Guide to Choosing the Best Mattress for Sciatica (2022)

Sciatica (or lumbar radiculopathy) pain along the sciatic nerve. It's often a symptom of a herniated disc, degenerated disc, arthritis, or injury. It causes radiating pain from the lower back region down the legs. Being unable to sleep when in recovery deprives you of restorative sleep, prolonging symptoms, and making you feel miserable. The best mattress for sciatica could bring you more sleep comfort, and ease sciatica symptoms. Let’s talk about what to look for in the best mattress for sciatica back pain

A mattress that cushions sore spots is crucial to regain sleep comfort

    About Sciatica 

    Sciatica is a condition that radiates pain from the lower back region down the legs, usually down one side of the body. When the sciatic nerve is pinched or experiences pressure, sciatic pain can be felt. The pain can be chronic or short term and make it almost impossible to get a good night’s sleep. A mattress that cushions sore spots is crucial to regain sleep comfort.  

    Sleeping with Sciatica

    What does sciatica feel like? A few common signs of sciatica include: 

    • Experiencing a burning sensation in your calf 
    • Pain that radiates down your lower back to your legs
    • Experiencing sudden nerve pain that feels like an electric shock 

    Some causes of sciatica include: 

    • Slipped herniated disc
    • Degenerative disc disease 
    • Pregnancy 
    • Lack of exercise 
    • Injury
    • Obesity  
    • Tumors 
    • Pelvic injury or fracture 

    Tips for Sleeping With Sciatica 

    If you suspect you may have sciatica, see your doctor as soon as possible to discuss possible treatment and pain management. To help you sleep, the may recommend one or more of the following strategies. 

    Take a Warm Bath Before Bed

    A warm bath is soothing and sleep-inducing. It can work wonders on sore muscles, easing pain and tension, helping you sleep better too. A warm bath with Epsom salt or your favorite bubble bath could ease sciatic pain. Get some help if you can to get in and out of the bath, as such motion can be difficult when experiencing back pain. If alone, ease into the bath carefully and keep your cell phone close by in case of an emergency (or to listen to some relaxing music). 

    Practice Stretching or Yoga

    People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years, you’ll probably find a yoga practice on every corner of your town! Exercise is a great cure for many ailments, especially insomnia. When experiencing back pain it may seem impossible to even think about exercise. But, some light stretching before bed and in the morning may help to relieve some discomfort. Even better, you could try some stretches after a hot bath when your muscles are relaxed.   

    Use a Neck Pillow 

    A sciatica pillow can be any high-quality pillow that keeps your spine aligned. When your head is on a firm quality pillow, rather than a soft fluffy pillow that your head sinks into, lower back pain can be reduced because your spine is perfectly aligned and your head is fully supported.    

    Try Elevating Your Knees

    The best mattress for sciatica back and leg pain can be improved further by putting a wedge pillow, or thick pillow under your knees as you lay on your back. Sleeping with your knees elevated is a comfortable sleep position by relieving pressure on the sensitive nerves in your back, and lumbar discs. You can enjoy these benefits as a side sleeper too but placing a pillow between your knees.  

    Sleep on a Supportive Mattress 

    The best mattress for sciatic nerve pain is of medium firmness support and won’t sink your body into the mattress like some memory foams. It’s a myth that those suffering from back pain must sleep on the hardest mattress possible. The best mattress for back pain will cradle your body in a supportive hug, without sinkage or pushback. 

    Use Ice on Sore Areas 

    An ice pack on your lower back just before bed could ease any tension. Sports packs are used my athletes all the time to relieve discomfort from sports injuries and strains. Apply an ice pack to reduce inflammation in the lower back region. 

    An uncomfortable mattress can exacerbate already uncomfortable symptoms 

    Can a Mattress Cause Sciatica Pain? 

    It is unlikely that your mattress causing sciatica pain, as the root cause of this condition relates to the nerves. Certainly, an uncomfortable mattress can exacerbate already uncomfortable symptoms. 

    Learn more about the best mattress for back pain, here

    What Makes a Mattress Good for Sciatica? 

    Temperature Regulation

    When sleeping with Sciatica, ensure your bedroom thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature. Sleeping in a too-hot or too-cold room disturbs restorative sleep, causing more discomfort. Invest in some cozy bedding that keeps you warm and comfortable.  

    Edge Support

    The best mattress for sciatica back pain doesn’t necessarily need to include edge support. But, the extra support on a mattress can make it more comfortable to climb in and out of bed. Experiencing back pain can make such actions extremely uncomfortable. A mattress with edge support may bring a little more comfort but it’s not essential.  

    Pressure Relief 

    The best mattress for sciatica sufferers is pressure relieving, cooling, and durable. Pressure relief is essential in providing sleep comfort as the body is gently cradled and supported.

    Instead of sinking too far into a memory foam mattress, opt for a modern pressure-relieving mattress. Both Airfoam™ and natural latex provide pressure relief without allowing too much give, which misaligns the spine.

    Ease of Movement 

    The best mattress for back pain allows you to easily move around the bed with ease. When sciatica pain flares up, it can be difficult to find comfort in the same position for long. 

    Some memory foam mattresses create sinkholes like quicksand, making it difficult to shift into a more comfortable position. AirFoam™ and natural latex both contour to your body, but they respond to movement quickly. This allows you to reposition yourself with ease.

    Best Mattress for Sciatica

    The best mattress for lower back pain sciatica, let’s compare Airfoam™ to other styles.

    AirFoam™ vs.

    Pressure Relief 

    Temperature Regulation 

    AirFoam™ vs. Innerspring mattress for sciatica 

    AirFoam™: Excellent 

    Innerspring: Poor 

    AirFoam™: Excellent 

    Innerspring: Moderate 

    AirFoam™ vs. Memory Foam mattress for sciatica 

    AirFoam™: Excellent 

    Memory Foam: Poor 

    AirFoam™: Excellent

    Memory Foam: Poor

    AirFoam™ vs. Latex mattress for sciatica 

    AirFoam™: Excellent 

    Latex: Excellent 

    AirFoam™: Excellent

    Latex: Good  

    What Mattress Firmness is Best for Sciatica?

    Mattress firmness can be subjective but the best mattress for lower back pain is pressure relieving. This ensures your body is gently supported rather than sinking into the mattress or feeling a too-firm pushback. Less pressure on your hips and shoulders allows for greater sleep comfort. Thus, a pressure relieving mattress of medium firmness is often the best mattress for sciatica back pain

    Best Sleeping Position for Sciatica 

    The best sleeping position for sciatica is usually side or back sleeping, as these positions keep your spine aligned better than stomach sleeping. As a back sleeper, put a pillow under your knees so they’re elevated off the mattress. This eases pressure on your lower back. As a side sleeper, put a pillow between your knees to align the hips. Ensure you have a quality pillow under your head so your neck is supported. Neck pain from a poor quality pillow can radiate down your back and exacerbate sciatica pain further.


    Sciatica is an unpleasant condition, it steals nighttime comfort, restorative sleep, and active days. Choosing the best mattress for sciatica back pain may not cure the condition completely but a pressure relieving mattress, sleeping with a pillow under your knees, or behind your knees, can go a long way in providing some sleep comfort. Healing is aided by restful sleep and a comfortable mattress is a good start. 

    Compare and Shop Nolah's Premium Mattresses

    What Mattress Firmness Is Best for Sciatica?

    Mattress firmness can be subjective but a pressure relieving mattress could provide much comfort with managing sciatica. Some memory foams may be too soft and sinking, while some hybrids and latex mattresses may be a little too firm. A pressure relieving mattress of medium firmness could be ideal for those with sciatica. 

    Can a Mattress Cause Sciatica Pain?

    A mattress is not likely to cause sciatica but a poor quality mattress can contribute to sciatica symptoms. If the mattress is lumpy, bumpy, too soft, or too hard, you may feel discomfort as you try to sleep. Try sleeping with a pillow under your knees if you’re a back sleeper, or between your knees as a side sleeper. 

    How to Sleep With Sciatica

    Sciatica is a condition where pain radiates from the lower back down the legs. It can be almost impossible to find a comfortable sleep position but enjoying a warm bath, gentle stretching, yoga, or massage can help you find some sleep comfort. Elevating your knees is widely known to help sciatica sufferers.