What is the Best Mattress for Arthritis?

Arthritis is the general term used for a broad category of conditions that affect the joints and can cause inflammation, pain, and difficulty maintaining motion in the affected limb. 

You might be surprised to learn that arthritis can affect almost anyone at any age, not just the elderly. In the U.S., 60 percent of people with arthritis are working age, between 18 and 64. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 8 million adults of working age in the U.S. say that their arthritis affects their ability to work and have fun with their loved ones.

After visiting your doctor and implementing an arthritis treatment plan, you can still take additional steps in your pain management strategy.

Here, we'll discuss what arthritis is, some holistic approaches to pain management, and tips for finding the best mattress for arthritis.  

What is Arthritis?

People use “arthritis,” a generalized term, to describe inflammation in one or more joints in the body. However, it can actually refer to any of 200 different conditions that affect joints.  

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, caused by the gradual deterioration of cartilage that cushions the joints. Other common forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus.

Symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time and appear as swelling, joint stiffness, diminished motion, and redness on the skin of the affected area. Each form of arthritis is unique, however. For example, rheumatoid arthritis can have additional symptoms of fatigue, loss of appetite, anemia, and fever in some cases. 

Causes of Arthritis

Arthritis develops from the wear and tear of joint cartilage, either from age-related degeneration or an autoimmune disease.

Joint cartilage, a protective tissue that acts as a pressure shock absorber, soaks up stress placed on the joints. As this cushion deteriorates, bones grind against one another, causing pain and restricted movement.

While cartilage naturally wears down over time, some forms of arthritis result from underlying disorders, often hereditary. Rheumatoid arthritis, for example, is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack itself, causing injury to the soft tissue in the joints.

How Does Arthritis Affect Your Sleep?

As many as 80 percent of people with arthritis struggle to get a good night’s sleep. 

The apparent cause of this sleeplessness is physical discomfort, as stiff and painful joints can make it hard to drift off into dreamland. Taking a peek into your medicine cabinet can also reveal why you struggle to sleep with arthritis. Common arthritis medications such as prednisone can have side effects, including insomnia. 

Many people with rheumatoid arthritis also experience fatigue as a symptom. As part of a treatment plan, doctors may recommend taking frequent naps when fatigue strikes. However, an inconsistent sleep schedule may make it harder for people with rheumatoid arthritis to settle in and sleep at night.

How Can I Reduce My Arthritis Symptoms?

Anyone who has an arthritis diagnosis or experiences severe joint pain should see a doctor for medical care and a treatment plan. In addition to lifestyle changes, medication, and even surgery, your doctor may recommend a few home remedies to help reduce pain and discomfort. For example: 

  • Stay Active– Exercise can improve arthritis symptoms because it aids flexibility, reduces joint pain, and lessens symptoms of fatigue. Start with gentle exercise, yoga, swimming, or walking.
  • Take Omega-3– Enjoy eating fresh fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, or take fish oil supplements to reduce inflammation. 
  • Get a Massage– The Arthritis Foundation recommends regular massages for arthritics joints to reduce pain and stiffness and improve motion.  
  • Eliminate Stress– Stress releases chemicals into the immune system that cause inflammation in the body, contributing to arthritic flare-ups. Consider yoga, walking, listening to calm music, and talking to loved ones to combat causes of stress in your life. 
  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep– Arthritis can have a significant effect on your ability to sleep, which further aggravates arthritis symptoms. That’s why prioritizing quality sleep is an essential element of an arthritis pain management routine.

What is the Best Mattress for Arthritis?

Getting high-quality sleep is critical to managing arthritis. Sleeping on a bad mattress can not only make sleep difficult, but it can also exacerbate arthritis pain by putting too much pressure on sensitive joints. 

The best mattress for fibromyalgia and arthritis is one that cradles your body with both softness and support, relieves pressure on the sensitive joints, hips, and shoulders, and offers cooling comfort so you can sleep soundly. 

Here are the features that are most important for finding a mattress that won’t further agitate joints and pressure points:

Pressure Relief

People with arthritis should prioritize pressure relief when shopping for a new mattress. A pressure-relieving mattress will maintain spine alignment while supporting key pressure points like the hips, back, and neck.

Firmness 

To help ease arthritis pain while you sleep, steer clear of very firm mattresses. Your mattress should provide ample support but shouldn't push back against your body, putting pressure on sensitive joints.

Remember that ideal mattress firmness depends on weight; a mattress that feels extra firm to a lighter person may not feel firm or supportive enough for someone with more weight. In general, heavier individuals require firmer mattresses. 

Temperature Regulation

While more research is needed into this phenomenon, many people with inflammatory arthritis anecdotally report feeling constantly overheated. 

If this is the case for you, you’ll want to avoid mattresses that trap heat as this will only make matters worse. Look for mattresses that are temperature neutral or have cooling properties.

Edge Support & Responsiveness

Edge support refers to the level of firmness around the perimeter of the bed. If arthritis pain limits your movement, look for a mattress that offers edge support to help you safely get in and out of bed.

The same goes for mattress responsiveness. A responsive mattress “bounces” back quickly. A latex mattress, for example, is more responsive than a memory foam mattress. You shouldn’t feel like you’re fighting against quicksand as you try to change sleeping positions throughout the night.

Durability

If you have arthritis, you should avoid saggy mattresses at all costs. If your bed sags, your body will fall into the sinkhole, causing your neck, hips, and spine to fall out of alignment, making it more likely that you’ll wake up with aches and pains.

A quality mattress made from durable, quality materials should last for at least seven years without showing signs of sagging.

What Type of Mattress is Best for Arthritis? 

Now that you know what to look for in a mattress for hip bursitis and arthritis let’s dive deeper into the main mattress types along with their main drawbacks and benefits.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are well-known for contouring and cradling your body as you sleep. However, people with arthritis should steer clear of softer memory foam mattresses, as they tend to give sleepers that sinking feeling of being trapped in their mattresses.

One significant downside of memory foam mattresses is that they tend to trap heat. If you sleep hot, memory foam may not be for you.

Latex

A latex mattress is an excellent choice for people living with arthritis pain. Latex offers a quicker response to movement than memory, provides ample support, and adds comfort with gentle contouring. Plus, latex mattresses tend to last longer than any other mattress material. 

Coil/Innerspring

In general, coil/innerspring mattresses aren't ideal for people managing arthritis pain. 

As the coils compress, they push back against the body's heaviest parts, meaning they put more pressure on your hips and midsection. This additional pressure can agitate already aching joints. 

If you're a stickler for the support of a coil mattress, we recommend one with pocketed coils, as they're more flexible than standard innerspring mattresses. You may also want to consider a hybrid mattress with an individually wrapped coil base and a latex or foam top. 

AirFoam™

An AirFoam™ mattress is an excellent choice for people with arthritis. AirFoam™ is proven to offer four times greater pressure relief than memory foam without trapping heat. A soft yet supportive AirFoam™ mattress can help you get the rest you need to recover after a long day of discomfort.  

Memory Foam

Latex

Coil/ Innerspring

AirFoam™

Pressure Relief

Contouring memory foam cushions key pressure points for added comfort.

Latex mattresses often offer excellent pressure relief, but people with arthritis should avoid the firmest models. 

Innerspring mattresses aren’t known for pressure relief. If you opt for a spring mattress, choose one with individually wrapped coils.

Airfoam™ is proven to offer superior pressure relief than memory foam, providing supportive comfort to the body’s pressure points.

Firmness

Memory foam sinkage is a common issue that can cause the mattress to feel like quicksand.

Sleepers with arthritis who choose latex should opt for a medium-firm model.

Innerspring mattresses can be plush or firm depending on the topper used.

Our AirFoam™ mattresses feature a soft cushioning top and a firm supportive layer underneath.

Temperature Regulation

Memory foam mattresses tend to sleep hot as the foam material traps body heat.

Latex mattresses naturally sleep cool if made from real (not synthetic) latex.

Mattresses with coils leave ample space for airflow, allowing for better heat distribution than traditional memory foam. 

Temperature-neutral Airfoam sleeps cooler than memory foam.

Edge Support & Responsiveness

Memory foam is a plush material that responds slowly and does not offer much edge support without added reinforcement. 

Latex mattresses are quite responsive and bouncy. They also provide firm support around the edges to help sleepers climb in and out of bed.

Traditional innerspring mattresses are not designed for responsiveness or additional edge support. However, newer models with pocketed coils and zoned support can offer some contouring and added strength around the edges.

Not as bouncy as latex but not as soft as memory foam, Airfoam™ offers “happy-medium” responsiveness and edge support.

Durability

Unfortunately, the same material that gives this foam its “memory” can also contribute to sagging over time, creating sinkholes in the mattress.

Latex is heavy and dense, making it a highly durable material. However, synthetic or blended latex is not as durable.

The durability of an innerspring mattress is highly dependent on the quality of the coils and fabrics used. Cheaper coil mattresses tend to wear out and sag quickly.

Offering 300% more durability than memory foam, AirFoamresists sagging.

Cost

Memory foam mattresses are widely available at low prices but beware of sacrificing quality for cost.

Natural latex mattresses tend to cost more due to the labor-intensive harvesting process, but many people find them worth the cost.

Innerspring mattresses can vary widely in price depending on the quality of materials used.

AirFoam starts at just $1,149 for a twin mattress.

 

Additional Sleep Strategies for People with Arthritis

Sore joints shouldn’t get in the way of quality sleep. If you still struggle to sleep with arthritis pain, try the following at-home remedies: 

  1. Consider Your Bedding: There’s nothing like cozy warm blankets and pillows to add luxurious sleep comfort to your bed. Those with arthritis in the neck region may find comfort with a neck pillow or a rolled-up towel. This will keep your neck from bending while you sleep. For those with knee pain, a pillow under or between your knees will help align the spine and ease any back discomfort.

  2. Experiment with Temperature: Typically, the ideal bedroom temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. If you struggle with inflammation or rashes, adding an ice pack on your joints before bed can help cool you down and relieve swelling. Just make sure not to leave it on your skin for more than 20 minutes at a time.

  3. Stay Active: Proper sleep hygiene includes at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. However, those with arthritis should avoid strenuous activity.  Gentle exercises and stretches are keys to staying active while managing your arthritis pain.

Tips and Reminders for Finding the Best Mattress for Arthritis

Here are some final tips to help you shop for the mattress of your dreams: 

  1. In most cases, you'll find better prices for mattresses online than in stores. 

  2. When browsing online, look for a reputable retailer trusted by industry experts and reviewers. Also, look for companies that offer a warranty of at least 10 years.

  3. Don’t accept any less than a 100-night free trial, and make sure your online mattress retailer offers free delivery and free return. That way, if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can easily return the mattress. 

  4. Arthritis causes inflammation of the joints, so it’s essential to sleep on a mattress that supports your body weight. Ensure the mattress is not so firm that it adds pressure to your hips and shoulders but not too soft that you feel stuck in your bed.

  5. Pressure relief should be at the top of your wishlist when shopping for the best mattresses for arthritis. A pressure-relieving mattress will cradle every muscle without putting undue pressure on joints and will keep your spine aligned. 

Along with staying active and eliminating stress, getting enough sleep is essential to any pain management strategy. While upgrading your mattress likely isn’t enough to completely erase your arthritic pain, it can provide much-needed pressure relief to help you sleep soundly and get the rest you need. 

FAQs

Is a Memory Foam Mattress Good for Arthritis? 

Memory foam mattresses are typically known to sleep hot due to the viscoelastic chemicals in the foam.

These chemicals give the memory foam the “memory” that molds the mattress to your body. That’s also why memory foam may not be as responsive as other modern mattress materials. The foam tends to sink and sag over time, so it may not provide the superior pressure relief needed for someone managing arthritic pain.

What Is the Best Mattress for Hip Pain?

Hip discomfort is a common complaint among people with arthritis, especially those who sleep on their side. That’s because a firm innerspring mattress may add strain to the joints, and memory foam mattresses tend to cause too much sinkage.

However, side sleepers with arthritis can still find relief. Look for a side sleeper mattress specifically designed to support the hip and shoulder areas. The best mattress for side sleepers with hip pain should provide relief to these sensitive pressure points.

What Is the Best Mattress for Chronic Pain?

If you experience chronic pain, your mattress could be a friend or foe. Your bed needs to be a sleep haven so you can get valuable rest to aid your treatment.

The best mattress to combat chronic pain will gently support your body weight without sinking or pushing against your delicate joints. A pressure-relieving, cooling mattress is usually ideal for those suffering chronic pain.