If your back pain keeps you up at night, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their life, according to the American Chiropractic Association. That’s a lot of folks potentially losing shut-eye because of a bad back.
There’s good news: A few lifestyle tweaks could greatly improve your time spent snoozing. For starters, having the right pillow for your sleeping position is a small change that makes a world of a difference. The best pillows to prevent neck and back pain in side sleepers have a gusset that gives the pillow extra height and structure to properly support your neck and spine throughout the night. Side-sleeper pillows for the legs might help lower back pain caused by sleeping, too. Stomach and back sleepers, on the other hand, don’t need a gusset, but instead should look for pillows that are supportive and conform to the head.
“It’s best to err on the side of firmness, although what’s firm for one person might not be firm for another.”– TERRY CRALLE, CLINICAL SLEEP EDUCATOR
If changing your pillows hasn’t helped, it’s worth considering how your mattress affects your shut-eye, said clinical sleep educator Terry Cralle.
“If you suffer from back pain, being able to get a decent night’s sleep can make a world of difference, and having the best mattress for back pain can set you on the right path,” she said. ”When looking for a mattress, evaluate your sleep position to mitigate back pain, consider different mattress types, and don’t assume that high cost equals a quality mattress for back pain.”
Perhaps the best mattress for lower back pain is of medium-firm density, said Dr. Thanu Jey, a chiropractor and clinical director at Yorkville Sports Medicine Clinic in Toronto. You need a mattress that will support your upper back and take pressure off your lower back, Jey said.
A mattress that’s too soft will bow your spine as you sink into it, while a mattress that’s too hard can put unnecessary pressure on aches and pains, especially if you’re a heavier person. “That being said, it’s best to err on the side of firmness, although what’s firm for one person might not be firm for another,” Cralle said. “You need a firmness that supports your back in its natural position.”
If you’re ready to ditch your current bed and buy the next one that promises to relieve your aches and pains, keep in mind that it’s probably a good idea to test out a new mattress before committing.
“Trials are the absolute best,” Jey said. “It’s really tricky to tell how your body will respond [to a new mattress] so making sure that you get a week or two to see how your body responds will make all the difference.”
To help you on your hunt for a better night’s sleep without middle back pain, lower back pain, neck pain or anything in between, we’ve rounded up some of the best medium-firm to extra-firm mattresses out there. Some are even mattresses with lumbar support that’ll help you rest easy all through the night.