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National Sleep Foundation said that their mattress is key to getting their best rest. But your desired sleep platform can impact way more than just the quality of your shuteye. Back pain sufferers, we’re lookin’ at you.
“We sleep nearly a third of our lives,” says Dr. Blake Dircksen, CSCS and physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York City. “It’s important to have a good mattress that sets you up for success.” If you're in the mattress for a new crash pad, and you've ever been dogged by back pain, start here.
Read more: Men's Health Sleep Awards
A budget buy that gets delivered in a box straight to your door: It doesn’t get much easier than this. The Casper mattress is a simple option that allows you to go in and try the options for yourself—critical to homing in on the best-comfort pick for your back. Plus, it's got zoned support, which treats your shoulders and hips differently for better alignment and deeper coziness.
This option is considered a firm option to help reduce back pain, which makes it great for a guy with back issues. Made with memory foam, it still feels plush to the touch while providing the support he’s looking for. Plus, it’s got what they call MaxCold cover, for a cooling sensation.
It’s hard to choose a mattress—especially if it’s your first. Let’s make the choice easy. Coming in at more than a reasonable price, this “bed in a box” is made from Tuft & Needle’s own “adaptive foam,” providing you with a bouncier feel—and lots of comfort and support for your back. It’s a fine balance between not-too-hard and not-too-soft, which means: pain relief. You get a 100-night trial with it, so if you’re not satisfied (or are still suffering), simply send it back.
Feel like you’re in a furnace when you’re in bed? You’re not alone. Plenty of guys sleep on the hotter side, so it’ll help your sleep quality if you’ve got a cooling mattress. This one from Brooklyn Bedding is our top pick for guys with back pain: Featuring a top layer of foam to target pressure point relief and infused with TitanCool—a molecule that maintains body temp at an optimal 88 degrees—this luxury mattress is well worth the price of admission. The tech doesn’t end there: the smooth top weave gives you an extra boost of cool. Plus, you can choose between soft, medium, and firm depending on your preference. A premium mattress has never been so worth it for warm sleepers.
Tempur-Pedic prides itself for using pressure-relieving material developed by NASA to absorb the g-fore of astronauts during launches. The ProAdapt model comes in four levels: soft, medium, medium hybrid and firm. In reviews, customers rave about how the medium and firm options have helped relieve prior back aches. Plus, you can return the mattress for up to 90 days if it doesn't work for you.
Athletes, this one’s for you. Infused with CopperCool gel foam technology, this special pick from PerformaSleep helps support the back and joints and maintain a comfortable temperature—all while aiding in essential muscle recovery from all those heavy lifts during your morning gym session.
If you have a bad back but prefer something less firm, check out Nest. This soft-as-hell mattress relieves pressure like no other and screams “luxury.” It’s made from a blend of pocket coils and memory foam that provides basically a cloud to sleep on. It falls on Nest Bedding’s own 7 to 7.5 range for softness (10 being the highest), so if you prefer the softer variety of mattress, it’s a no-brainer. It’s a memory foam mattress that’s fit for a king.
How To Find the Best Mattress for Men With Back Pain
Just like the conditions for a great night’s sleep, a whole bunch of factors come into play here. The age and firmness of your mattress are a great place to start. Researchers agree that saggy mattresses (think waterbed and overly soft foam) are less than ideal for back pain sufferers, according to one Danish study. Some even say that medium-firm mattresses are superior to firm mattresses for reducing specific low-back pain. Regardless of what the science says, it really comes down to personal preference.
"Comfort is king," says Whitley. "Take your time at the store or warehouse and really get a feel for the bed. Try out your preferred sleeping position and draw up a conclusion. And remember: Often your first impression will be accurate."
Sleeping position can also play a big part in how your back feels in the morning. Just like firmness, that’s a personal preference. “The optimal position for each individual will be different,” says Whitley. “The important thing is to avoid [pain-inducing] positioning by using pillows to prop yourself.”
For example, if you sleep on your stomach, place a pillow under your hips to avoid excessive lumbar extension. If you sleep on your back, try putting a pillow under your knees to keep the pelvis in more of a mid-range. If you’re a side-sleeper, try placing a pillow between your legs to keep the hips from diving in. The idea is to keep your spine from curving waaay out toward the end of its range of motion.
Last but not least, we can’t forget about resting sleep temperature. Sleeping too warm can make you toss and turn often, resulting in a less-than-ideal quality of rest.
Read more: Best Sleep Gadgets for Men
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