No one wants to be deprived of sleep. But for some of us, it’s a direct effect of a physical condition – something that afflicts tens of thousands of people in the UK every year.
We’re talking about hip pain. If you suffer from it, it can cause a blight on your night – rolling to the side of the bed, or even lying still, can be torturous. We know how you feel. Furthermore, we’re aware of the frustrations at not finding a suitable mattress for hip pain. Many suppliers do not take this as seriously as they should. The Tweak team are different; we’ve listened to the complaints of hip pain sufferers around the country, and used them as the backbone of our design knowledge.
Here we’re going to clear up any questions, definitions and options for a hip-friendly base for your night’s sleep. We hope this full guide better enables you to navigate the mattress offers out there in search of the best relief…
What leads to hip pain, and what can make it worse?
Before we can answer which mattress for hip pain seems like a great option, it’s necessary to understand why you’re feeling discomfort at night in the first instance.
The body is a vast network of fibres, nerves, muscle and tissue. Stress in one area can lead to stress in another. That’s why you may also find our Bad Back Mattress Guide useful. If your posture has been poor for some time – especially with a lot of bending and pivoting – then your hips may be experiencing the aftershock when you bed down. Strenuous work is often the source. But so is sitting in an improper position in the office or at home.
Hip afflictions may also point to their own issues. As the number of hip replacements in the under-60s continues to rise, we can’t take any of them lightly. Here’s some common causes:
Cartilage wears away over the years. When we reach middle age, the layer between our bones may be far thinner than it used to be – that’s often why our joints hurt as we get older. Swelling, discomfort and stiffness are likely to occur. The more you move day-to-day, the faster this will happen. Routinely carrying extra weight (either on your body itself or externally) may leave an impact too.
Equally, the fluid-filled sacs over your joints – known as ‘bursa’ – can swell up. They’re another cushion between your bones. Bursitis can strike anywhere on the body where joints align, and take several weeks to disappear. If you’re prone to twisting hips in a job or leisure pursuit, then it may occur semi-regularly.
Greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS)
When the muscles in the buttocks are too weak, our hips support the body more than they should. Walking can therefore add undue pressure to the tendons around the hips, which are squeezed. Other injuries (such as direct traumas to the area) can make it worse.
Brittle bones are prone to breaks. Again, this is a side effect of ageing: a fall can impact someone in their 40s-60s more so than a younger person. A hip fracture can be displaced or non-displaced, depending on the position the bone ends up in. Left untreated, a fracture can lead to nerve damage that gets exponentially worse as the years go by.
Can mattresses cause hip pain?
An ill-suited mattress for hip pain can exacerbate the issues you’re facing. Subpar options (which may nevertheless be great for someone else) can deepen hip problems, although they are less likely to cause the pain directly. Can mattresses cause hip pain? Certainly, if you’re already prone to it.
With the wrong mattress, joints and muscles that are already weak may lead to a full-fledged affliction. Why? Because without decent support, you’re putting extra strain on the worst-affected area. As we’ve discussed, hip conditions can get more damaged or inflamed when they’re pressurised. Sleep affects this. The posture you have whilst lying down is just as crucial as the one you have when you’re standing or sitting; plus, your body can assume different positions throughout the night, undoing a careful alignment of neck, back, shoulders and pelvis.
With seven to eight hours of ideal sleep time a day, that’s a lot to risk on an ill-advised mattress choice. Which leads us to analyse what will mediate chronic hip conditions…
The qualities of a hip-care mattress
Innersprings are not the way to go. They trade a soft touch for too much support, which allows your hip area – the heaviest part of the body – to sink. Lying flat, you place a curve in your lower back. The mattress holds your legs and head straight, but doesn’t care for your mid-section where pressure mounts. Eventually, your mattress will be left with a sag in the centre which deepens with repeated use. Then the whole problem is stuck in a self-perpetuating loop.
Mattresses for hip pain have a pliable feel, adapting to the contours of your spine and everything that’s connected to it. The sinking has to be cushioned and flexible. To get a more natural sensation, and to soothe pressure points, springs should be traded for memory foam, latex foam, or polyurethane. That’s the only design guaranteed to deliver the elastic positioning you require.
Don’t go overboard though – extreme softness isn’t ideal. You should aim to get the closest you can to natural alignment during sleep, with a customised mattress for hip pain. Before we explain this in further detail, it’s useful to understand how the materials in a pliant, hip-sensitive mattress act to relieve your chronic pain.
The mattresses to consider
Below is a rundown of some important mattress styles, each of which is a help or a hindrance to your hip condition. We don’t want you to be wrestling with any questions as you prepare to make your investment, so read on – you’ll be armed with the knowledge to make an informed decision with your money.
Pocket sprung and single coil
Remember: too many springs are a bad idea if you have hip pain. A pocket sprung or single coil mattress - named as such for the build structure of the springs within it – is not enough on its own. While pocket sprung models can be kind to an irregular bone structure, they lack the cushioning quality we’ve discussed for most sleepers.
That being said, there’s no reason to leave springs aside entirely. You can find a happy medium with custom designs – we’ll come to that shortly.
Less supportive but by no means less popular, open coil mattresses have springs (usually over 300 of them) that move independently. Your movement is given added flexibility whilst staying fairly flat.
They’re also called ‘miracoils’, which somewhat masks their cheap, no-frills production, accounting for their status as the most common mattress on the market today. Again, we suggest avoiding the miracoil as it doesn’t have the soft quality you’re looking for.
Foam is the supreme selection; you won’t gain a better, more adaptable base for sleep. It isn’t only good for hip conditions, but the spinal problems that can cause or antagonise them too, like ankylosing spondylitis. ‘Reflex foam’ is another term for a similar material, so keep that in mind when shopping.
The foam sinks with your weight and moulds around various pressure points. Side sleepers (which the majority of us are), especially, will appreciate the sinkable sensation. A mattress for hip pain shouldn’t stop you rolling onto one side or the other, since you’ll likely be doing it involuntarily at night.
In the absolute middle ground between comfort and support lies latex designs. They’re made from the rubber tree and are perfect for anyone with sensitive allergies, although the all-natural material does make them more expensive.
Latex mattresses for hip pain are slightly more breathable than memory foam, but aren’t great for side-on rest. If you tend to sleep on your back or belly, however, they may be the top choice.
The last few years have brought a mild revolution in memory foam construction. Gel-based products have a very similar effect, except with small beads inserted through a foam outer layer, often giving it a blue hue.
iGel mattresses are basically better at heat distribution than their typical foam counterparts. Sleepers who tend to get hot under the covers are likely to find this trait appealing. We suggest checking them out, not only for their heat properties but the eco-friendly materials encased within.
Introducing… the final word on customised mattresses for hip pain
We’re almost at the end of our hip pain advice. Yet before we go, have you heard of the latest in ground-breaking mattress science? It’s with us, at Tweak. For the first time, a mattress can be thoroughly bespoke. We’d like to show you what we’ve crafted for a dream night’s sleep…
Whether you rest alone or with a partner, Tweak’s Nrem and DUO hybrid mattresses have the characteristics that you’ve been waiting for. Let’s take the former first: a blend of memory foam on a 1,000-strong pocket sprung base. You have decent height and excellent softness for the hip area. Customise the firmness or sink-ability of the foam to your preference – we allow you to mix and match five pressure spots. Keep support on the ankles, for instance, whilst adding more foam beneath the middle and upper sections of your body. Feel uncomfortable? Change the Nrem setup at home, with easy-to-use foam inserts slotting around the bed.
The DUO, on the other hand, suits couples perfectly. You can fashion one half in super-soft memory foam, and let the pocket springs come to the fore in the second half. The surface will still be even, despite a split in its precise qualities. When sleeping with someone vastly different to you, in terms of the support they need and the features they’d like, you’re able to enjoy a compromise. The two of you will sleep for longer, free of pain and irritability.
Hybrid mattresses are nothing new, per se. But these thoroughly customisable versions are. Both the DUO and Nrem offer unparalleled comfort, letting you mark your own grade for a great night’s sleep.
Visit our homepage for a wider view of what we’re talking about. Which mattress for hip pain? Build it yourself, with our expert advice.