattress than a person weighing 150 pounds. (In general, a higher weight requires a firmer mattress to avoid sinking or sagging.)
You also have to consider whether the mattress is the right firmness for the amount of pressure you tend to place on your spine when you sleep.
“It’s important that the mattress be firm enough to allow a person to maintain a neutral angle, where the hip and spine, and the neck and spine, are aligned,” says Dr. Domingues. “It’s all about the pressure you make from hip to spine that determines whether you might experience more pain.”
Are there any mattress firmness levels that can further irritate arthritis?
Again, it’s highly individualized, says Dr. Tambar. In general, a firmer mattress is preferred over a softer one for people with arthritis, especially arthritis of the back. At the same time, Dr. Tambar warns that a firm mattress can irritate the myofascial structures under the skin, leading to more pain.
Basically, mattresses aren’t made “bad” or “good.” The only bad mattress is one that doesn’t support you enough to allow for proper alignment, or which causes or worsens chronic pain.
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