10 Highest Rated Beds for People with a Herniated Disc – Our 2023 Review Guide

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A herniated disc can cause pain that’s both chronic and debilitating. The majority of the time, the herniation is in the lower back, though some people may experience this in their middle or upper back, or in some cases, the neck.

As you might imagine, the pain from a herniated disc can make sleeping a challenge, but the right mattress could help you rest more easily. In this article, we’ll share out top mattress picks for people with a herniated disc and what you should know when purchasing a mattress for this condition.

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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.

Top 10 Mattresses for Herniated Disc

Editor's Pick

Helix Midnight

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Hybrid Mattress
  • Firmness Level: 6-7/10
  • 100-Night Trial
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • Made in the USA

The Helix Midnight is all about supporting the parts of your body that need it most. When you have a herniated disc or other back problems, traditional memory foam might not give you optimal comfort. Fortunately, the Midnight features Helix’s Memory Plus foam, a blend that’s unique to the brand and that aims for excellent pressure relief.

Underneath that layer, there’s a sheet of poly foam with a medium-firm feel, which provides crucial support and a comfortable transition to the bed’s individually wrapped coils. These coils offer even more support and can help provide a secure foundation for the lower back region.

Why does it stand out?

  • For an added fee, you can swap the Midnight’s breathable Soft Touch cover for a GlacioTex™ cooling cover and achieve even cooler nights.
  • The long edges of the Midnight have reinforced coils, so you should be able to spread out fully on this mattress without feeling a dip on either side.

Best Value Mattress

Nectar

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Memory Foam Mattress
  • CertiPUR-US®
  • 365-Night Trial
  • Forever Warranty

When it comes to quality pressure relief, memory foam reigns supreme. Nectar’s flagship model is a memory foam mattress built with three foam layers that deliver a great balance of pressure relief while giving the spine ample support.

The bed’s memory foam layer lies just underneath the cover and is 2 inches thick. Gel is infused in this memory foam to prevent it from becoming too warm. The second layer is 4 inches of soft conventional foam that provides extra support and transitions the sleeper into the firm foam base below. The bottom of the Nectar is a 6-inch thick standard conventional foam that’s highly dense to keep the sleeper’s body well-supported and prevent exacerbating back pain.

Why should you get it?

  • Most sleepers should feel great spinal support from the Nectar, which has a true medium-firm feel that is ideal for many types of people.

Best Hybrid Mattress for a Herniated Disc

DreamCloud

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Best for Side Sleepers
  • Firmness Level: 5.5/10
  • 365-Night Trial
  • Lifetime Warranty

The DreamCloud’s considered combination of coils and foams should prove advantageous for people with herniated discs. Side sleepers in particular tend to like this hybrid mattress’s initially plush feel, as it reduces pressure on the hips and shoulders. But underneath that soft cover are three types of foam and individually wrapped springs that provide reliable support.

Sitting atop a base layer of firm foam, the 8.5-inch coil unit responds readily to the body’s movements. The coils around the edges of the bed are reinforced so that sleepers can spread out comfortably.

What else stands out?

  • The DreamCloud’s foams have all been CertiPUR-US® certified, which means they don’t contain the potentially hazardous substances sometimes found in lower-quality foams.

Best Mattress for Heavy People

The WinkBed

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Three Firmness Options
  • Made in the USA
  • 120-Night Trial
  • Lifetime Limited Warranty

Heavier sleepers tend to prefer firmer beds because these do a better job of preventing them from sinking too far into the mattress. When your body sinks too much, this can create poor spine alignment, which is worse news for those with a herniated disc.

The WinkBed is available in three firmness levels, including a firm option. For heavy sleepers, the WinkBed Firm model should provide ample support. However, those weighing over 300 pounds may consider the WinkBed Plus, a special version of the WinkBed specifically designed for those carrying significantly more weight.

What stands out?

  • The WinkBed comes with a Tencel cover, an eco-friendly textile designed to wick away moisture and keep sleepers cool.
  • The multiple firmness options allow shoppers to find a mattress that fits their preferences and needs more closely.
  • The WinkBed comes with an industry-leading lifetime limited warranty, covering the product for as long as you have it.

Best Mattress for Combination Sleepers

Zenhaven

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Dual-Sided
  • Certified Organic Cotton
  • OEKO-TEX® Certified
  • 365-Night Trial
  • Lifetime Warranty

With Zenhaven, Saatva entered the market with an affordably priced all-natural latex mattress with dual-sided firmness and zoned comfort. The use of latex is great for combination sleepers because it provides plenty of bounce to make repositioning trouble-free.

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

What makes it unique?

  • All four layers of latex in the 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. In addition, the bed’s outer cover is made from certified organic cotton that breathes well.

Best Mattress for Pressure Relief

Nolah Signature

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • Made in the USA
  • 120-Night Trial
  • Lifetime Warranty

Quality pressure relief can make a positive difference for those with a herniated disc. Nolah’s Signature model is an all-foam design that features proprietary foams and a softer feel that should appeal to those seeking good pressure relief.

The top of the Signature contains Cooling Nolah AirFoam™, which is designed to adapt and contour your body to ease pressure buildup. Next is a layer of Deep Supportive High-Resilience foam, which should provide bounce and make it easier to move about on the bed. The third layer is another inch of AirFoam™ for added pressure relief, followed by the high-density foam core.

Why we picked it

  • While the Nolah Signature may be too soft for some, this plusher feel should be great for those who want more pressure relief. 
  • This bed is an ideal match for side sleepers, who often need the most pressure relief, though some back sleepers may like this model too.

Best Mattress for Back Sleepers

Bear Original

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • Made in the USA
  • 120-Night Trial
  • Lifetime Warranty

For back sleepers experiencing a herniated disc, it’s vital to invest in a supportive mattress. The right bed can help prevent back pain from worsening by promoting better spinal alignment and taking pressure off areas like the lumbar region. 

The Bear Original is a memory foam mattress with a firmer feel of 7 out of 10 on our firmness scale, which should deliver ample support to most back sleepers. While the Bear’s high-density support foam keeps the spine neutral, the memory foam on top should help ease pressure on the back.

Why should you get it?

  • Bear’s use of Celliant® in the cover could be highly useful for this group. Celliant® is reportedly able to reduce inflammation by converting body heat into infrared light.
  • The company offers customers 120 nights to test out the bed at home before committing to the purchase.

Best Mattress for Side Sleepers

Aurora Luxe

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Three Firmness Options
  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • Made in the USA
  • 120-Night Trial
  • 10-Year Warranty

If you’re a side sleeper experiencing a herniated disc, you’ll need a bed that supplies adequate pressure relief and keeps the hips from dipping too much. Brooklyn Bedding, an American brand based in Phoenix, offers a viable option with their Aurora Luxe mattress.

The Aurora Luxe is a hybrid available in three firmness options: Soft, Medium, and Firm. The firmness you enjoy most will depend on your body frame, but most sleepers should find a good fit with the Medium model.

The Luxe's construction includes three comfort layers, an 8-inch supportive coil unit, and a dense foam base for additional support. While the comfort layers help ease your pressure points, the coils and dense foam below help ensure your hips stay level.

Why we love it

  • Customers get a 120-night trial period to test out the bed.
  • The foams are CertiPUR-US® certified, and the mattress is fully made in the United States.

Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers

Birch Natural

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Latex Hybrid
  • Multiple Eco-Friendly Certifications
  • Firmness: 6.5/10
  • 100-Night Trial
  • 25-Year Warranty

If you’re experiencing a herniated disc in the lower back, you’re going to want to ensure that the bed you sleep on doesn’t cause any unnatural curving in this area. When a bed isn’t firm or supportive enough, the sleeper’s hips and midsection can dip into the mattress, causing the lower back to curve and potentially exacerbating discomfort.

The Birch Natural’s medium-firm feel combined with durable latex and coils should deliver plenty of support to stomach sleepers to ensure their hips and stomach remain level. The exception to this may be exceptionally heavier individuals as they’ll find the bed much softer and could sink too much into the layers.

What stands out about it?

  • The Birch Natural has been given multiple eco-friendly certifications, including eco-INSTITUT, GREENGUARD Gold, and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
  • Customers will receive a 100-night trial and a 25-year warranty with the purchase of this bed.

Best Memory Foam Mattress

Layla

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Dual-sided Firmness
  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 120-Night 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 alleviate your back pain, you may consider a dual-sided mattress like Layla. This mattress offers extra support for your pressure points on one side that typically works best for exclusive side sleepers and, on the flip side, a firmer surface that many back sleepers prefer.

What makes it great?

  • Both sides of the Layla deliver exceptional pressure relief that contours to your shape for a classic feel with several cooling features to keep your body from overheating. The copper that is infused into the memory 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 from the reactive support of the soft side.

Why You Should Trust Us

The Sleep Advisor team reviews each mattress in person so we have a genuine understanding of how the mattress feels and performs. To begin, we unbox the mattress and place it onto a bedframe. We first asses the cover, looking for features like cooling, softness, and cushioning. The next step is to evaluate how the bed performs under pressure, first by applying pressure with our hands and then in each sleep position. Lying in different positions lets us know how supportive the bed is and if it’s good at relieving pressure. After that, we’ll perform a series of tests for additional features, such as bounce, motion isolation, and edge support. The final testing portion is to determine if there are any new mattress smells present, which is known as off-gassing. These smells usually go away within a day or two, but it’s helpful to know if you can expect any right away, particularly if you’re sensitive to odors. We then take all the information we’ve gathered to rate the bed in individual categories as well as how it stacks up overall. This gives us a thorough idea of who we would recommend this product to, helping our readers find the right mattress for their needs.

Types of Herniated Discs and Symptoms

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

Picture your spine. We’re all familiar with the line of vertebrae that goes from our skull 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 makes up the exterior part, and the soft center is called the nucleus1.

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.

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

Contained Herniation (Protrusion)

A contained herniation2 usually happens in the first two stages before the gel-like material leaks into the spinal canal, which typically happens in the third and fourth stages. This means the jelly center is still contained within the outer wall of the lumbar disc. Besides lower back pain, patients may experience symptoms such as arm and leg pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

illustration of a person trying to ease neck pain

Non-Contained Herniation (Disc Extrusion)

A non-contained herniation1 typically causes more severe back pain. What happens in this stage is that the gel-like material breaks through the outer wall of the intervertebral disc. The material leaks into the spinal canal and causes many painful and uncomfortable symptoms. This is why non-contained herniation is often called ruptured discs as well. The symptoms may include tingling, numbness, and pain that can be severe and long-lasting.

illustration of a person having lower back pain

Sequestered Herniation

Sequestered herniations2 happen if a patient doesn’t treat non-contained herniations. What happens is that the discs beak due to the compressor, which then results in severe pain and even loss of mobility if patients ignore the symptoms long enough. Those who deal with chronic back pain may be more likely to ignore symptoms of sequestered herniation, although consulting a doctor is critical.

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

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

You need to keep your spine in proper alignment, and if you have a poor-quality mattress or one that is too soft or firm, it will push your back out of its natural position.

Conversely, a good-quality mattress will have an ideal blend of pressure-point relief and support. Pressure relief is a mattress’ ability to cradle or cushion the denser parts of your body to keep you comfortable and reduce pressure build-up.

Support, on the other hand, refers to the bed’s ability to keep your body lifted. 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.

Mattress for Herniated Disc 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 latex innerspring and hybrid mattress
  • Memory foam – 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 mattress 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 mattress choice for herniated discs as long as it’s high-quality and made by a reputable company. Memory foam in cheap mattresses wears out faster, so it’s important to choose a brand that is known for durability and long-lasting comfort.

    View Our Guide:
    Top Rated Memory Foam Beds


  • Hybrid – Hybrid beds combine an innerspring (coil) base with a memory foam or latex top layer. This type of bed is another good choice because they tend to provide the ideal blend of pressure relief and support. That being said, hybrids usually come at a higher price point.

    Read More:
    Best Hybrid Beds


  • 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 the bed doesn't have high-quality construction, so some people can expect uncomfortable sagging. Second, most coils don’t allow for even weight distribution. 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 will likely 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

People with herniated discs require a sleeping surface that keeps their back in proper alignment, and their entire body should be well-supported. A poor-quality mattress will have areas that sag, further exacerbating 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, set a timer on your phone, prop it up on something, and take a picture that way.

Check Out Our Guide: Highest Rated Beds for Back Pain

Illustration of a Woman Sleeping on Her Side on a Soft Mattress

Pressure Relief

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

Firmness

People with back pain are often told to sleep on an exceptionally firm surface, or in some cases, even the floor. However, this can sometimes make it even worse.

As 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, and a too-soft surface won’t have as much support.

Mattress firmness is relative to your body weight since people who weigh more will feel a mattress differently than someone who is exceptionally lightweight. Medium-firm beds are often a great choice since they can provide sturdy support without sacrificing pressure relief.

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 airflow, 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 mattress with either gel or copper infusions, which draw heat away from the body. 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.

Hybrid and innerspring beds get extra airflow from their coil units, and latex beds are good for cooling because latex is a temperature-neutral material.

Find Out More: Top Cooling Mattresses

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 discuss 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.

Find Out More: How to Properly Sleep on Your Back


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. Keeping your cervical spine in place can help to make sure the rest of your back stays in alignment.


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

woman sleeping on her back illustration

Frequently Asked Questions About Mattresses for Herniated Disc

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 do you 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.

Want to see more? Check out our complete guide for best pillows for neck pain.

What is degenerative disc disease?

Degenerative disc disease3 (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. Those who sit all day 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.

Illustration of a Man Heavily Snoring

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 sleep apnea4 (CSA) 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.

Interested in exploring further? Learn more in our bed guide for people with sleep apnea.

What type of mattress is best for a herniated disc?

Memory foam, hybrid, and latex mattresses should be best for struggling with herniated discs. These beds are good at contouring the body and relieving pressure in the most critical areas, including the lower back. On top of that, some models even have zoned support that further enhances the contouring in the lower back.

How should I sleep with a severely herniated disc?

The best way to sleep if you have a herniated disc is on your back. You can even add a small pillow under your knees if you need more relief. This way, you’re less likely to feel as much pain because the nerves aren’t under so much pressure. Side sleeping is also an option, though we recommend avoiding stomach sleeping if possible.

Is sleeping on a hard surface good for a herniated disc?

Sleeping on a surface that’s too hard, like the floor, may worsen the symptoms as it offers no contouring. This can put too much pressure on the lower back, so sticking to medium and medium-firm surfaces should be better. These beds usually offer a good balance of pressure relief and support, both of which are crucial for those with a herniated disc.

Conclusion

If your herniated disc is leading to restless nights, investing in a quality mattress and sleeping in a way that fosters better alignment could be the solution you need. The mattresses we’ve listed above are all from reputable brands that offer lengthy trial periods, which means you have sufficient time to try out the bed at home and see if it works for you. Taking these steps should not only improve your herniated disc but your overall spine health as well.

Sources:

  1. “Herniated disk”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified February 8, 2023. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/herniated-disk/symptoms-causes/syc-20354095.
  2. “Three Basic Types of Herniated Discs”. Peconic Bay Medical Center. https://www.pbmchealth.org/news-events/blog/three-basic-types-herniated-discs. 2018.
  3. McHugh MD, Brian. “What Is Degenerative Disc Disease?”. Spine Health. Last modified December 13, 2017. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/degenerative-disc-disease/what-degenerative-disc-disease.
  4. Khan, Adam., Than, Khoi D., et. al. “Sleep apnea and cervical spine pathology”. European Spine Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3940806/. 2014.

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.

Sleep Advisor