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Sleep Number Settings for Back Pain

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If you live with back pain, you know how much it can impact your daily life, not to mention your sleep. It can feel impossible to find a comfortable position at night, and if you’re sleeping on a bed that doesn’t give you adequate support and pressure relief, this could lead to more back pain.

In this case, the ideal solution might be a mattress that could easily adjust according to your type of back pain, position, and firmness preferences. Sleep Number is a well-known mattress brand that might be the solution you’re looking for, with their unique design that includes special settings referred to as “Sleep Numbers.”

Keep reading to find out more about what a Sleep Number is, how a Sleep Number bed could help your back pain, and the best settings for you.

Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Mattress
4.8 / 5
Sleep Number 360 c4 Smart Mattress
4.7 / 5
Sleep Number 360 iLE Smart Mattress
4.8 / 5
Sleep Number 360 m7 Smart Mattress
4.7 / 5

What Is a Sleep Number?

Your “Sleep Number” is a number between one and 10. These numbers denote how firm your side of the bed is, with one being the softest and 10 being the firmest. This will be the case no matter which mattress model you decide on.

There are two main models of Sleep Number beds: smart beds and value beds. The key difference here is that the smart beds include sensors that will automatically adjust the firmness, comfort, and support of the bed to your body, whereas the value beds are manually adjusted with a remote control.

With both types of Sleep Number mattresses, the mattress will include one to two air chambers (two is recommended for couples with different firmness preferences), and it will come with a remote so you can program your bed. Additionally, the air mattress portion is deeply tucked away beneath soft comfort layers.

How Can I Find My Sleep Number?

You can either use your Sleep Number remote or the SleepIQ® app to find the number that works best for you. First, lie down on the mattress in your favorite sleeping position. We recommend sleeping on either your back or side and avoiding stomach sleeping if you have back pain, as this posture could make it worse[1].

With the remote:

  1. Press “Home”
  2. Select “Sleep Number”
  3. Press the Favorite button
  4. Select “Find Your Sleep Number”
  5. Select Continue
  6. The remote will guide you through finding your Sleep Number® setting.

With the app:

  1. Select “Smart Bed”
  2. Select “Sleep Number setting”
  3. Tap “Find Favorite”
  4. The app will guide you through finding your Sleep Number® setting.

In both cases, the firmness of the bed will move from one to 10, and then back down to one. The idea is, while you’re lying on the bed, you can feel how each level of firmness works for your body. Once you feel like your body is comfortable, free from pressure, and well-supported, press “Enter” on the remote or “Stop” on the app. This will be your Sleep Number.

Sleep Number does recommend giving this setting a few nights. Take note of how you feel when you wake up; with the right setting, you should wake up feeling relaxed and comfortable. If you wake up feeling stiff or your back hurts worse, you may need to tweak your settings.

Sleep Number Settings for Back Pain

While your number itself will be unique to your body, Sleep Number does offer some general advice[2] for those with back pain. You also might want to consider selecting a model that doesn’t have so many plush comfort layers that cause the bed to feel too soft (no matter how high you set your Sleep Number) or one with so few comfort layers that it feels too firm (no matter how low you set your Sleep Number). A more medium-firm mattress[3] should be the best option for relieving your back pain.

Sleep Number Settings for Upper Back Pain

  • Side sleepers – Increase your Sleep Number setting by 5 or 10
  • Back sleepers – Try out increasing your Sleep Number setting by 5 or 10
  • Stomach sleepers – Decrease your Sleep Number setting by 5 or 10

Sleep Number Settings for Lower Back Pain

  • Side sleepers – Lower your Sleep Number setting by 5 or 10
  • Back sleepers – Try decreasing your Sleep Number setting by 5 or 10
  • Stomach sleepers – Increase your Sleep Number setting by 5 or 10

Share Your Experience with Back Pain

Best Mattress for Back Pain
Do you wake up with pain in the mornings?
Where is your pain when you wake up? (Check all that apply)
Do you experience back pain more frequently in the mornings?
What sleeping position do you sleep in at night?
Have you tried any of the following to reduce your back pain? (Check all that apply)
Have you considered purchasing a new mattress because of your back pain?

Our Final Thoughts

If you live with back pain, a Sleep Number mattress can be an excellent solution, as it is one of the most customizable beds on the market. Plus, many Sleep Number models come with advanced sleep-tracking technology that allows you to monitor how well you slept the night before, when you got the deepest sleep, and at what Sleep Number setting you slept best, all from your phone.

You can try out your Sleep Number mattress for up to 100 nights to make sure it is a good fit for you. If you don’t love it, you can return the mattress within your trial period, for a full refund, minus any shipping costs. You’ll need to contact customer service to start the return process; Sleep Advisor notes that you can’t return mattresses in-store.

Explore our picks for the best Sleep Number alternatives too.

Natalie Grigson

Natalie Grigson


About Author

Natalie is a content writer for Sleep Advisor with a deep passion for all things health and a fascination with the mysterious activity that is sleep. Outside of writing about sleep, she is a bestselling author, improviser, and creative writing teacher based out of Austin.

Combination Sleeper


  1.  “The Best — and Worst — Sleep Positions for Back Pain”. Keck Medicine of USC. 2019.
  2. “Relieving Back Pain”. Sleep Number Support. 2021.
  3. Caggiari, Gianfilippo., et al. “What type of mattress should be chosen to avoid back pain and improve sleep quality? Review of the literature”. Journal of Orthopaedics and Traumatology. 2021.