If you think about hip pain, you may immediately think of fall injuries or arthritis. But the fact is that people of any age can suffer from hip pain, and it’s often caused by something we do every day: sleep. Sleeping on a bad mattress can cause pain from pressure points and joint misalignment. Even poor sleep posture can lead to hip pain.
If you’re waking up at night with hip pain or noticing soreness every morning, it may be your mattress. A mattress that’s too hard causes painful pressure points and issues with spinal alignment. But a too-soft mattress can be problematic too because it doesn’t provide enough support, especially for side sleepers.
Ready to upgrade your bed to eliminate sleep-related hip pain? A new mattress can be prohibitively expensive, but there is a simple alternative. Get a mattress topper! The right one can reduce your hip pain by creating a perfectly soft and supportive sleeping surface.
What Is A Mattress Topper?
A mattress topper (sometimes called a mattress pad) sits on top of a traditional mattress. Some toppers are slabs of memory foam or latex, whereas others are more like an overstuffed down quilt or duvet. Generally, you’d use a softer topper on a firm mattress and vice versa.
How Does Sleeping On Your Side Affect Hip Pain?
Although many people prefer to sleep on their side, it’s not always the best posture for healthy, pain-free sleep. When you lie on your side, you place a lot of pressure on certain parts of your body, specifically the shoulders and hips. On a hard surface, this pressure can become painful very quickly.
Another potential issue with side sleeping is spinal alignment. Ideally, your spine should be in a straight horizontal line when you are lying on your side to keep the discs stacked correctly. However, if you are on a firm surface, there is no way for your shoulders and hips to sink down enough to keep your spinal column aligned. This incorrect sleeping posture can lead to severe back pain, which in turn causes discomfort in the hips, shoulders, and neck.
There are also potential issues with sleeping on your side on a surface that’s too soft. Without enough support, the concave parts of your body (neck, waist, knees) aren’t able to relax. This creates pain and discomfort, especially in the lower back and hips.
If you have hip pain from sleeping on your side, it’s probably because you aren’t getting the right type of support from your mattress. You need a surface that’s firm enough to support your natural curves but soft enough to allow your hips and shoulders to sink down to maintain spinal alignment. Plus, the mattress needs to be soft enough to eliminate pressure points.
Best Mattress Toppers For Side Sleepers With Hip Pain
There are many different mattress toppers on the market, but it’s essential to choose one that fits your sleeping position and existing mattress. Ready to choose a mattress topper for hip pain? We’ve researched the available options to find the top five models.
COMFORT BOOST Mattress Topper
Featuring square baffle quilting that keeps the thick down-alternative filling from moving around, the COMFORT BOOST mattress topper is a fantastic option for side sleepers who want a pillow-top feeling from their mattress. This overstuffed topper is 2 inches thick and has a deep elastic pocket design that fits mattresses from 8 to 21 inches tall. The cover is made of cotton: soft, 400 thread count fabric at the top, and thicker, durable fabric along the bottom.
Bottom Line: Perfect for side sleepers who love the idea of curling up on a fluffy-yet-supportive pillow-like bed, this down alternative topper is also easy to care for.
LUCID Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper
A full 4 inches tall and ventilated for better airflow and cooling, this LUCID memory foam mattress topper helps eliminate pressure points. The hypoallergenic memory foam is infused with bamboo charcoal, which helps control odors and moisture and provides effective temperature regulation.
Bottom Line: With its unique infusion of bamboo charcoal and integrated airflow channels, this memory foam mattress topper is a good choice for side sleepers who want to feel enveloped by supportive softness.
Best Price Mattress 5-Zone Memory Foam Topper
Featuring a unique, variated egg-crate design, this 3-inch topper is made of certified memory foam infused with a calming lavender scent. The waves and whirls on the top are organized into five zones designed to provide targeted relief from pressure.
Bottom Line: With its intriguing zoned design, lavender scent, and low price, this mattress topper is an ideal first choice for sleepers looking for pressure-point relief.
Pillowtop Mattress Topper with Fitted Skirt
An affordable option with down-alternative filling, this mattress topper has a cotton cover designed to feel cool to the touch. It fits beds up to 18 inches deep and adds a plush cloudlike layer that’s ideal for side sleepers wanting a soft and cuddly feeling.
Bottom Line: With a low price point and simple design, this down-alternative mattress topper works well for sleepers who want to soften up a firm mattress but don’t need the extra support of latex or memory foam.
ZINUS Green Tea Cooling Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Made of memory foam infused with cooling gel, this 3-inch topper also includes activated charcoal and green tea to help reduce lingering odors and bacteria. The medium firmness is designed to reduce pressure points by contouring around your body’s curves.
Bottom Line: Featuring cooling gel and green tea for better odor resistance and moisture control, this memory foam topper is a medium thickness that works well for most side sleepers.
How To Choose A Mattress Topper For Side Sleepers With Hip Pain
Mattress topper reviews can give you a lot of information about the available options. Before you make a decision, however, it’s important to remember that you need to factor in more than just material and price.
Think about your favorite sleeping position and your preferred softness level. It’s also important to take into account your partner’s needs if you share a bed, especially if their height or weight is significantly different from yours.
What To Consider When Buying A Mattress Topper For Side Sleepers With Lower Back Pain
Ready to start shopping for your perfect mattress topper? Here are some of the most important factors to think about when you make your decision.
One of the top considerations for a mattress topper is firmness: how soft or hard it is. A firmer topper provides more support and is generally best for heavier individuals and back sleepers. It’s usually best to pair a firm topper with a softer mattress to avoid pressure points. Softer toppers are better for smaller people and side sleepers, though they may not be ideal for people who toss and turn a lot while sleeping.
Mattress toppers can be as thin as 1 inch and go up to 4 inches or more in thickness. Most are 2 inches or 3 inches thick. When choosing a style, remember that thinner options don’t allow as much cradling but may sleep cooler. Many people enjoy the hug-like feeling of a thick topper.
Density affects the amount of support a topper provides. Low-density memory foam or down filling squishes fairly easily. Denser fillings and materials are firmer and heavier. They usually sleep hotter as well. For most side sleepers, a low- or medium-density option is best, as it provides enough support without being too hard.
The sheets and covers aren’t the only sources of warmth in a bed – the sleeping surface can trap body heat as well. Hot sleepers should look for a cooling mattress topper with features such as ventilation, breathable fabrics, and cooling gel. Non-ventilated memory foam styles and toppers with thick down filling may be best for cooler climates.
If you sleep with a partner, you may wake up every time they roll over or get out of bed, especially if you have a traditional spring mattress. To prevent that uncomfortable motion transfer, look for mattress toppers that absorb kinetic energy. Memory foam and latex are the most common materials that reduce motion transfer.
Types Of Mattress Toppers For Side Sleepers With Hip Pain
Most mattress toppers on the market are made of memory foam, latex, polyfoam, natural materials (such as down and wool), or synthetic alternatives.
Memory Foam Slab
Despite the fact that it was originally created for airplane cushions, memory foam is one of the most popular materials for mattress toppers. Most designs are a solid rectangle of memory foam, though some have natural airways for better ventilation. This material responds to pressure, cradling the body very well, and it’s available in several different firmness levels. Traditional memory foam tends to sleep hot, so some toppers are infused with cooling gel.
Some mattress toppers are rectangles of latex between 1 and 4 inches thick. Latex is made from naturally occurring rubber compounds, and it tends to feel “buoyant” because it spreads the pressure from the shoulders and hips out over a large surface. Compared to the “hug” sensation of memory foam, sleeping on latex feels more like floating. Of course, latex isn’t a viable choice if you’re allergic.
Polyfoam Egg Carton
Traditional mattress pads from a few decades ago were usually made of polyfoam in a wavy egg carton shape. Though inexpensive, this material tends to be very hot and breaks down fairly quickly. Most polyfoam toppers have been replaced by memory foam. You may still find some affordable options designed to make camp beds and air mattresses more comfortable for occasional use.
Down-Filled “Duvet-Style” Topper
This type of mattress topper is similar to a filled and quilted comforter or duvet. Most styles have a cotton cover for breathability and are filled with natural down or a synthetic alternative. To prevent the filling from pooling in the corners and sides, most toppers have baffle stitching that creates adjacent pockets for the filling.
What Causes Hip Pain?
There are several reasons why you might be experiencing hip pain. Most people who experience hip pain have it sometimes, and it’s not a constant feeling, but when you’re experiencing persistent pain, finding the root cause can provide relief. Some of the most common reasons your hip or hips hurt are:
- Lying on your side for too long
- Trauma from an injury
- Muscle stiffness
- Too much strenuous exercise or overuse
- Sprains or strains
Sometimes, your hip pain can have a few more severe causes than the above reasons. As we age, we’re more prone to muscle soreness, stiffness, and underlying diseases and conditions. Some more serious conditions that could be contributing to or the cause of your hip pain include:
- Hip tendonitis
- Trochanteric bursitis
The above conditions aren’t life-threatening, but they can make everyday activities and things you enjoy much more difficult. It’s best to consult with your physician when you experience hip pain to find a solution that works for you.
Getting a high-quality mattress topper can be beneficial, but sometimes you will need more help than that one purchase. Your doctor can recommend exercises, stretches, and potentially medication to help in conjunction with your new mattress topper if necessary.
Proper Sleeping Posture
Sleeping on your side is one of the most comfortable ways to drift off to dreamland, but it’s not the best position for promoting great sleeping posture. That’s right. Just like there are benefits to having great posture when you’re sitting and standing, sleeping posture is essential and can help prevent any hip or other joint discomfort.
Sleeping on your back is one of the best sleeping positions that can help improve your overall sleeping posture. Sleeping on your back can help you promote better alignment and alleviate the pressure on your arms, legs, and hips.
Before you switch to sleeping on your back, there are a few things to be aware of. If you are prone to snoring or have sleep apnea, this sleeping position can worsen those issues.
Sleeping on your back can also be linked to increased heartburn, making sleeping more uncomfortable than dealing with hip pain. Pregnant women also need to be wary about choosing this sleeping position to alleviate hip pain since there’s an assumed link to stillbirths.
Can a Mattress Topper Cause Additional Hip Pain?
Yes. When choosing a mattress topper to alleviate your hip pain, you need to know that choosing one that’s too soft can cause additional hip pain or simply keep your pain at its average level. When you have a mattress or mattress topper that’s too soft, it can cause you to have poor sleeping posture and contribute to more hip pain.
What Kind of Mattress Toppers Do Chiropractors Recommend for Hip Pain?
Everyone has different opinions, but if you ask most chiropractors, they would recommend that you choose a latex or memory foam mattress topper to help with your hip pain. These materials help conform to your body without causing sagging. When browsing for these mattress toppers, you’ll want to ensure you are looking for high-quality materials.
I Have a Mattress Topper for Hip Pain, So Why Is It No Longer Helping?
Mattress toppers are fantastic for hip pain, but if you have noticed that your hip pain is coming back or worsening from sleeping on your mattress topper, it could be for several reasons. The main reason is that your mattress topper is getting old.
Just like mattresses, mattress toppers have a lifespan, and as they get older, they can become less effective at alleviating your hip pain. The more you sleep on the mattress topper, the less it will be able to contour to your body over time, not allowing it to support your body and hips like it used to.
What’s the Difference Between a Mattress Pad and a Mattress Topper?
Mattress pads can make a bed more comfortable and protect from accidents, while a mattress topper is thicker and can completely change the feeling of your mattress. Adding a mattress topper can prolong the life of your bed, while a mattress pad typically won’t. Mattress toppers tend to be more expensive than mattress pads as well.
Commonly Asked Questions About Mattress Toppers And Hip Pain
Have questions about mattress toppers? Find expert answers here.
What is the best mattress topper for side sleepers with hip pain?
Generally, side sleepers need a soft or medium sleeping surface rather than one that is very firm. However, you also need to account for your personal preferences in terms of comfort and material.
Are mattress toppers good for hip pain?
A mattress topper can be an easy and cost-effective solution for hip pain if your discomfort is caused by a bad mattress. Remember to choose a style and material that is comfortable for you in terms of softness, support, and heat retention.
Suppose you’re pregnant and are experiencing hip pain. In that case, a mattress topper may not be enough to relieve the extra stress pregnancy puts on your body. These hip pain pregnancy pillows keep your spine and hips in alignment, reducing strain on your pelvis, spine, and joints. They also keep your legs parallel, improving your posture further. In addition to relieving hip pain, these pillows elevate your head, reduce heartburn and congestion, improve your blood circulation, and reduce leg cramps and numbness.
Will getting a new mattress help my hip pain?
Possibly! If your hip pain is mostly caused by poor sleeping posture or pressure points, then a new mattress could help. However, getting a new mattress costs a lot and isn’t great for the environment. Before you commit to that option, see if you can make your bed more comfortable with a new mattress topper.
Can a different sleeping position reduce hip pain?
Side sleeping is a fairly common cause of hip pain, but many people find it difficult to change their sleeping position. If you want to try sleeping on your back to see if it reduces your hip pain, put a pillow on either side to prevent you from rolling over. If side sleeping is the best position for you, placing a pillow between your knees may reduce hip pain by keeping your spine and pelvis aligned properly.
If I have hip pain, should I get a soft or firm mattress topper?
The best topper depends on the cause of your hip pain. If you have painful pressure points from a hard mattress, try a soft topper. If your mattress is too soft and not supportive enough, causing general soreness and discomfort in your back and hips, consider getting a firm mattress topper.
Can hip pain be caused by a mattress?
Yes. A too-soft mattress may cause hip soreness from poor sleeping posture. You can also get painful pressure points on your hips from a mattress that is too firm.
Why do I have hip pain when sleeping?
There are several possible causes of nighttime hip pain, including pressure points from a hard mattress and spinal misalignment from an unsupportive mattress. Other common causes of hip pain are arthritis, bursitis, sciatica, and injuries.
How can I eliminate my nighttime hip pain?
If your pain is from an injury, arthritis, or sciatica, you may want to take a pain reliever before bed. Physical therapy exercises may also help. You can also try different sleeping positions or add a mattress topper for extra softness and support.