6 Highest Rated Beds for People with a Herniated Disc – Our Review Guide

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80% of Americans experience back pain at some point.

In fact, pain in the back is one of the top reasons that people go to the doctor, with the common cold being the number one cause for a medical visit.

For patients suffering from a herniated disc, the pain can be both chronic and debilitating. Pain in the back, legs, and even feet are often reported. If you’ve got sciatica (a condition characterized by pain and tingling down the side of your lower body), it could be the result of a herniated disc.

The seriousness of the condition and the intensity of the symptoms varies, depending on the type of herniation you have and where it’s located.

The majority of the time, the herniation is in the lower back, or lumbar region of the spine. A cervical herniation is one that’s the neck region, just below the base of your skull. And finally, a herniated disc in the thoracic region can be the most serious because that part of your spine is linked to your vital organs.

Although it can be serious, many patients can heal from this condition on their own without medical intervention or surgery. However, as you might imagine, sleeping on the wrong mattress can prevent your body from healing properly, and create a vicious cycle of pain and sleepless nights.

We’ve done the research and found some of the best mattresses for a herniated disc that can serve as a starting point for you.

dreamcloud mobile image DreamCloud
  • Trial: 365 Days
  • Warranty: Lifetime
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
casper small product image Casper
  • Trial: 100 Days
  • Warranty: 10 Years
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
layla bed new medium product image Layla
  • Trial: 120 Days
  • Warranty: Lifetime
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
zenhaven small product image Zenhaven
  • Trial: 120 Days
  • Warranty: 20 Years
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
purple bed mobile product image Purple
  • Trial: 100 Days
  • Warranty: 10 Years
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Sojourn bed small image iPedic Sojourn 12" Gel Memory Foam
  • Trial: 120 Days
  • Warranty: 10 Years
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Top 6 Beds for Herniated Disc Reviews

DreamCloud – Zoned Hybrid

Highlights:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 365-Day Trial
  • Everlong Warranty

DreamCloud is the answer to anyone who ever wanted to know if luxury could come out of a box, and its blend of comfort materials and supportive coils make it an excellent option for someone who suffers from spine issues.

Whether lying on your side or back, you should receive a comfort balance of pressure relief and support.

What stands out? The system of pocketed coils that forms this bed’s foundation has a transitional layer of foam on top to ease you into the tailored support. This feature endeavors to hold the body level and help enhance spine alignment, which is critical for spine health.

In addition to impressive function, DreamCloud also looks high-end and luxurious, and its construction was strategized for durability. The outer cover is made from super soft and moisture wicking polyester quilted to foam to form a EuroTop.

Find out more details in our full bed analysis here.

The Casper – Spine Alignment

Highlights:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 100-Night Trial
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • Designed and Assembled in the USA

The designers of Casper, a well-known veteran in the bed-in-a-box industry, continually enhancing their design to increase its universality.

This brand strives for a feel that can adapt and accommodate a multitude of individual body shapes, and their goal has never been closer than with the introduction of Zoned Support™ to enhance their all-foam spine alignment system.

Casper’s layering strategy improves temperature regulation and the bed’s versatility. The top layer is soft for comfortable body conformance and easy repositioning, and with each subsequent layer, the firmness increases incrementally. This approach aims to provide a balance of pressure relief and support for different body weights.

What makes it special? The firmnesses in the third transitional layer are divided into three zones so that hips remain level with the shoulders and knees, which receive extra pressure relief. This is especially advantageous for those with heavier midsections who are looking for premium spine alignment that can help reduce pain points associated with herniated discs.

Want to know more about Casper? See more details here.

Layla – Great Pressure Relief

Highlights:

  • Dual-sided Firmness
  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 120-Day Trial
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Made in the USA

Research suggests that back or side sleeping is ideal for those with herniated discs, but depending on your preference, your firmness requirements may be quite different.

If you are unsure which position will best help you manage your back pain, you may consider a dual-sided mattress like Layla which offers extra pressure relief on one side that typically works best for exclusive side sleepers, and, on the flipside, a firmer surface that many back sleepers prefer.

What makes it great? Both sides of Layla deliver exceptional pressure relief that contours to your shape for a classic feel with several cooling features to keep your body from overheating. Copper that is infused into the foam helps heat disperse deeper into the mattress and air channels created by its convoluted “egg crate” structure let it escape the bed.

The attractive hexagon-patterned cover also incorporates a cooling gel that you should notice is cool to the touch. If you are a combination sleeper and require easier repositioning to keep from aggravating your spinal pain, you may consider the firmer side. However, dedicated side sleepers may particularly benefit to the extra pressure relief of the soft side.

Our full review of the Layla bed can be found here if you need more info.

Zenhaven – Zoned Latex

Highlights:

  • Dual-Sided
  • Certified Organic Cotton
  • OEKO-TEX® Certified
  • 120-Day Trial
  • 20-Year Warranty
  • Made in the USA

With Zenhaven, Saatva entered the market with an affordably priced all-natural latex mattress with dual-sided firmness and zoned comfort.

Latex’s popularity has expanded over the last few years because of its resistance to potential allergens and temperature neutrality, but retail models can be price prohibitive. Saatva keeps luxurious features high and prices low by selling online, an advantage if you are looking to manage your back pain with a latex bed.

What makes it unique? Zoning a mattress can potentially keep a body resting in a more level position by delivering extra firmness underneath higher concentrations of weight while keeping the bed soft in areas that require extra pressure relief. Zenhaven’s comfort layer on both sides is zoned by varying the distance between ventilation holes, as well as the size.

All four layers of latex in Zenhaven come from sustainable and natural sources and are manufactured using the Talalay process, which increases the material’s consistency and gives it a more springy feel. Continuing with a more eco-friendly direction, the bed’s outer cover is made from certified organic cotton that breathes well.

Want to learn more about this latex model? See our review for full list of details.

Purple – Innovative Design

Highlights:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 100-Day Trial
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • Made in the USA

Our pick for innovative design is a bed that was designed by rocket scientists that weren’t satisfied with the potential of traditional materials and wanted to create something brand new to provide better spine alignment with premium pressure relief.

The result was a gel-like polymer grid that’s very stretchy and responsive to changes in weight.

What is its best feature? The Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ comfort system was designed to respond and wrap around any shape, collapsing under higher concentrations of weight while contouring to your lumbar or waist. This more precise body conformance should help alleviate any pressure points that can worsen spinal pain while keeping your hips level with your shoulders and knees.

If you’re nervous about committing to a material you’ve never felt before, Purple’s sleep trial has you covered. They’ll give you 100 nights to sleep on their mattress and see if it fits your needs; just be sure to give yourself ample time to get used to the novel feel of the comfort layer.

Want to see all of the features? Check out our full review and find out everything that you need.

iPedic Sojourn 12″ Gel Memory Foam

Highlights:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • OEKO-TEX® Certified
  • 120-Day Trial
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • Made in the USA

When learning to manage back pain associated with a herniated disc, you do not want to compromise on quality when choosing your bedding, as an unsuitable bed will probably only make matters worse.

Thankfully quality does not always have to come with a high-end price tag because of companies like Dreamfoam who are committed to keeping prices down with mattresses like the Sojourn.

What stands out? Materials in this mattress are high quality which means they may be less likely to break down prematurely compared to more average budget brands and create sags in your bed that can aggravate your pain points. Dreamfoam keeps prices down by manufacturing their beds in their own facility and passing overhead savings directly to consumers.

This memory foam bed is outfitted with cooling technology to keep you from overheating and a Medium-Firm feel that should work well for you sleeping either on your back or on your side. Pressure build-up should be melted away by the quality foams while the tall support base keeps your body resting level.

Is this model right for you? If you're not sure you can always check the full review and learn more.

Common Types of Disc Herniation and Symptoms

So, what exactly is a herniated disc and what happens if you have one?

Picture your spine for a moment. We’re all familiar with the line of vertebrae that goes from our skull down to our lower back. There’s a space between each of these vertebrae, and within that space are discs. Their purpose is to provide mobility. They function like ball bearings.

The discs themselves are fibrous with layers of ligaments that protect a center core of gel-like fluid. If you picture the rings of a tree, that’s what a section of a spinal disc looks like. The annulus fibrosus make up the outer rings, and the soft center is called the nucleus pulposus.

You’ll probably never need to know these terms unless you end up as a contestant on Jeopardy or find yourself if a game of bar trivia near Harvard or something.

A herniation occurs when those fibers get damaged or degenerate. The inner fluid begins to push outward, distorting the shape of the disc. The result is the disc either bulges or ruptures, depending on how damaged and degenerated the fibers become.

When doctors look at the MRIs of people between the ages of 35 and 60, they find that approximately 33% to 57% of the population has at least one bulging disc. Often, there are no symptoms associated with this spinal abnormality. This happens when the disc is pushing forward (anterior), versus one that bulges toward posteriorly (or backwards).

When the disc pushes back into your nerves (posterior), that’s when patients experience symptoms of pain and even decreased organ function.

Depending on the type of spinal disc herniation you have, the symptoms vary:

Cervical

The area of your vertebral column classified as your cervical spine starts at the base of your neck and ends at your shoulders. When one of these discs herniates, it can result in neck pain, but the most prevalent symptoms of a cervical herniated disc will be numbness and tingling in your shoulder and arm. Usually, it’s only on one side of the body and is often diagnosed as pinched nerve even though it’s technically a herniation.

This type of herniation isn’t as common as one in the lumbar region, which we’ll discuss now.

Lumbar

Lumbar herniated discs originate in the lower back region. It’s common for this to happen as a result of lifting something that’s too heavy and lifting it improperly. Even though it seems to occur suddenly, it’s often the result of long-term wear over time.

When patients experience symptoms, it’s usually in the form of low back pain, which is often extremely painful. Other patients report sciatica as well as the inability to sit or lie in a comfortable position.

man rubbing his painful back

Thoracic

The thoracic region is between the cervical and lumbar regions. It’s in the center of our chest cavity, and this part of our spine is connected to all our nerves that control organ function. The reason a thoracic herniation is the most problematic is that if it cuts off communication to an organ, it can have serious health implications.

Rather than injury, the cause of a thoracic herniation is typically degeneration over the course of several years. While cervical and lumbar herniations tend to be seen starting at around 30 years of age, a thoracic herniation usually manifests between the ages of 50 and 60.

Why You Need a Great Mattress if You Have Spinal Disc Herniation

We all deserve a great mattress, regardless of any medical issues we may have. However, if you suffer from any spinal problems, sleeping on the right mattress makes a big difference.

Remember, you need to keep your spine in proper alignment. If you have a poor-quality mattress or one that is too soft or firm, it’s going to push your back out of its natural position. If you’re trying to heal yourself, or you simply want a decent night of sleep, owning a great mattress is a requirement.

A good quality mattress will also have the ideal blend of pressure relief and support (you can see our overall picks here). What we mean by pressure relief is a mattress’s ability to cradle or cushion the denser parts of your body to keep you comfortable and in a neutral spine position. If you’ve ever been in bed and had your arm fall asleep before you do, that could be a sure sign that your mattress is not the right one for your needs.

Support goes hand-in-hand with pressure relief. They balance each other out. So, while pressure relief has to do with the softness of a bed, support deals more with the firmness. For example, even though you want to feel a soft surface that relieves pressure when you lie down, you don’t want to sink too deeply into the surface of the bed. That’s where support comes in.

A great mattress will provide the perfect balance of both of these factors.

girl and a man enjoy in their bed

Important Buying Considerations

Mattress Material & Construction

There are several different types of mattresses to choose from. In this section, we’ll outline the options:

  • Memory foam – developed by NASA scientists in the 1960s, memory foam is a soft, cushiony material that holds its shape, even after you put weight on it. Hence the term “memory.” When you lie down on a bed made out of memory foam, it will conform to the shape of your body and keep that shape during the night.
    This is typically a great choice mattress for bulging discs, as long as it’s high-quality and made by a reputable mattress company. Because memory foam in cheap beds wears out faster, it’s important to choose a brand that is known for durability and long-lasting comfort (you can see our top picks for memory foam beds here).
  • Hybrid – these beds combine an innerspring or coil base with a memory foam or latex top layer. This type of bed is another good choice out of the four types of mattresses to choose from. Hybrids tend to provide the ideal blend of pressure relief and support, but they’re sometimes more expensive (see out top list for hybrid models here).
  • Coil – also referred to as an innerspring mattress, coil beds can sometimes have a harder time delivering on the needs for this issue. First of all, they don’t tend to hold their shape over the years if it doesn't have high-quality construction, so some people can expect uncomfortable sagging. Second, most coils don’t allow for even weight distribution. As you know from a previous section, different parts of our bodies have varying density levels. If you lie down on a coil mattress that isn’t “zoned” to accommodate your shoulders and torso, you’re likely going to feel it in your back.
  • Latex – these beds are similar to memory foam, but instead of foam, latex is made from the sap of a rubber tree. There’s also synthetic latex, which is a petroleum-based product. We often highly recommend latex mattresses, but if you have a herniated disk in your back or neck, be sure to check that the sleeping surface is not too firm.

Spinal Alignment & Support

Herniated disc sufferers require a sleeping surface that keeps their back in proper alignment, and their entire body should be well-supported. A poor-quality bed will have areas that sag, and that further exacerbates back pain.

How do you know if your spine is in proper alignment when you’re in bed? The best way to determine this is to lie on your side and have someone take a picture of you from behind. Your spine should keep a straight line. If you don’t feel comfortable asking someone to take the picture (we know, it’s a bit of an odd request), set a timer on your phone, prop it up on something, and take a picture that way.

Pressure Relief

When it comes to choosing the right type of bed for pressure relief, we’ve found that memory foam often performs best here. You need something that cradles the heavy parts of your body while also providing ample support. Because memory foam is designed to contour all of your curves, it is a great material.

Firmness

People with back pain are often told to sleep on an exceptionally firm surface, and even the floor. However, this can sometimes make it even worse (because of that we made a list of beds that are excellent for people who deal with back pain to help them understand what's good and what's not).

Like we’ve said, if you have a herniated disc, it’s crucial to maintain proper spinal alignment when you lie down. A too-firm surface isn’t going to allow for any contouring. The result is that no matter your sleeping position, your spine is going to jut into a position that’s neither natural nor comfortable.

Cooling

Have you ever noticed that when you’re in pain, you tend to feel hotter? If you sleep on a mattress that doesn’t allow for any air flow, your already heated body is going to feel even more uncomfortable.

Memory foam is not known for being a cool material, mostly because the contouring traps body heat. We recommend looking for a memory foam bed that has either gel or copper infusions, which draw heat away from the body (we have our top cool bed picks here). There are also some brands that offer something called “open cell” construction that have pockets of air that get released when you put weight on them.

What’s the Best Sleeping Position for a Slipped Disc?

A slipped disc is a term often used to describe a herniation, though it’s technically a misnomer because the disc isn’t actually slipping. Rather, it’s being pushed out of place due to being misshapen.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can talk about the best sleeping position for a herniated disc. The answer to this question lies in where in your vertebral column the herniation has expressed itself: neck, thoracic or lumbar.

Here are general guidelines for each sleeping position:

Back: Sleeping on your back is usually the best choice, though there are a couple of caveats. If your disc herniation is in your neck area, you should focus on which pillow you use. Ideally, a cervical pillow with a center opening to let your head sink while supporting your neck is best.

Also, when you sleep on your back, and you have a herniated disc, you’ll probably feel most comfortable with a pillow underneath your knees.

Side: As long as you have the right mattress, side sleeping can be a fantastic choice, especially if you have a herniated lumbar disc. You can try sleeping with a pillow between your knees to ensure that your spine doesn’t twist during the night. You can also try a cervical pillow regardless of where your herniation is located. By keeping your cervical spine in place, it can help to make sure the rest of your back stays in alignment.

Stomach: This position is not typically recommended at all because it can force the hips down and cause your back to arch in an uncomfortable way. If you insist on sleeping in this position, you can place a pillow under your pelvis and at your knees. Choose something that is either very thin, or opt for nothing at all.

woman sleeping on her Back

More Frequently Asked Questions

Can a bad mattress cause a herniated disc?

A bad mattress won’t cause a disc to herniate, but it can prolong or prevent the healing process. Sleeping on the wrong mattress can also accelerate the degeneration process, so even though it won’t be responsible for the actual herniation, it can be a contributing factor.

How to sleep with a herniated disc in your neck?

When you have a herniated disc in this area, the most important thing to keep in mind is neck support. This means sleeping on a pillow that is slightly higher under your neck than your head. Using cervical pillows that dip in the center and have a gentle, rounded ridge at the base of your skull can be very helpful.

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is not technically a disease. Rather, it’s the long-term degeneration that happens to your spine as you age. However, age is not the only thing that causes this, and just because we get older, it doesn’t mean we have to experience DDD.

The most common cause of this happening is daily stress, minor injuries, obesity, and lack of movement. For those who sit all day, they are at a higher risk of having discs degenerate. Some supplements, along with a nutrient-rich diet, moderate exercise, and avoiding obesity can prevent and even reverse degenerative disc disease.

Can this Condition Cause Sleep Apnea?

While excess soft tissue in the mouth and throat often is the culprit behind obstructive sleep apnea, the less common Central SA may originate in spinal trauma or injury, which can include herniated discs. This is because CSA is most often caused by a disconnect between the muscles you use to breathe and the brain.

Learn more: Our bed guide for people with sleep apnea

Conclusion


With millions of Americans suffering daily from back pain, it’s no wonder that herniated discs are so prevalent. It’s kind of scary to think about how they develop over a long period of time, and how sleeping on a bad mattress can contribute to the problem. Hopefully, you found this guide helpful, especially if you’re a herniated disc sufferer!

Author: Sleep Advisor

Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.

Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

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