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The Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers with Lower Back Pain

Side sleepers with lower back pain need a mattress topper that offers both support and pressure relief. Memory foam and latex are top choices, cradling the hips and shoulders while aligning the spine. A topper with the right firmness can transform your sleep experience. Wondering how to pick the perfect one? Let's explore the options that promise a pain-free morning.

If you have lower back pain, you’re not alone. Approximately 80% of Americans deal with lower back pain at some point in their lives. There are many things that can contribute to lower back pain, including injuries and diseases. However, many people deal with back pain caused by a bad mattress that doesn’t provide enough support for good sleep posture and spinal alignment.

Sometimes lower back pain gradually builds up, and sometimes it begins suddenly. Either way, it can be extremely frustrating to wake up from a night of sleep feeling worse instead of better. If this is happening to you, it’s time to get yourself a better bed. If buying a brand new mattress to reduce pain isn’t something that is economical or practical for you, get a mattress topper.

How Does Sleeping On Your Side Affect Your Lower Back Pain?

While a variety of issues can cause lower back pain, your sleeping position can be a significant factor. Many people prefer to sleep on their sides, but this can be detrimental to the spine if there is inadequate support.

If you lie on your side on a hard surface, there is no way that your hips and shoulders can sink down, which means that your spine is forced to curve unnaturally, bowing upwards around the shoulders and hips. This type of poor sleeping posture can cause pain, especially in the lower back area.

A soft surface gives way under your shoulders and hips, which allows your spine to remain in a good horizontal line when you lie down on your side. However, the surface needs to be firm enough to support the neck, waist, and legs. Without adequate support for these areas, the body has to compensate by moving out of an ideal postural alignment, again leading to lower back pain.

Side sleepers need a mattress that is softly supportive. It needs to give enough under the shoulders and hips to allow the spine to stay in a straight line but provide enough support for the body’s natural curves. You can make your bed softer or firmer with the right mattress topper.

The Five Best Mattress Toppers For Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain

Mattress toppers come in a wide range of prices and materials, and it can be challenging to figure out which one is best even after reading countless mattress topper reviews. Some models are better for certain sleeping positions or specific types of pain.

If you are a side sleeper looking for a mattress topper to help with lower back pain, we’re here to help. We’ve researched the available options to create a list of the top five mattress toppers to reduce lower back pain.

1. COMFORT BOOST Mattress Topper

With a top layer of 400 thread count cotton and down alternative filling, the COMFORT BOOST mattress topper creates a soft, pillowy feeling on top of any mattress. The deep pocket design with adjustable elastic can fit mattresses up to 21 inches tall, and the square baffle stitching keeps the filling in place. The whole topper is machine washable, so it’s easy to care for, and the bottom layer of the cotton cover is designed for long-term durability.

 

COMFORT BOOST Mattress Topper
Why We Love It:
  • Overstuffed 2-inch thickness for a super plush feel
  • Breathable cotton top layer
  • Machine washable
Cons
  • May not be cool enough for hot sleepers
  • Not as firm as memory foam or latex

 

Bottom Line: An excellent addition to a firm mattress, this fluffy mattress topper is soft and easy to care for, making it ideal for side sleepers who need an extra cushion to relieve pressure points.

2. Sleep Innovations Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

From Sleep Innovations, this 4-inch mattress topper features two layers: a cooling base of gel memory foam and a quilted pillow top cover. This mattress topper provides medium support, and the cooling gel is better for hot sleepers than traditional memory foam.

 

Sleep Innovations Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Why We Love It:
  • Supportive memory foam with a pillowy-soft top
  • Quilted top cover is removable and washable
  • Hypoallergenic and made in the USA
Cons
  • Memory foam base is not washable
  • Some reviews mention the memory foam layer developing “craters”

 

Bottom Line: A dual-layer topper that combines the washability and softness of a pillow top cover with a cooling layer of gel memory foam, this is a nice middle ground for sleepers who need medium firmness.

3. LUCID Lavender Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper

At 4 inches tall, this LUCID topper offers a plush feel with the support of memory foam. The foam is infused with a calming lavender scent, and its ventilated design sleeps cooler than some other memory foam toppers.

 

LUCID Lavender Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Why We Love It:
  • 3-year warranty
  • Relaxing lavender scent
  • Thick memory foam for maximum support
Cons
  • Standard sheets may not fit over this topper on a tall mattress
  • May have durability issues, especially if it moved around a lot

 

Bottom Line: A ventilated design and infused lavender scent make this super thick memory foam topper a good choice for side sleepers who want a deep “cradling” effect.

4. RECCI Pressure-Relieving Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Featuring a removable bamboo viscose cover and 100% pure, certified memory foam, this 3-inch topper from RECCI is a great choice for side sleepers. The topper includes adjustable elastic straps at all four corners, so it’s easy to secure it to your mattress.

 

RECCI Pressure-Relieving Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Why We Love It:
  • Machine-washable cover has a three-sided zipper for easy removal
  • Straps prevent it from sliding around
  • Soft feel is ideal when paired with a firm mattress
Cons
  • Super-soft memory foam may restrict movement for heavier sleepers
  • Some reviews mention bowing in the middle over time

 

Bottom Line: With an easy-to-wash cover, certified memory foam, and versatile 3-inch height, this soft mattress topper is perfect for sleepers who want to cushion a very firm mattress.

5. Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR Supreme Mattress Topper

This Tempur-Pedic mattress topper is made of medium-firm memory foam designed for long-term durability, so it’s ideal for sleepers looking for more support. The downside is that it may end up causing more back pain if paired with a firm mattress. It’s 3 inches tall and has a removable cover that’s machine-washable.

 

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR Supreme Mattress Topper
Why We Love It:
  • Limited 10-year warranty
  • Removable, machine-washable cover
  • Offers firmer support than some other memory foam styles
Cons
  • May be too firm for some people
  • High price point

 

Bottom Line: With its firm feel and removable cover, this memory foam topper is great for sleepers who are willing to pay more for easy maintenance and a high level of support.

What Is A Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is designed to sit on top of your mattress and provide additional softness and support. Toppers come in a range of different materials and sizes, but most are a few inches thick. Getting a mattress topper is a convenient alternative to buying a new mattress to address nighttime pain or discomfort.

How To Choose A Mattress Topper For Side Sleepers With Back Pain

mattress topper for back pain

The key to reducing lower back pain during sleep is finding a mattress topper that balances support with softness. It’s also important to choose one that is comfortable for you.

Some people don’t like the feel of memory foam or down, and hot sleepers need to choose a material that won’t become uncomfortable during the summer. Heavier individuals may need a more supportive topper. When choosing a mattress pad, look for an option that is comfortable and that works well with your existing mattress and sheets.

What To Consider When Buying A Mattress Topper For Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain

A mattress topper isn’t as big of a financial investment as a new mattress, but it’s still important to consider various factors before you make a purchase. Of course, the top goal of a mattress cover is to provide comfortable support, but there are other things you should look for as well.

Cleaning

Some mattress toppers are far easier to clean than others. Most down and down-alternative styles are machine-washable, though not all can go in a dryer. Some memory foam and latex styles have washable covers. However, others can’t be washed, so you’ll need to get a cover to keep out debris and dust mites.

Heat Retention

The problem with sinking down into a soft surface that contours around your body is that the space heats up quickly. Without anywhere to go, your body heat is trapped, which can make for an uncomfortable sleeping experience. Hot sleepers should look for mattress toppers with cooling materials and designs.

If you have a particular medical condition related to having a hot body temperature, you should search for a mattress topper that is made especially for that condition. That way, the mattress topper can address your particular temperature concerns. For instance, you can find a cooling mattress pad for hot flashes. Other cooling mattress toppers are designed for conditions such as anxiety or insomnia. You can even find cooling mattress pads for children’s mattress sizes.

Firmness

The firmness of a mattress topper is a measure of how hard or soft it is. Firmer styles offer more support but may increase low back pain and pressure points for side sleepers. Most people who sleep on their side need a mattress topper that is soft but still supportive.

Motion Transfer

Most mattresses, especially traditional styles with springs, transfer motion easily. If you sleep with a partner, you may feel it every time they turn over or get up. Memory foam and latex both absorb kinetic energy, so motion doesn’t carry across the bed. This can be a great benefit for light sleepers who share a bed with a partner.

Thickness

Most mattress toppers are about 2 or 3 inches thick, though you can find thinner and thicker options. Generally, thicker toppers will provide more of a cradling effect. However, they can also make it difficult to turn over. If you already have a thick mattress, adding a 4-inch topper may make it hard to find sheets that fit.

Density

A mattress topper’s firmness is determined by the density of the material or filling. For firm support, look for dense memory foam and overfilled down toppers. Side sleepers are usually more comfortable with low- or medium-density that has more give. A topper that is too firm can create painful pressure points.

Types Of Mattress Toppers For Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain

types of mattress toppers

Mattress toppers come in several different materials. Here is an overview of the most common options on the market.

Down and Down Alternative

You can find mattresses, pillows, and mattress toppers with down filling. This natural material comes from the undercoat of geese and other waterfowl. It’s fluffy and durable, and it can make your bed feel like a cloud. Down toppers are fairly soft, so they work best on firmer mattresses.

If you are allergic to natural down or don’t support using animal-based products, you can find a down alternative. Down alternative fillings can be composed of microfiber, polyester, cotton, rayon, or other natural or synthetic materials.

Latex

Latex is made from a natural rubber material that is both soft and supportive. It generally sleeps cooler than memory foam, and latex mattress toppers are available in soft, medium, and firm options, depending on the density. Some people are allergic to latex and will need to choose a different option.

Polyfoam

Polyfoam is an inexpensive material that was often used in mattresses and toppers before the invention of memory foam. These types of toppers are still available, and they usually come in a thin “egg carton” design. Polyfoam isn’t very supportive or durable, so it’s best for occasional use, such as on a camping cot or air mattress.

Memory Foam

Memory foam is one of the most popular options for mattress toppers. This synthetic material adapts to pressure and contours around your body while you sleep, then returns to its original shape slowly. Memory foam toppers are available in different firmness levels and thicknesses. This material tends to trap heat, so it’s not always best for hot sleepers.

Will a Mattress Topper Still Work in a Different Sleeping Position?

It’s difficult to say that a specific type of mattress topper will work the same for each person, but some things are certain. For instance, a back sleeper will probably need a firmer mattress topper, while a side sleeper should probably use a softer mattress topper. So if you’re going from sleeping on your back to sleeping on your side, you may have to adjust. 

So you’ll look for ways to accommodate your mattress topper. For example, extra pillows might come in handy if you go from back sleeping to sleeping on your side. Put one between your knees, one under your stomach and even one tucked behind your back. These are all varying options to help your body sleep on your side while sleeping on a firmer mattress topper.

If you sleep on your side and you move to sleep on your back, you can find a couple of extra pillows may come in handy again. One pillow under your knees can relieve the pressure on your lower back. Another thin pillow under your lower back can give a little firmness and take the pressure off. 

Why Should I Sleep on My Side?

Side sleeping can be one of the most beneficial ways to sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can reduce snoring when sleeping on your side because it keeps the airways from collapsing. 

The Sleep Foundation tells us that approximately 60% of adults prefer side sleeping. Not only does it keep airways from collapsing, but it also reduces instances of heartburn and improves the alignment of your spine. It’s also supposed to help with back pain. Unfortunately, many things can cause back pain, so finding the right mattress topper is vital. 

Then there’s always your digestive health. Believe it or not, sleeping on your side can reduce gas, constipation, bloating, and other gastrointestinal issues. Your brain also needs to work better at waste removal, and sleeping on your side allows this to happen.

Besides a Mattress Topper, How Can I Improve My Back Pain?

Your posture is one of the most important things to remember regarding lower back pain. Not only do you need to work on your posture while awake, but you also need to pay attention to it while sleeping. You can do this by making sure of how you’re sleeping on your side. The right mattress topper will assist with this, of course. 

However, pay attention to your pillow, as well. It should support your neck and spine to allow proper alignment. Keep your neck aligned with your upper back. This should alleviate any pressure or neck pain. Note that when looking for the right pillow, its height or loft should equal the space between your neck and the edge of your shoulder. 

Sleep symmetrically because this will support your spine’s natural curve from head to hips. Here are some steps to do just that:

  • Lie on your side, head on your pillow
  • Keep your neck and chin aligned with the center of your shoulders, and keep your shoulders in line with your hips.
  • Look forward, not twisted to the side or down toward your toes
  • Keep your arms and hands aligned by your sides or in front of you

Why Should I Sleep Symmetrically on My Side?

Well, there are so many lower back pain causes, and getting your body all twisted around at night is a definite reason for your back pain in the morning. You wake up stiff and sore when your body is contorted or twisted all night. However, the worst is that all that out-of-sorts sleeping puts pressure on the lumbar spineand causes soreness and stiffness upon waking. Night after night going through that kind of torture can create longer-lasting lower back pain. 

Other Sleep Tools to Improve Back Pain 

Yes, there is. The Sleep Foundation recommends several extra precautions to help avoid lower back pain. Sleep hygiene is part of those precautions. But there are also tips like:

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine before bed
  • Try some relaxation methods before bed
  • Reduce the potential for sleep disruptions

While a mattress topper is an excellent way to help with lower back pain, there are many other tips and tricks to help you get a better night’s sleep and wake feeling refreshed and ready to go rather than suffering from the pain of incorrect sleeping habits.

Commonly Asked Questions About Mattress Toppers And Lower Back Pain

Here are some answers to common questions about lower back pain and mattress toppers.

What is the best mattress topper for side sleepers with lower back pain?

Side sleepers need a topper that will allow the hips and shoulders to sink down enough to keep the spine properly aligned. However, a topper that is too soft can create spinal misalignment. Side sleepers should look for a topper with medium firmness. However, a softer topper is best if your mattress is very firm.

If I have lower back pain, should I get a new mattress?

Getting a new mattress may relieve your lower back pain, but that isn’t always the best option. You can modify your current mattress with a topper to make it softer or more supportive. Getting a mattress topper for lower back pain is easier and cheaper than buying a new mattress.

Can a certain sleeping position relieve lower back pain?

Some sleeping positions can help reduce lower back pain. If you prefer to sleep on your side, try placing a pillow between your knees or curling up into the fetal position. You can also try sleeping on your back with your knees elevated on a pillow.

If I have lower back pain, should I get a soft or firm mattress topper?

While the answer will differ for each individual, a firm mattress topper can help relieve lower back pain for people who sleep on their backs. Side sleepers may benefit from a softer mattress topper.

Is my mattress making my lower back pain worse?

Sleeping on the wrong type of mattress can cause lower back pain or make existing discomfort worse. Lower back pain is often caused by a too-soft or too-firm mattress that doesn’t provide enough support or give to keep the body in a healthy sleep posture with correct spinal alignment.

What are the causes of lower back pain during sleep?

Several things can cause you to feel lower back pain at night. Spinal injuries, disc degeneration, and alignment problems are common causes. Other possibilities are stress, poor sleeping posture, and inadequate mattress support.

What are ways to eliminate lower back pain while sleeping?

You can reduce lower back pain by trying a new sleeping position or getting a new mattress topper that provides comfortable support. It’s also a good idea to work on improving your posture while you’re awake. Core stretches and strengthening exercises can help keep your spine properly aligned during sleep.