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National Sleep Foundation said that their mattress is the 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.
But don't take our word for it. “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.”
Bottom line: If you're going to spend years of your life in bed, you want it to be as comfortable, supportive, and pain-free as possible. But that's not always easy if you suffer from back pain. Which is why you might need a specific type of mattress with specialized support. If you're in the market for a new crash pad, and you've ever been dogged by back pain, start here. These are the eight best mattresses for men with back pain in 2023.
When sleepers think of a “mattress in a box,” Casper is arguably the brand that comes to mind. It’s a budget-friendly buy that gets delivered in a box straight to your door: Setup doesn’t get much easier than this. Just lug the box into place near your bed, unroll the shrink-wrapped mattress atop your mattress box spring or bunky, and watch it expand into place. Voilà! It boasts a long list of features that make it one of the best mattresses for men with back pain. Most notably: The zoned support offers three targeted ergonomic zones that work together to align your spine, relieve pressure points, and help ease back pain. Plus, we love the breathable foam construction that helps keep you cool and dry all night long.
Because Casper is available at many retail outlets, we also like that you can try their mattresses in-person before deciding if they’re right for you. It’s critical to homing in on the best-comfort pick for your back. When you do decide to buy, Casper offers free shipping and free returns with a 100-night in-home trial. The 10-year limited warranty seals the deal for us, making this one of the best back-pain-friendly mattresses overall.
What do buyers say? “The best mattress I’ve ever slept on, no kidding!” said one Casper.com reviewer.
Men looking for an extra-supportive mattress for back pain might think that the firmest option is the only way to go. That’s not always the case. But, if you do prefer something firm, Serta’s iComfort Mattress 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, the included MaxCold cover is designed for warm sleepers, for a cooling sensation that helps regulate your skin temperature throughout the night.
At more than $1,000 (Queen), the iComfort is priced squarely in the midrange of mattresses we’ve seen this year. It’s not the least or the most expensive, making it a decent middle-of-the-road pick. Although, any upgraded model above the Base model can quickly exceed $2,000. We like the 120-night in-home trial which means you get as much as four months to test out this mattress to see if it helps ease your back pain. If not, Serta offers free shipping and free returns, so it literally is a risk-free trial.
What do buyers say? “The cool comfort top has been giving me the best nights’ sleep; that's saying a lot living in Phoenix. Now I never want to get out of bed,” said one Serta.com reviewer.
It’s hard to choose any mattress, especially if it’s your first. Let’s make the choice easy. Coming in at more than a reasonable price (less than $1,000 for a Queen), this “bed in a box” is made from Tuft & Needle’s own “adaptive foam.” Translation: A nice, bouncy feel that’s extremely comfortable while providing excellent back support. It’s a fine balance between not-too-hard and not-too-soft, which makes for great pain relief and spinal alignment. Several cooling layers help wick away heat to regulate your skin temperature overnight. Plus, the motion transfer isolation is great on this mattress, making it a smart choice for couples.
Like most of the best back-pain-friendly mattresses we’ve researched and tested this year, T&N’s Original Mattress ships free and the company offers free returns too. Along with the 100-night trial, that means you can try it for more than three full months and, if it’s not helping your back pain, you can send it back.
What do buyers say? “Couple agrees … This is a really comfortable mattress for side and back sleepers. My husband and I both really are comfortable,” said one TuftAndNeedle.com reviewer.
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 luxury cooling 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 skin 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 also gives you an extra boost of cool.
The Aurora offers many of the same features as more ultra-premium brand-name models—including multiple temperature-regulating technologies and excellent back support—but at a better price. Plus, this is one of only a few models we’ve seen that’s available in three firmness levels: Soft, Medium, and Firm. Lastly, we love the excellent selection of sizes, including specialty formats (like Split Cal King and RV King). This is truly a premium mattress that’s never been so worth it for warm sleepers.
What do buyers say? “Super easy set up! I tried four other mattresses (thank goodness with free returns!) before this one, and this was the best in price AND comfort!” said one BrooklynBedding.com reviewer.
When it comes to the best mattresses, Tempur-Pedic is almost always worth the splurge. With its next-gen sleep tech, the brand prides itself for using pressure-relieving material developed by NASA to absorb the g-forces of astronauts during launches. The Advanced Pressure Relief (ProAdapt) model comes in four levels—soft, medium, medium hybrid, and firm—allowing you to dial in your preferred level of comfort for back pain relief. In many reviews, buyers rave about how the medium and firm options, in particular, helped relieve their prior back aches. No matter which thickness or model you choose, all are made with multiple layers of foam that perfectly conform to and support your body while you sleep.
Of course, all of this fancy tech doesn’t come cheap. The Tempur-Adapt is easily the priciest in our roundup with a queen-sized mattress running north of $3,300. But, if you not only want, but need, the very best mattress to support your back and you’ve got the money to splurge, it doesn’t get any better than this. Plus, you can return the mattress for up to 90 days if it doesn't work for you.
What do buyers say? “My second Tempur-Pedic … it is incredible to sleep on, I would not own any type of mattress other than a Tempur-Pedic mattress,” said one Tempurpedic.com reviewer.
Athletes, this one’s for you. This special mattress from PerformaSleep features 11 total inches of CertiPUR-US® certified foam, including a seven-inch-thick base layer and an additional Enersorb mid-layer to cradle and support your back. It’s all purpose-built to aid in essential muscle recovery from all those heavy lifts during your morning gym sessions. It’s also infused with a proprietary CopperCool gel foam technology that wicks away heat and sweat to keep your temperature regulated all night long. An antiviral/antimicrobial top layer helps ensure a clean sleep surface (essential in these pandemic times).
At around $1,000 for a Queen-sized mattress, the PerformaSleep mattress is on the low-to-medium end of the price range of our round-up. We like that the company’s mattresses are designed and manufactured in the USA. They also offer free shipping and free returns with a 100-night in-home trial, so you really can try it risk-free.
What do buyers say? “The PerformaSleep Mattress was just what my back, body, and soul needed,” said one PerformaSleep.com reviewer.
For the very best back pain support, we highly recommend a hybrid mattress—one that combines individually encased pocketed coils with several layers of foam and memory foam. This helps provide the best of both worlds, including the strength and support of traditional coils with all the pressure-relieving benefits of memory foam. Bear goes a step further with its Elite Hybrid Mattress by adding copper-infused memory foam that’s fantastic at wicking away heat for excellent temperature regulation. Bonus: It’s naturally antimicrobial, helping you maintain a safer, cleaner sleep surface. It’s finished off with a super soft, hand-quilted cushion cover for maximum comfort.
At around $2,000 (Queen), the Elite Hybrid mattress is pricey. But it offers many of the same premium technologies and features of far pricier alternatives from brand names like Tempur-Pedic for less. Plus, Bear offers free shipping and free returns with a 120-night in-home trial for a risk-free, real-world sleep test. Lastly, we’re happy to see Bear stand behind its mattresses with a lifetime warranty.
What do buyers say? “I love my new mattress! I am getting the best sleep I have had in ages. I am very pleased and would purchase it again,” said one BearMattress.com reviewer.
If you have a bad back but prefer something less firm, check out Nest Bedding. The soft-as-hell Sparrow is the company’s signature hybrid mattress that relieves pressure like no other and screams “premium.” It’s made from a unique 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.
At more than $2,000 (retail for a Queen-sized mattress), it ain’t cheap. But, in addition to being one of the best mattresses for men with back pain, this premium option includes a list of worthy bonuses too. Nest offers one free comfort layer “renewal” (exchange) at any time which, in their words, is designed “to alter the feel of your mattress or to increase its lifespan (this option saves you time and money while reducing waste).” Plus, this made-in-the-USA option boasts a whopping 365-night trial—the longest of any we’ve tested or researched this year.
What do buyers say? “We love, love, love this bed! My husband and I both agree, it’s the most comfortable bed we’ve owned and we’ve had a few luxury mattresses,” said one NestBedding.com reviewer.
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."
Pay attention to how you sleep
Your preferred 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.
Buy what you can afford
There's no getting around the fact that mattresses are high-ticket items. For many, it's one of the most expensive purchases they'll make in their adults lives. Don't feel like you need to spend a small fortune though. In many cases, a $3,000+ mattress is probably worth the money. But there are plenty of great—even amazing—options under $2,000. We recommend buying the best mattress that you can realistically afford.
Keep your cool
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. Look for materials and fabrics that are naturally cool to the touch and wick away heat for maximum temperature regulation.
How We Selected the Best Mattresses for Men with Back Pain
Our sleep-savvy editors and writers here at Men’s Health routinely test and compare many of the world’s top-selling mattresses. Over the last few years, we’ve researched and personally field—er, bedroom—tested dozens of brand-name models. We paid close attention to every feature and spec, including construction quality, durability, materials used, warranties, firmness, price, and—for this particular post—how supportive each model was for our backs and back pains. The list above represents our honest take for the best mattresses for men with back pain in 2023.
Read more: Best Sleep Gadgets for Men
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