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5 min read

what is the best mattress for a bad back?

written by Simon Anthony

updated 01.11.2021

man laying across memory foam mattress

Back pain is one of the most common causes of disruption to sleep, whether it’s caused by the position you sleep in or an ongoing health issue – the effect it has on your sleeping pattern can lead to other problems such as fatigue and low mood. We have put together our tips on choosing the best mattress to support your back and things you can do to prevent pain during the night to have the best night’s sleep possible.

which is the best mattress for back pain?

The best mattress for back pain is one that keeps your spine aligned and muscles relaxed while you sleep. Proper alignment lets your spine and muscles recover, giving you a fresh start to the next day. However, poor alignment can cause headaches, fatigue, lower back pain, and neck pain. So how can you find the right one for you?

how to choose a mattress

At Silentnight, there are two layers you need to consider when choosing your next mattress. The firmness (support system), and the comfort layer. 

Choosing the correct firmness can help prevent back pain and speed up recovery.  A mattress that is too soft to support your weight will sag in the middle, distorting your spine and preventing complete recovery. Unsupportive mattresses also make you work harder to get comfortable, often leaving you feeling fatigued the next day.  However, a mattress that is too firm will not have enough ‘give’ to support your spine’s natural curve. If your mattress is too firm for your body type, the zoning will be ineffective and the pressure uneven. 

mattress firmness for back support

When it comes to choosing the right mattress for bad backs, it's important to consider the support layer. This supports your weight and provides the correct spinal alignment you need for a restful night. At Silentnight you can choose from a pocket sprung or foam layer, a zoned support system is tuned to provide the right amount of support across your body. This allows the mattress surface to curve to your natural shape with even pressure across your body.

related - the mattress springs guide

is memory foam bad for lower back pain?

Support systems are rated by firmness, and we must move past the age-old idea that extra-firm mattresses are best for solving a bad back. So when deciding what type of mattress is best for back pain, you must choose the right firmness for your body type. Softer mattresses are more suitable for smaller, lighter people, while people with a larger body type will feel more supported with a firmer mattress. 

the comfort layer

Above the support layer is the comfort layer. The finishing touch to a comfortable, restful night. Each comfort layer offers a different experience. At Silentnight we have a range of comfort options to suit your individual needs and get the maximum level of mattress support.

is it better to have a soft or firm mattress?

When it comes to back support in bed, you can choose the sink-in sensation of memory foam, a more supportive bounce from latex and geltex or the breathable fibers of eco comfort breathe. Comfort is a personal choice, however, three of our comfort layers are especially effective at preventing aches and pains:

Latex - A relaxing layer made from a blend of natural and synthetic latex. This comfort layer is naturally flame retardant, hypo-allergenic and antibacterial without the need for added chemicals. Latex trees also contribute to environmental CO2 removal. This comfort option offers great pressure relief with extra durability and responsive bounce-back for the restless sleepers. Learn more about latex mattresses.

  • Ease of movement - latex has less 'sink in' and good bounce back, so movement is easy and you'll feel more rested.

  • Durable - latex layers do not lose their height over time and should perform well for the mattesses lifespan.

  • Hygenica and hypo-allergenic - latex is naturally safe and antimicrobial, anti fungal and dust mite resistant.

Memory Foam - Developed with pressure relief in mind. Our sprung ranges feature odor-free memory foam with quick shape recovery. Memory foam softly contours your body like a warm hug. Learn more about memory foam mattresses.

  • Presure relieving - memory foam disperses pressure more evenly than other comfort materials.

  • Not recommended for aches and pains - memory foam has more 'sink in' and resists movement more than Geltex and Latex. You have to work harder to move on memory foam.

  • Not breatheable - memory foam holds on to heat more than other fillings.

Geltex® - As an alternative to memory foam, we developed geltex comfort layer to give all the benefits of memory foam with better bounce back. You’ll use your muscles less to turn over as you quickly adjust into each sleeping position. Geltex offers a slightly fresher sleep than latex or memory foam, but if you’re a hot sleeper there are cooler alternatives. Learn more about geltex mattresses.

  • Pressure relieving - Geltex is one of the best comfort layers for dispersing pressure evenly.

  • Ease of movement - very little muscle activity is required to move on Geltex thanks to it's bounce back properties. This will leave you feeling more refreshed and less achy.

  • Not breathable - as a foam, there's no cooling properties to Geltex. Overheaters should try a fib

Eco Comfort - If you’re a hot sleeper you may sleep more comfortably with a fibre comfort layer. Our eco comfort breathe mattresses feature a multi-layered microclimate system that wicks away moisture and filters out the heat. Staying cool and dry will help you to relax, and you’ll still have the benefit of spinal alignment from the spring system below. Learn more about Eco Comfort mattresses.

  • Cool and dry - Eco comfort fibres are breathable and transport moisture away from the body.

  • Pressure relief - As supportive as some foams, without the heat. The eco fibre layer is designed to mimic the feel of foam.

  • As supportive as it's spring layer - available with pocket springs for enhanced support.

Are you a couple with different body types? Having different support needs can make shopping for a mattress more challenging. Check out our article about the best mattress for couples

related - how mattresses work to support your back

how do I know if my mattress is causing my back pain?

Even as a perfect mattress ages, it slowly loses its ability to support you effectively. This is one of the reasons we recommend you replace your mattress every 7-8 years. Whether your mattress is too old, soft or firm, the results may be felt the next day, and may accumulate over time, causing chronic aches and pain.

Silentnight’s 60 night comfort guarantee

To find out which is the best mattress for your back pain, the best test of a new mattress is to sleep on it. It can take a little time to settle-in with a new mattress so when you buy directly from our website, we offer a comfort exchange that gives you 60 nights to get comfortable before deciding on your perfect mattress.

If you're still not loving your new mattress within 60 nights from delivery, you can exchange it for another mattress. Learn more about our comfort guarantee here.

seeking medical help

Back pain is a very common ailment and usually is not a cause for concern, however if you also experience any of the symptoms listed here you should visit your GP or call NHS 111. 

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